Traction Book Summary, by Gino Wickman

Download "Traction Book Summary, by Gino Wickman" as PDF


Want to get the main points of Traction in 20 minutes or less? Read the world’s #1 book summary of Traction by Gino Wickman here.

Read a quick 1-Page Summary, a Full Summary, or watch video summaries curated by our expert team.

1-Page Summary of Traction

Introduction: The Entrepreneurial Operating System

By following the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), you can learn how to run your business instead of letting it run you. The EOS will help you take your business from good to great and allow you to focus on what’s important. There are a lot of moving parts in running a company, so trying to manage everything at once can be overwhelming. Instead, just focus on the six core components: vision, people, data, issues/problems, process and traction. If everyone is going in different directions and there isn’t a clear understanding of what they’re working toward or who they should be reporting to then it’ll become difficult for that vision to become reality. Surrounding yourself with the right people goes along way as well; make sure they share your core values and are in roles where they fit best based on their skillsets and personalities. Also pay attention to certain metrics like revenue growth or customer satisfaction ratings because if those numbers start dropping then you know something needs changing before things get out of hand.

Letting Go of the Vine

Many business owners are afraid of taking risks. They want to grow their businesses, but they’re not willing to take the risks that come with it. Luckily, Entrepreneurial Operating System can help them overcome this fear and be successful in business.

Organizations must also stop believing that they are a single person. If you do, your organization will not last long. To prevent this from happening, you should appoint leaders with different skills and outlooks on the world to run the company, use one system for making decisions and be open-minded about new ideas from others.

Growth is impossible without risk, so you need to be open-minded and willing to try new things. You should acknowledge your weaknesses so that someone else can take over the work when it’s best for the company. If you’re not willing to express vulnerability or embrace change, then progress will be difficult.

Vision: Do They See What You Are Saying?

Most entrepreneurs have a clear vision for their company. However, this vision is not always shared by the employees or leaders of that company. This can lead to confusion and stress among those people who are unclear about what they’re trying to achieve.

Core values

Central focus

To make your vision clear, write it down on paper and share it with the team. The vision should simply articulate what your organization is, where you’re going, and how to get there. It should also identify key factors (core values, central focus). Your core values will help define your purpose and goals by building a culture around them. They’ll be a guiding force within the organization as well as an important tool during the hiring process. Next is to establish your core focus so that you don’t get distracted by what others are doing or bored with this focus. Establishing a clearly delineated core focus will eliminate extraneous noise from people, practices or even entire product lines that don’t fit in with the rest of the company’s mission statement.

10-year target

Marketing strategy

One-year plan

Potential issues

The first step to determining your company’s focus is to define why you exist and what niche you occupy. You need to find this out early on because it will help you reach your goals. Once that’s done, make a 10-year plan for how successful you want your company to be in the future, as well as a marketing strategy. Find ideal customers and market yourself towards them by differentiating yourself from other companies. Then create a one-year plan based on that information and keep it simple so that you don’t stress yourself out trying too hard at once. Break down the year into quarterly goals so that they’re more manageable, but still achievable enough to keep moving forward towards long-term success. Finally, identify obstacles before they get in the way of your progress by creating an issues list with solutions in mind for those problems.

Once you have a solid vision, share it with your team. Be open to feedback and incorporate that into the final product as much as possible. Hold meetings about your vision on a regular basis to keep everyone focused on achieving the same goal.

People: Surround Yourself with Good People

The right people are critical to the success of a business. They share your core values, fit in with the culture, and make the company better overall.

When you’re hiring people, it’s important to find the right ones. You should also assign them positions that enable them to use their strengths and abilities in order for them to be most effective at work. The organization structure is important when assigning jobs because if the wrong person is assigned a position or vice versa, it could cause problems.

Before you can delegate tasks to someone, they must have a good understanding of your vision and be willing to help achieve it. If someone’s missing one or both of these qualities, then they’re not going to work out for you. Also keep in mind that as the company grows, so will your need to delegate things differently depending on what each person is capable of doing.

Data: Safety in Numbers

Imagine a pilot telling the passengers that none of the gauges are working, so he doesn’t know where they’re headed or how fast they’ll be going. Anyone would find this troubling and think that the airline should have taken precautions to prevent such uncertainty. In your business, you’ll want to take precautionary measures as well.

