6 Tell-Tale Signs that Your Business Needs an Operating System

August 13, 2014

mikekotsisGuest blogger, EOS Implementer and Business Coach Mike Kotsis describes how to diagnose and address your entrepreneurial frustrations with a Business Operating System.

Imagine you’re on a road trip. Your kids have been whining and yelling in the backseat for about an hour. Out of desperation you put a DVD into your laptop, letting out a sigh of relief as you wait for the kids’ movie to load. Only this time nothing happens. No Sound. Blank Screen. The whining instantly resumes. Your laptop’s operating system has crashed. Without a working operating system, the DVD just spins in the drive. No picture. No sound. The DVD drive can’t communicate with the screen or speakers.

Does your business need an operating system?The operating system is the mechanism that enables everything to communicate and work together seamlessly. All of the programs running on your computer speak a common language (think Mac vs. PC or Windows XP vs. Windows 7) and are designed to either work together or stay out of each other’s way.

Like a computer, a business needs an operating system to make sure teams are aligned and time is not being wasted recovering from “system crashes” that frustrate, infuriate, and cause rework.

How to know if your business needs an operating system

Have you ever heard these words come out of your mouth?

  1. I feel like I’m not getting everything I want from my people.
  2. There’s no accountability – I’m always putting out fires other people create, and we never seem to come up with a permanent fix for our problems.
  3. It’s taking too long to grow, and I wish we could be more profitable.
  4. I’m working too many hours and not getting enough value from my company.
  5. I feel trapped – everyone and everything relies on me, and I’m probably going to die at my desk.
  6. Meetings are ineffective – the energy is low, and most people feel that meeting time is wasted time.

If these statements sound familiar, then you need a business operating system. Like your computer, a company requires an operating system to organize the way a business functions, and ensure smooth communication between leadership team members and all employees.

What is a business operating system?

Think of a business operating system like a playbook. For a leadership team to run a business effectively, it must have a playbook that provides the structure for how the next play should run. This is the only way to ensure long-term success for the company. A business operating system helps all areas of a company consistently perform at top levels, and align toward the achievement of common goals. Without it, miscommunication spins out of control, the team does not work well together, and errors are frequently made. What does this mean for you, your team, and your company? Frustration, long hours, wasted time and energy – and lower financial returns.

To fix these problems, you need an operating system with these key features:

  • A process for agreeing on a shared vision for success
  • A process for agreeing on core values to hire, fire and reward employees
  • A process for agreeing on long- and short-term goals for the business
  • A process for aligning team activities around the achievement of these goals
  • A regular meeting rhythm and standard meeting agenda format
  • A system for establishing and maintaining team accountability
  • A system for identifying, discussing, and resolving issues
  • A scorecard for measuring results

Doing It Yourself vs. Buying the Box

You can develop these systems and processes yourself, or you can adopt one that has already been created and proven to work in other companies. Hivehouse Digital uses EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System, to run its operations, and has grown more than 200% since implementing the EOS in 2012. The system helps leadership teams clarify, simplify, and achieve their vision faster. It is the mechanism that ensures everyone in the company is aligned with the vision and plan by establishing a common set of rules with clear accountability; ultimately helping the team to deliver better, consistent results with less effort.

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