For its continued focus on boosting business performance through EOS, ASW (formerly Atlanta Soundworks) was named a 2022 Excellence in Business award winner in the Business Performance category.
You may have learned or heard about the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) at NSCA’s Business & Leadership Conferences over the past few years—it’s been a popular topic of discussion.
To promote clarity and alignment around its own organizational goals, ASW decided to implement these EOS principles. Made famous by Gino Wickman’s bestselling book, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, EOS integrates simple tools and proven processes based on components from Patrick Lencioni, Stephen Covey, and others. It’s a way of identifying and documenting the core processes that define how your business is run.
Through EOS, ASW’s leadership team was able to organize the company’s mission, vision, values, and goals into a single document they call the Vision/Traction Organizer (V/TO). Once senior leadership understands and agrees to support the goals and values expressed in the V/TO, it’s shared with the entire organization. From there, department heads use it to help their teams focus on meeting near-term and long-term goals.
Annual goals are broken up into quarterly “rocks” to help the organization focus on objectives that will help it meet the goals of each 90-day period. Senior leaders and departments track and report on unique sets of leading KPIs and finite objectives each week. This allows the organization to make changes on the fly to better achieve its desired outcomes.
Putting the Right People in the Right Places
ASW’s core values are incorporated into a scorecard called the “People Analyzer.” This tool takes an objective look at whether the right people are sitting in the right seats. It consists of two sections:
- Right Person
- Right Seat
The Right Person section assigns a score to an individual based on their relationship to the organization’s core values. In other words: How well do they align?
- The individual exhibits this core value most of the time (+)
- The individual exhibits this core value some of the time; it’s hit or miss (+/-)
- The individual rarely exhibits this core value (–)
The Right Seat section includes three metrics that ASW refers to as “GWC.” They follow a binary scoring system—a simple “yes” or “no”:
- Gets It: Is the person innately wired to handle the responsibilities they have or will be given, and do they understand how those responsibilities fit into the big picture?
- Wants It: Does the person want the responsibilities of the role—even if they don’t have them yet?
- Capacity: Does the person have the skills, knowledge, and time to succeed in the role?
ASW set a minimum People Analyzer score it calls “The Bar.” Team members who fall below The Bar must either be brought up to The Bar or managed out of the organization. The Bar translates to:
- 5 + and one +/- in the Right Person section
- 3 + for the Right Seat section
The Bar is used in performance reviews and coaching, as well as during the hiring process.
Tracking Progress and Business Objectives with EOS
Each week, senior leadership and each department have a 90-minute Level 10 (L10) meeting with a fixed agenda. It starts with each attendee talking about what’s happening outside of work, and then proceeds to a review of scorecard numbers from the last week:
- Are “rocks” on or off track to be achieved by the end of the quarter?
- Customer and employee headlines
- Accountability of deliverables (to-dos) from the prior week
- Identifying, discussing, and solving issues that fall under the responsibility of the team members in the meeting
The meeting wraps up with a restatement of decisions made, identification and clarification of cascading communication that needs to occur, and a rating of the team based on the effectiveness of the meeting on a scale of 1 to 10 (the goal is to reach an 8 or higher as an average weekly rating).
“This system has allowed us to operate more effectively as an organization by creating clarity and accountability across the entire organization,” says Chris Reese, COO/CFO. “ASW team members feel connected to the organization’s goals, actively participate in their achievement, and have real-time visibility into our progress.”
To reinforce its organizational values, ASW created the Pacesetter Award. This annual award—which includes a cash bonus—is given to two team members chosen by their peers who consistently demonstrate the company’s core values and materially contribute the achievement of departmental and organizational goals.
As a result of these impressive changes, ASW consistently achieves more than 90% of its operational and business goals. The company has also broken the cycle of recurring issues that are never resolved.