Every CEO wants one of these ‘drop the mic’ moments Michael Dell experienced in 1997.

Dell, then 32 years old, began his presentation at Dell Computer’s annual shareholders meeting by presenting a graph that showed how Dell’s 3 year stock returns were significantly greater than other corporate giants such as Intel and Microsoft. Naturally the Dell shareholders gathered that day reacted with “oohs” and “aahs”. Michael Dell seized the moment by saying “And that concludes our presentation.” If there ever was a ‘drop the mic’ moment in corporate America, that was probably it! But that ‘up and to the right’ growth didn’t last. It never does. Dell Computer inevitably hit the ceiling and growth stalled.

Hitting The Ceiling Is Inevitable

Even if your business is experiencing one of those ‘up and to the right’ periods of growth, this is the time to strengthen your organization so as it will be able to break through the next set of growth stalling issues. Hitting the next ceiling is not a case of ‘if’ but ‘when’ as a 1972 Harvard Business Review article by Dr. Larry Greiner demonstrated (Harvard Business Review, July-August 1972: Evolution and Revolution as Organizations Grow).

Dr. Greiner’s study found that all organizations undergo stages of ‘evolution’ and ‘revolution’ as they grow:

Stages of evolution: Everything is going great – the classic ‘up and to the right’ period of growth. These years are like a plane taking off and climbing quickly to 30,000 feet.

Stages of revolution: Just as when an airplane hits turbulence the pilots are forced to slow down or even descend to a lower altitude. For a business, these are the times of organizational upheaval where growth slows or even stalls. Systems, processes, and roles that worked in the past no longer produce year-over-year growth. You’ve hit a ceiling!

Five Leadership Skills To Break Through The Ceiling

The Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®) is a set of simple, real world, yet highly effective tools that are implemented as an aligned business operating system that will allow you to get what you want from your business, and break through the inevitable ceilings.  EOS® strengthens the following Five Leadership Abilities: 


The first leadership skill to break through the ceiling requires doing more with less and believing that dumbing it down is better than making things more complex than they need to be. The human brain is hardwired to reject complexity and accept simplicity. The following EOS® tools will simplify critical elements of your business:

The Accountability Chart: simplifies the organizational design of seats with roles & responsibilities that will get the business to the next level

Rocks: simplifies the most important priorities that must be accomplished every 90 days

Level 10 Meeting™: this simplified meeting agenda greatly increases the effectiveness of internal weekly meetings

Scorecard: a simplified dashboard of leading weekly indicators of future success

Vision/Traction Organizer™: a two-page document that literally gets everyone on the same page about where the company is going and how it is going to get there


One of the most common causes of an organization hitting the celling is when key leaders have too many responsibilities for the amount of time they can reasonably be expected to work.

Delegate and Elevate™: Presuming a given person is in the right seat, this tool will help them determine what responsibilities they need to delegate in order to make their best contribution to the company.


In business, as in life, we can’t have certainty about the future but we can have clarity. Leadership teams must continually improve the ability to predict the week, month, quarter, and year ahead so as to achieve their long-term vision.

Vision/Traction Organizer™: Predicts the long-term destination of the company and what needs to be done to get there

Rocks: clarifies the three to seven 90 day priorities at the company and individual level

Level 10 Meeting™: “IDS-ing” issues is making short-term predictions about what the most pressing issues are to solve this week, and predicting the best solution for each given issue.


To continually grow and scale a business requires scaleable and repeatable processes that everyone can follow.

3-Step Process Documenter™: identifies the processes that are truly core to growing and scaling the business, and documents them in a simplified way so as these core processes can be followed by all.


Jim Collins famously said that organizations need the right people in the right seats to go from good to great.

The Accountability Chart: Organizations that believe ‘you are perfectly designed to get the results you are getting’ will frequently assess if they have the right structure to get to the next level

People Analyzer™: Is a simple but powerful tool that ensures you have the right people who share your core values, and are right for their seat by asking if they “GWC” their seat in the Accountability Chart – that is do they “Get it”, “Want it” and have the “Capacity to do it”?

So What?

What are you doing to strengthen your company for both the growth years and the inevitable periods of hitting the ceiling?

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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