What is your Entrepreneurial Operating System?

“Vision without traction is merely hallucination.” 

Gino Wickman

Author of Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

Every business has an operating system. Perhaps we don’t normally use that term, yet a business operating system is similar to how a computer operating system works. It is the heart of all operations, controlling most functions and the level of productivity and output from that business.

The book Traction by Gino Wickman uses the term The Entrepreneurial Operating System, and I love his concepts. The goal of his book is to help business owners to implement systems so that the business can operate on its own, without completely relying on the owner. Today, I will explore the 6 core concepts of his model.

The Entrepreneurial Operating System

The following six key areas are the core of the Entrepreneurial Operating System. They need to be optimised to ensure everything is running smoothly and performing well:

  1. Vision
  2. People
  3. Data
  4. Issues
  5. Process
  6. Traction 

Below I will expand on each of these areas.

1. Vision

Most business owners have a clear vision in their mind of what they want their business to achieve. Yet the issue is that often this vision isn’t clear to their team. This misalignment can lead to frustration and dysfunction due to the vision being lost.

2. People

A well known principle in business today is the idea of getting the right people in the right seats on the bus. These people need to share the same core values and be in the right role for their skill set to be able to operate at their highest level of productivity.

3. Data

The obvious data any business owner tracks is their level of profit. Yet many don’t actually understand, monitor and manage all the inputs for their business that create their level of success, productivity and profit.

4. Issues

This is how we handle challenges in a business. Business owners must be willing to confront and solve all issues that occur in a business. This is about finding the right solutions to overcome the challenges that occur, and assigning action items to the team to hold them accountable.

5. Process

Most businesses have six to ten core processes. Some examples of these are HR, marketing, sales, operations, accounting and customer retention processes. To take the owner out of being the business, then clearly defining these processes can allow other people to take responsibility for the core areas. This can also create a focus on building better processes, systems and ways to do things.

6. Traction

While it may be the sixth, taking action is the critical part.  Execution is needed to gain traction. Wickman outlines that meetings can be the heartbeat of the business, if they have a clear agenda and strict time intervals, they can provide accountability and keep the traction going towards your goals.

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