Freedom?  Structure?  Or both?

Getting better at getting better is what RiseWithDrew is all about.

Monday through Thursday we explore ideas from authors, thought leaders, and exemplary organizations.  On Friday, I share something we are doing at PCI in our quest to earn a spot of Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. 

There is freedom within structure.  Structure provides a framework within which we can be creative.

At PCI, we use the Entrepreneurial Operating System or EOS as a framework to build and manage our organization.  The structure of EOS provides the guardrails or guideposts within which we have tremendous freedom to build a great and lasting organization. 

Each step described below is discussed and decided upon by the entire leadership team as part of implementing EOS.  Then, we review and update it every year as part of our annual planning process.  Some EOS companies utilize an EOS Implementer.  Others facilitate themselves.

The process begins by outlining the organization’s core values, purpose, and niche, or target market.  These elements provide the foundation on which the organization is built.

Next is the 10-year vision.  At PCI, our 10-year vision or BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) is to earn a spot on Fortune magazine’s Best Company to Work for in the world.  This ten-year vision is a statement of PCI’s business strategy: Happy associates = Happy clients.  It is also the North Star to which we look when we make decisions: Does this action bring us closer to that vision?  Does this person we are hiring move us toward that vision?

The next step is our 3-year picture.  The idea is to create a vivid picture of what our business will look like in three years.  The goal is to stretch the thinking of the team about what is possible.  The objective is to articulate a future that is at the very edge of what can be done.  One more inch and everyone would say, “That’s too far.  We could never do that.” 

There is power in writing down our goals.  The 3-Year Picture helps each member of the leadership team see where the organization is headed and decide if they want to be part of the adventure ahead. 

The 3-year picture includes a forecast for revenue and profit three years out as well as a list of 10-20 important actions the organization will achieve.  Once the leadership team has created the 3-year vision, EOS encourages teams to close their eyes and have one person read it out loud so everyone hears it, understands it, and can visualize it.

At PCI, we articulated a 3-year vision last year that included growing from $53 million in revenue to $100 million.  That’s a true stretch goal for us.  Simply doing “business as usual” is not an option.  Achieving that goal requires new approaches and new ideas.  Which is the point.   

Next up is the 1-year plan.  Unlike the 3-year picture, this exercise is not about stretching.  It is a prediction.  It is a plan.  THE plan for the coming year.  The leadership team and the entire organization are committed to making this plan a reality. 

The 1-year plan includes a forecast for revenue and profit as well as other key metrics.  These performance indicators will vary by organization.  In our case, we predict contracts signed, projects started, on-time delivery percentage, Net Promoter Score, and number of associates.

We also select five goals for the year which we call “boulders” or big rocks.  These are the most important projects we will accomplish in the coming year.  These boulders help us achieve our 1-year plan, 3-year picture, and 10-year vision. 

Then, each quarter our leadership team meets to decide on the objectives or rocks for the upcoming 90-day period.  Once again, we forecast all the metrics mentioned above, but this time for the upcoming quarter.  We also select five “rocks” or key projects we will complete.  Each rock is “owned” by one member of the leadership team.

We share our plan for the upcoming quarter with the entire organization as part of our Quarterly Business Meeting.  Once every 90 days we gather all associates together and discuss where we are headed as an organization.

The final piece of the EOS structure is the weekly Level 10 (L10) meeting.  Every week our leadership team meets and reviews where we stand on our metrics and rocks and discusses open issues.

EOS.  Freedom within a structure.  Creativity within a framework.

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Reflection: Do I lean toward structure or freedom?  How might I incorporate both?

Action:  Journal about my ideas on the questions above.

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