One of the tensions entrepreneurial companies have to manage is the transition from scrappy informal startup to a more mature organization that can grow and scale with formal structure, processes and systems.  Entrepreneurs rightly fear that their organization may lose its creativity and can-do mentality in the transition to a more established organization.  Worse, some fear their entrepreneurial company may become bureaucratic!  But the opposite of an entrepreneurial culture is not a bureaucratic culture – bureaucratic cultures are the result of tolerating poor performing team members by creating rules that overly controls everyone.

There is a healthy alternative.  As Jim Collins writes in Good To Great

“When you blend a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get a magical alchemy resulting in superior performance”.

Companies running on EOS® can ensure they achieve such magical alchemy.  The following describes how you can use EOS® to live out Collin’s recommendations to ensure your business achieves such magical alchemy.


#1 – Build a culture around the idea of freedom & responsibility within a framework

When entrepreneurs use The EOS Model™ as the lens through which to view & run their company, what seemed like an overwhelming number of issues and problems confronting the business just falls into place.  The EOS Model™ is comprised of six key components – Vision, People, Data, Issues, Process and Traction, thus providing a framework of common concepts, tools and language for everyone in an entrepreneurial business.


Individuals and teams then have the freedom to implement the various simple, real world tools of the EOS Toolbox™ in a way that is most appropriate for their context.




#2 – Fill that culture with self-disciplined people

EOS® allows entrepreneurs to have 100% Right People who share the organization’s core values in the Right Seat through:

  • Operationalized Core Values. The true core values of the organization are discovered, and then operationalized into the hiring process through “The Speech” – an inspiring telling of an organization’s core values that bring them to life in vivid fashion.  Candidates that don’t possess your Core Values either self-select out, or are found out due to an emphasis of ensuring all staff members must consistently behave in a manner consistent with your company’s Core Values.
  • People Analyzer™: Ensures everyone is above “The Bar” core values wise, and “Gets it”, “Wants it” and has the “Capacity to do it” as it comes to their properly defined seat in the Accountability Chart.
  • The 5-5-5™: once per quarter, supervisors discuss Core Value fit, the person’s “Seat” (including the 3-5 unique accountabilities of their role), and that person’s Rocks (priorities) for the quarter. Self-disciplined people welcome such accountability for their behavior, for achieving the accountabilities of their role, and to accomplish their most important priorities each quarter.


#3 – Don’t confuse a culture of discipline with a tyrannical disciplinarian

It can be a slippery slope down hill to becoming a tyrannical disciplinarian.  You’ve hired a few wrong people and have a culture of weak transparency and discipline.  So many leader’s natural reaction is to overly manage everyone and everything in order to achieve the results they want.  Such cultures drive away the right people, thus increasing the need to be a tyrannical disciplinarian.

There is a way out of such a vicious cycle.  Implementing EOS® greatly increases transparency thus reducing the urge for owners and leaders to tightly manage their teams.  EOS® allows entrepreneurs to become the kind of leader everyone wants to follow – someone who is clear about where the business is going and how it’s going to get there, has clarified expectations of behavior and performance so that everyone knows what is expected of them, and leads the organization to achieve what is most important on a weekly and quarterly basis.  And in an environment of increased transparency and accountability, the wrong people leave.


#4 – Adhere with great consistency to the Hedgehog Concept

Once teams clarify their Core Focus™ by succinctly agreeing on what their “Purpose/Cause/Passion” and “Niche” are, they have answered the first two questions in Collins’ Hedgehog Concept – “What are we deeply passionate about” and “What can we be the best in the world at”.

As teams strengthen the Data component, they end up discovering the answer to the third question in the Hedgehog Concept – “What drives our economic engine”.

Because leadership teams of companies running on EOS® are reviewing their Scorecard weekly, and their Vision (V/TO™) every 90 days in a Quarterly Session, such teams ensure they remain consistently within their Hedgehog Concept.


So What?

How well have you combined a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship?  Are you achieving the magical alchemy of superior performance?


Next Steps

  • Visit 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.

« | »

Schedule a Call