Data are important to have in order to measure the success of your business. Data can help you monitor where your business is and if it’s going in the right direction. By staying informed, you can act proactively instead of reacting to issues as they come up. A scorecard can be used to track progress and determine which metrics should be tracked on a weekly basis for an accurate overview of how things are going at work. The scorecard will likely evolve over time as more information becomes available about what data is most valuable for tracking purposes. When used correctly, this tool helps leadership teams spot problems early and address them proactively before they become bigger issues that require more attention later on down the line.

Issues: Decide!

To gain traction, you need to identify and solve your company’s problems as they arise. If you don’t do this, then you won’t be able to focus on the right things. This will also enable you to make more informed decisions so that your company can succeed. On the other hand, if you put off making decisions about important issues or avoid them altogether, then it will only hurt your business in the long-term because unresolved issues can cause a lot of trouble for a company. Therefore, it is better to decide on what needs to be done now rather than later because doing nothing could eventually lead to losing more than just time by not deciding at all.

Every company has issues, but the most successful companies are able to deal with them quickly. The first step in making this happen is to create an environment where people feel comfortable pointing out problems. One way of doing that is by creating a list of common problems and addressing them at weekly leadership team meetings. You can also break down lists according to departments so that specific people will be responsible for dealing with those issues.

Leadership teams spend too much time talking about issues and not enough time taking action to resolve them. The author breaks down the process into three steps: identity, discuss, and solve. Start by selecting the most important issues on the list, pinpointing their root causes, discussing potential solutions, and creating a to-do list for solving those problems.

To solve problems effectively, you must accept that people will not agree all the time. Therefore, you need to make tough decisions and prioritize what’s important for the greater good of the company. You can’t solve everything, so learn how to dive into issues that scare you most and get them solved quickly.

Process: Finding Your Way

The process component of business is often neglected. However, it’s crucial for success because every company has a system that its processes make up. If you want to gain more control and freedom, then you need to document your processes and ensure that everyone follows them.

Start with defining your core processes. This includes the HR process, customer-retention process, and operations process. Once you’ve defined them, it’s time to move on to the next step: making sure that everyone is speaking the same language by using common terms for each of these processes.

Once you know your company’s main processes, break them down into smaller pieces. You can’t document everything, so focus on the most important 20% of processes and capture the basic ideas and steps of each. As you do this, you’ll likely find that some of your processes are too complex. Take this opportunity to simplify and streamline them by ensuring they’re efficient. This will help ensure a business can run without its leader in the future.

Once the processes are in place, it’s easier for managers to do their jobs and control their departments. This can be done by committing to the processes and instructing team members to follow them as well. It is also important for people to see how these processes simplify things for themselves and the company.

Traction: From Luftmensch to Action!

Traction is the final component of business. It’s essential to complete all the other components first, as they will guide your vision. To gain traction and put your goals into action, you should create quarterly rocks: three to seven short-term measurable goals for your company in the next 90 days. These rocks must be focused on measurable objectives that are digestible within 90 days. It’s impossible to focus on everything at once, so creating a limited number of rocks clarifies top priorities and helps people get more done. Each rock should have one person who is accountable for making it happen by setting deadlines for each task required to achieve that goal. Once these rocks are set, everyone else in the organization should also develop their own list of priorities they plan to tackle in the next 90 days.

Meetings are very important for progress. You’re probably holding more meetings than you’ve ever had before, but productive meetings will actually save you time. The meeting pulse acts as the heartbeat of your organization and keeps everyone moving forward consistently. People tend to wait until the last minute to finish their work before a meeting – that’s when they’ll have an idea or spike. By having more meetings, you’ll get more spikes and therefore complete more tasks in less time.

The focus of a team can easily be lost within 90 days. This is why it’s important to have quarterly meetings. By having these meetings, the team can get back on track and make sure everyone is working toward the same goal. It also helps people think of things they wouldn’t otherwise without anticipation driving their focus and energy.

Once a quarter, set priorities for the following three months. Meet weekly to keep on track with your goals. If you’re meeting your goals each week, you’ll be able to stay on track throughout the year.

Pulling It All Together: The Grand Journey

Now that you understand the six steps of EOS, it’s time to put them all together. By mastering these steps, you’ll be able to gain more traction in your business and have more control over it. Mastering these will also help reduce frustration with your team members, as well as give you more free time to work on goals.

It’s important to be committed to the whole system in order for it to work. Once you have your organization set up, check in at least twice a year and make sure that you’re on track toward achieving your vision.

