on 24 August 2014
This book was recommended by a business partner of mine who uses it in his companies. It's not only a "Game Changer" it's a "Business Changer"'!!!
The simple strategies they use to prioritise and focus what your business does best and then organise your business so you have the "right people in the right seats", as they say, is worth multiples of your business turnover.
If you're an entrepreneur or business owner, you're leaving money on the table if you're not using their strategies.
10 stars in my view!
on 1 December 2011
Most business books tell you what you need to do as a business owner... Traction tells you how to do it."
`Traction,' by Gino Wickman, is not an easy book. The author asks whether you have a grip on your business, or your business has a grip on you. His answer is no less than a complete recipe for running a small or medium size business. He claims that by applying the principles he describes in the book, you could `eliminate all of your business-related frustrations.'
The book covers what Wickman calls the Entrepreneurial Operating System, which he bases on years of real-world implementation in nearly three hundred companies. The system identifies six key components of a business: vision, people, data, issues, processes, and traction. The idea is that the manager only has to deal with these six components to prevent common problems and frustrations taking over the business and so to give the leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment.
Promises like this naturally tend to invoke a certain amount of scepticism. We've seen it all before - or something like it - and it didn't work then so why would it now? In fact, Wickman has an answer to that, too, because most of the book is a very practical series of steps to take, so that with diligent application you really could expect to see considerable improvement in results, and reduction in pain.
Good advice abounds. `Clarify your vision and you will make better decisions about people, processes, finances, strategies and customers' ... `It all comes down to getting the right people in the right seats' ... `What gets measured gets done' - and so on. The distinctive feature of `Traction' is the way the advice is translated into a series of tools for taking action.
Wickman claims his book has no theory in it; everything there comes from experience. Actually there is some theory, even quoting such luminaries as Jim Collins and Rosabeth Moss Kanter. I would take issue with the lack of theory on some topics. Surely the discussion on identifying a unique selling point, for example, would benefit from a clear exposition of market discipline? One of my MBA students explains by analogy, theory says a cherry has a stone in the middle; imagine the impact of biting into one for the first time without the advantage of that piece of theoretical knowledge. To be fair, though, Wickman uses lots of anecdotes from his consulting experience to make up for the lack of theories derived from other people's experiences.
One small but vital point I really like: the idea that what drains your energy in business is having unresolved issues hanging over you. This is something that can truly keep you awake at night. I solved that for one of my clients by having him keep a notebook at his bedside to `dump' those unresolved issues as they occurred to him. Gino Wickman offers a whole rational process for achieving the same effect. `Traction' is definitely worth a look.
As I began to read this book, I was reminded of a book co-authored by Chip and Dan Heath in which they explain why a few ideas "stick" but most don't. It can also be said about business initiatives in that some have "traction" but most don't. That is Gino Wickman's core thesis. As he explains, most entrepreneurs experience one or (probably) more of five common frustrations: lack of control, underperforming workers, insufficient (if any) profits, limited growth potential, and dysfunctional operations. In a phrase, they can't "get a grip" on their business. What they need is what Wickman characterizes as a "holistic, self-sustaining system that addresses the six aspects of a business": Vision, People, Data, Issues, Process, and Traction. What he offers is the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) that, if "mastered" (i.e. installed and then maintained properly), will enable business leaders to integrate the six components of their business "into a powerful framework that will help [them] gain traction and realize the vision [they've] always had for [their] company."
In addition to a Summary" of key points at the conclusion of Chapters 3-8, here's what caught my eye:
o An "Organizational Checkup" that enables each reader to complete an audit of the its strength in terms of each of the six components and related activities (Pages 10-12)
o The Vision/Traction Organizer (V/TO) used by leaders to sharpen focus on what is most important (Pages 4, 31-75)
o The "Ten Commandments of Solving Issues" (Pages 141-144)
o Documentation of core processes (Pages 151-161)
o "Organizational Checkup" (Pages 204-206) that enables leaders to gain at least some measurement of what has been accomplished since the first "Organizational Checkup" (Pages 10-12)
Presumably Wickman would be the first to suggest that it would be a fool's errand for any reader to attempt to apply everything that recommended in his book. However, he would insist (and I wholly agree) that an organization should have only one operating system, albeit one that is flexible, resilient, and (yes) durable as well as comprehensive, cohesive, and cost-effective.
For some organizations, the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) - after appropriate modification - will be a significant improvement over how they have operated until now. For other organizations, the EOS offers some attractive possibilities for strengthening even more an operating system now in place and functioning well. Kaizen (i.e. continuous improvement) is a process, not a destination. What Gino Wickman has learned and so generously shares in this book can be of substantial value to almost all business leaders in almost all organizations for whom continuous improvement is more than a laminated affirmation on a wall; it is a way of achieving operational excellence at all levels and in all areas.