Edwards Deming, the process expert who helped post-WWII Japan greatly increase the quality of the country’s industrial output, taught that anytime the majority of people behave a particular way the majority of the time, your problem is not the people – the problem is in the system.

Think about that for a second.  It can be tempting to always blame people when your organization is not achieving desired results, but what if the system you have placed your people in is making it impossible for them to succeed?

Every organization has an ‘operating system’.  An orgnizational operating system is how all of the human energy in the organization is managed.  Even if you don’t have a formal business operating system, your organization has norms around goal setting, meetings, accountability, and role expectation.

In the early stages of an entrepreneurial business the founders and leaders often cobble together what becomes the business’ operating system – the way in which vision is clarified, goals are set, and performance is measured.  But these element of a business operating system are usually assembled in a haphazard fashion, resulting in a business where all of the arrows – representing the elements of the operating system – do not line up.

When business owners and leaders decide to implement the Entrepreneurial Operating System® to get what they want from their business, they are effectively installing a new operating system to replace the formal or informal operating system(s) that preceded EOS®.

Thousands of entrepreneurs have gotten what they want from their business by implementing EOS®.  Simply put, EOS® works!  However, issues around competing operating systems in your business may be impeding the organization.


Check engine light – Multiple Operating Systems

Your car’s manufacturer built in a check engine light to the dashboard to give you an early warning sign that your vehicle is not operating as it was intended.  Likewise, weaknesses in the areas below are the equivalent of a ‘check engine light’ indicating that your company’s attempt to implement EOS® may not be working as intended.  Therefore, it’s time to pull over, pop the hood, and identify what is causing you to not get what you want from your business.


EOS® not working?  Effectively Still On Running Multiple Operating Systems?

The EOS® creed is “You cannot build a great organization on multiple operating systems – you must choose one”.  Even after deciding to implement EOS® here are some of the clues that your organization is still running on multiple operating systems:

  • The leadership team never experienced a 90 Minute Meeting with an EOS Implementer to hear an overview of the EOS Model™, EOS Process™, and EOS Toolbox™
  • Ownership simply told their leadership team the company was going to implement EOS® without allowing the leadership team to wrestle through and commit to the decision
  • Leadership team members thought they could ‘cherry pick’ the parts of EOS® they liked and not implement the parts they didn’t like
  • Failing to realize that even if your business did not utilize a formal business operating system, it has an informal way of operating – worse, it likely has multiple informal ways of operating!
  • Not recognizing that adopting a proven and powerful aligned business operating system such as EOS® allows you to get the results you want from the business
  • Leaders not willing to be accountable to a proven system and process – instead, they want to keep ‘winging it’
  • Leadership was not committed to running their business fully on EOS®
  • The leadership team may have fully embraced EOS® but is not able to roll EOS® out purely and fully to the rest of the organization due to those at lower levels being overly tied to their previous way of operating
  • Some leaders though EOS® was just another ‘flavor of the month’ from their CEO and that if they passively resisted the process would just fade away
  • A misguided view that its ok to mix and match the best of multiple operating systems
  • Giving up on pure EOS® implementation when it gets uncomfortable and instead falling back to the old system or tool that doesn’t challenge


What to do if your organization is still running on multiple operating systems?

  • Reread the book “Traction” by Gino Wickman
  • Have a candid conversation with your leadership to determine:
    • Do you believe the Edwards Deming contention that anytime the majority of people behave a particular way the majority of the time, your problem is not the people – the problem is in the system?
    • Can your business grow and scale in the future with its current operating system?
    • If your business is going to fully adopt EOS® then is each member of the leadership team willing to fully commit to the full and pure implementation of EOS®?
    • Is the leadership team willing to champion the implementation of EOS® throughout the organization?
  • Take the Organizational Checkup™ with your leadership team, discuss the results and figure out how to improve areas of weakness


Next Steps

Visit NavigateTheJourney.com and schedule a call with Tom Barrett to discuss how implementing EOS® would allow you to get what you want from your business.


About The Author

Tom Barrett is a Nashville-based Certified EOS Implementer™ and focuses on implementing EOS® with growth minded entrepreneurial businesses helping them to Clarify, Simplify & Achieve their Vision.


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