The EOS works because it’s based on what we know about how people think and work. If you stick with the process, even when things aren’t going well, you’ll see results eventually.

Conclusion

Hundreds of companies use the EOS system to help them grow and reduce frustration. You can do the same with this book, which will give you that power.

A clear vision, the right people in place, regular check-ups on your company’s progress, addressing issues quickly and setting priorities are all important aspects of running a successful business. To strengthen these components you should follow the steps outlined by EOS (Entrepreneurs Operating System).

Full Summary of Traction

Overview

Your business is important to you. You want it to be successful and profitable, but there are many obstacles in your way. Perhaps employees don’t work well together or you feel like the business has too much bureaucracy. Maybe you think that just surviving will be hard enough, so reinventing the wheel might not make sense for now.

In this article, we will go over a step-by-step method to solve your business problems. The Entrepreneurial Operating System is key to making sure you have the right processes in place and that you’re on track with your market.

The author has learned a lot through experience and practice, and he’s going to share his insights with you. In order to get your company back on track, you need to focus on these six elements.

In this article, I will explain why trying to please everyone is a bad idea. It’s also important to understand that one person can only do so much responsibility. And finally, you’ll learn about the importance of having strong people in a company who are willing to take on greater responsibilities and work harder than others.

Big Idea #1: Guide your company toward success by defining clearly what it values and what it seeks to provide.

Steve Jobs was an inspiring leader. His goal was to make the world a better place through his company, Apple. The Entrepreneurial Operating System is not as ambitious, but it’s still powerful and will help you get your business off the ground. It has six steps that are similar to an abbreviated business plan.

The first step in defining your business is to define what you want it to be. This vision will guide every other decision and process within the organization. Therefore, it must be crystal clear so that everyone can understand it. It should define the company’s purpose and how they plan on achieving their goals.

Furthermore, your vision has to be understood by everyone in the organization. If it isn’t, they won’t move or act together as a team.

To find your vision, first define what you want to be like as an organization. To do so, have a leadership team identify the values and focus that guide the company.

For example, Zoup! Fresh Soup Company’s core values are a “can do” attitude and passion for their brand. This determines who they hire as well as how they handle staff, clients and business partners.

Once you’ve defined your core values, you can move on to defining what your company will focus on. Or, put another way, which needs it wants to satisfy.

It’s important to define your company’s focus because you may get lost in other business ventures. Let us look at the example of Image One, a laser printer service and supply company. When it started expanding its business into computer networking, it was faced with problems. Amidst this chaos, executives reminded themselves of their core focus: to simplify the printing environment of their clients.

Therefore, they decided to focus on their core business. Ever since, the company has been growing at an annual average rate of 30 percent.

Big Idea #2: Plan a series of targets based on the months and years ahead to determine your marketing steps.

Imagine you’re planning a vacation around the world. You want to visit several cities, pack in smaller attractions and get around easily.

When you’re creating a business plan, you have to think about the details. You need to consider how your leadership team will accomplish certain things and when they’ll do it.

You can plan for the future by defining goals and strategies. Your ten-year goal should be your company’s larger-than-life target, which is crucial to define its overall direction. Your three-year picture describes how you will approach your ten-year target in the next three years. Next, you need a one year plan that states what has to happen in the next year to reach your three-year picture. Finally, create quarterly rocks that are specific, achievable and measurable milestones you can achieve within 90 days from now (the current quarter). After planning for both near and far futures, decide on a marketing strategy by ensuring efficiency of winning loyal customers without making everyone happy; this may just end up frustrating some loyal clients.

For example, if you’re the owner of a small aquatics center, it’s in your business interest to cater to both active children and stressed-out adults. The needs of those groups are different, so you won’t be able to satisfy them simultaneously. You should identify any issues that might affect your business (such as rising energy costs or another aquatics center opening nearby). Being aware of these will help you address them ahead of time.

Big Idea #3: Make sure you’re choosing employees who adhere to your values and fit their jobs appropriately.

Every good manager knows that they can only be successful if their staff is strong. Therefore, a crucial component to organizational success is the quality of your employees.

To make sure that your employees share the same values as you, use a chart with core values on one side and employees’ adherence to those values on the other. Record how often they adhere to each value (most of the time, sometimes or never). Then find out which employees are most in line with your company’s core values by looking at those who have mostly plus marks for most of the time and all of them some of the time.

While employees might be growth oriented, they may not always adhere to the values important for your company’s success.

