Our Virtual Book Club Meeting for Traction (by Gino Wickman) started differently than usual. Based on our Book Club submissions, Angel C., our moderator, began with this: “We got comments that this was [either] the best book ever, or this was a really boring book. So we got one extreme to the next, so it should be quite an interesting book club discussion.”
And interesting it was! Below, we’ll share both lessons learned and areas we felt were off point.
Having the right people in the right seat was clearly the biggest takeaway from our team, but having discussed it in Traction Part 1 (you can read it here), the team’s next takeaway was less of a specific lesson and, rather, the whole book itself.
What the Entrepreneurial Operating System offers is a blueprint to running a business. It breaks down the different components of a business, such as having a clear vision and defining processes, and provides an intuitive process to implement them in a business. It is highly technical and instructive in its approach, yet simple and practical enough to apply in any organization. Joe H. made a good point about Traction:
“This is very much a basic playbook. No team ever won a [super bowl] title with just a basic playbook. But at the same time, no one ever won a ring if they didn’t have those basics down.” – Joe H.
Traction is a good “playbook” to come back to when the company is getting off track; But as Joe mentioned, no football team won a title with only the basics – neither can Inflow disrupt an industry by sticking to the basics.
While Inflow’s business model shares ideas from Traction’s blueprint, there are other ideas we do differently. Gino Wickman made this point about having defined measurables:
“What gets measured gets done. […] when you boil the organization’s numbers down to the point where everyone has a single meaningful, manageable number [it] creates clarity and accountability throughout the team. Everyone has a number.”
Now, we’re all for clarity of expectations and accountability, and, while the author makes valid points for the benefits of having a number for each employee to meet or exceed, within Inflow’s culture and business model, having a number would not only counter our “employees-first” ideology, it’s actually a key problem in our industry which we’re striving to solve. Ricky L. had a comment on this:
“It made me cringe when I read ‘Everyone has a number.’ I get how many businesses are run based on P&Ls (Profit and Loss statements), but when it comes to having a number on your back, that position will become a revolving door and that person will live an unhealthy lifestyle.” – Ricky L.
As mentioned in previous discussions, Inflow doesn’t use P&Ls because when people are driven by money, bad choices are made.
Instead, give an employee clear expectations of their role, yet remove the idea of “numbers” from the equation, and not only will they find a way to accomplish their task, they’ll be more creative and innovative in their thinking and approach. It’s those innovative minds we’re seeking to foster. When employees innovate, the end product improves, both in effectiveness and efficiency, and since we serve the military, “effective” and “efficient” is the name of the game.
Traction has a lot of practical advice to expand our thinking and understanding in how businesses are run, including how our CEO and President are leading Inflow. While we may agree and disagree on certain points, one thing remains: our clear vision to always Make it Matter to our customers and our Inflowees.
At Inflow we solve complex terror and criminal issues for the United States Government and their partners, by providing high quality and innovative solutions at the right price through the cultivation of a corporate culture dedicated to being #1 in employee and customer engagement. We Make it Matter, by putting people first! If you are interested in working for Inflow or partnering with us on future projects, contact us here.