The right people are important, but you also need to make sure they’re in the right roles. The GWC (Get, Want, Capacity) chart will help you figure out who should be doing what job and ensure that everyone is working on the best projects for their skills.

To determine whether someone is a good employee, ask three questions. First, does he understand his role? Second, does he like the job? Thirdly, does he have what it takes to do this kind of work well (intelligence/experience)?

If you know a person isn’t right for the job, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does he get it? (Does he understand what the position entails?)

  2. Does he have capacity to do well in this role? (Is he capable of doing the job?)

  3. Is there something that will prevent him from wanting to be successful in this role? (If so, then is this someone we want on our team?)

Big Idea #4: Use scorecards to monitor staff performance and resolve issues before they get out of hand.

The key to running a successful business is having good data management. Many people are opposed to that idea, but it’s not hard if you use the right tools. You can track and manage your employees’ performance with scorecards. Decide what factors you want to monitor (such as number of sales proposals given or new subscribers won) and set a target goal for each one (for example, give 10 sales proposals per week). Then assign who will be responsible for reaching those goals on a weekly basis and follow up when someone doesn’t meet their goals.

By tracking the performance of employees, you can find out if they’re doing well or not. You can also hold them accountable and encourage healthy competition by quantifying their performance in this way.

If you’re a manager, it’s important to know if your team is failing or struggling with something. You can figure this out by using the IDS method: identify, discuss and solve. This means that you will list everything that isn’t working properly and then approach these issues with the three steps in mind: first, identify what’s going on; second, discuss possible solutions; third, solve by deciding on one solution.

Big Idea #5: Identify, review and streamline your company’s processes, making sure they align with your vision.

Just like your body’s vital organs keep you alive, a company’s core processes keep it running smoothly.

On average, companies have seven processes. These processes are the fifth component of the Entrepreneurial Operating System. If you want your company to thrive, it’s critical that you identify and streamline all these processes. Here’s how: The first step is for your leadership team to list all those core business functions. Next, they need to simplify them by agreeing on a common language and understanding of each process’ function within the organization.

Once you’ve identified the processes that are critical to your organization, have each of those leaders write down their process steps. For instance, if you’re in human resources and recruiting is a key process for your company, then document all the steps involved with recruiting.

After you’ve discussed the process, review it yourself. By examining what your team has articulated, you’ll probably identify some steps that are unnecessary or overly complex.

Sometimes, a company will print documents that are also saved on the computer. This is unnecessary because it only creates extra work and costs more money. After you solve these problems, you can find ways to simplify processes as much as possible. The final step is to make sure that your processes align with the core values of the company (values defined at the beginning).

If you value family, you’ll want to not only offer products that are family-friendly but also provide a work environment where employees can spend time with their families.

Now that you’ve mastered the previous steps, it’s time to learn the final step of the Entrepreneurial Operating System.

Like this summary? Have too much to read? You'll love my new book summary product Shortform.

Shortform has the world’s best summaries of nonfiction books and articles. Even better, it helps you remember what you read, so you can make your life better. What's special about Shortform:

Sound like what you've been looking for? Sign up for a 5-day free trial here.

Big Idea #6: Establish concrete quarterly goals and assign ownership to foster maximum accountability.

Earlier, we talked about how companies need to focus on quarterly rocks in order to reach their goals.

For rocks to be effective, you need to set new goals every quarter. To do this, meet with your leadership staff and review progress, as well as set new goals for the next quarter. This is because 90 days is about how long it takes for one person to focus on a single project.

When you’re working with your team, list all the things that need to be done in the next quarter and try to come up with around 10-20 goals.

Since there are so many things that you want to achieve, the first step is to prioritize those goals into seven top priority ones. These should be specific, measurable and attainable. For instance, one of your priorities could be hiring an expert for human relations.

Once you have chosen your top goals, make sure that only one person is accountable for each goal. This will ensure that they feel responsible for the outcome of the goal and are more likely to work hard on it.

After you’ve assigned everyone a rock, each person should set their own personal goals. For example, they could write down what they want to accomplish and then share it with the rest of the team. This will ensure that each member is accountable for his or her actions and progress.

From here, departments and employees can select one or three items that align with the company’s goals.

Traction Book Summary, by Gino Wickman
Share:

Enjoy this summary?

Subscribe to get my next book summary in your email.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to get smarter, faster?

Subscribe to my newsletter to get free book summaries and startup notes.
x