Whether your company has been around two years or twenty, there’s always merit in redefining vision and where you are headed. Creating a clear vision jumpstarts growth and reinforces to your employees that the company they work for has forward-facing ideas and a roadmap to get there.
Chasing possibility through redefining your company’s vision certainly sounds like a worthwhile endeavor, but where to start? In this article, we’ll discuss what kinds of business systems are out there, why you should consider adopting one, and add in a few key insights from BWB’s leadership team on our own journey of chasing possibility and redefining vision.
Question: What are the two most important elements to redefining vision?
BWB Perspective: “Quite honestly in this process our vision statement didn’t change, but we were able to solidify what our vision is and re-align with our core focus. We had to identify two things, ‘what’s our niche?’ and ‘what’s our core focus?’ and we talked about what brings us joy as an entire team. Then ultimately, our vision statement got longer and more specific.”
Did you know that the original organization chart comes from the steam locomotive industry? It was designed in 1854 to maximize coordination and establish hierarchy within the New York and Erie Railroad system and its subsidiaries. Why mention the historic roots of a bureaucratic organization like the steam locomotive industry? To emphasize that they are just that, historic.
Relic blueprints of management structures are mechanistic by design, built for uniformity and control. Today, modern companies prioritize innovation, efficiency, and accountability, which contrasts with these old systems. The takeaway is simple, we shouldn’t expect outdated approaches hailing from the 19th century to fit the way we work today. As many companies are realizing, the answer to being bogged down by traditional approaches to work should be to replace those systems with something radically better.
With that in mind, there is no better time than now to reevaluate what bogs down your process, where are your company’s bottle-necks, and what kind of business system could take your organization to the next level. Taking time to modernize your business sets your company apart as an organization that is prepared to adapt and scale.
Question: What does redefining vision really mean if ultimately our goals are the same? How does adopting EOS reshape how we're approaching those goals differently?
BWB Perspective: “We’re working on better defining goals for our team, and not just goals, but why and how those goals serve us. The idea is to hone in on training us as a leadership team, then essentially training our whole team to decide on strategies that go after exactly what it is we want and how we want to grow. It’s all about setting goals with intention, including tips and tools to achieve these means, from aspects of process to ideas that break down how we get there.”
What is a business operating system? There are several approaches, some of the most well-known being EOS, Scaling Up, and OKRs, but in general, these systems outline processes and structure that maximize your team’s productivity and ability to reach goals. Business systems set up companies for faster growth by augmenting their team's ability to focus on strategy, while at the same time freeing them up from manual work and inefficient tasks.
People say, ‘time is money,’ but what they really mean is "time is the currency of productivity". Systems give employees a means to achieving higher levels of productivity, while at the same time, the chance to be proactive about issues before they become dire. Establishing a way of ‘doing work’ promotes consistency, and therefore creates a culture of delivering consistent services and results to your clients across the board. Defining process, goals, and role clarity are powerful ways to bring about that consistency and have something to fall back on when things get crazy.
Looking even further ahead, is selling your business something you’ve considered? If so, choosing a business system to mature your company helps make it a more valuable asset. Your company becomes more attractive to investors because even if you were to step away, the processes you’ve put in place make your company committed to serving its customer base for the long-term.
On top of everything we’ve just mentioned, adopting a business operating system can bring a level of clarity to your organization that may not have been there before. When companies start to scale by growing their teams and creating new products, it’s important to stay organized and set realistic expectations. Here are a few examples of systems that help you redefine your vision…
Quick Summary: EOS, short for “Entrepreneurial Operating System,” is a strategy for a company to strengthen the six key elements of any organization known as the EOS Model: Vision, People, Data, Issues, Processes, and Traction.
Advantages of EOS: According to EOS Worldwide, “by mastering this simple way of operating, leadership teams of growth-oriented companies systematically and permanently improve.” The EOS Process strengthens the six key elements, and utilizes an EOS Toolbox that teaches teams how to boosts productivity and manage goals effectively. The end goal is to better prepare your company for growth.
How It Started: In Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t, Verne Harnish expands on his first book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, which is the core curriculum for the Entrepreneurial Master’s Program (EMP) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Quick Summary: This model supports organizations in strengthening four main areas of business- People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash. The Scaling Up systems gives executives the tools to free up time doing administrative, time-sucking tasks to turn their attention toward creating a growth plan.
Advantages of Scaling Up: In addition to supporting members of the C-suite, Scaling Up coaching helps companies through implementation. The company created a software called the Scaling Up Scoreboard that keeps tabs on accountability and alignment. Scaling Up is different from EOS because it considers itself a ‘performance platform’ instead of an ‘operating system.’ We may be splitting hairs here, but in short, both offer leadership teams the opportunity to hone their skills and execute on vision.
How It Started: Andrew S. Grove started to outline the foundations of OKRs in his book High Output Management, and the idea was revitalized again in 2018 when John Doerr released his book Measure What Matters.
Quick Summary: OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. OKRs get to the heart of what a company wants to achieve by outlining quantitative targets, known to most as KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators. Typically, KPIs are designed around specific, measurable results, making OKRs the most open and flexible operating framework of the three we’ve mentioned today.
Advantages of OKRs: OKRs have been widely adopted because they are easy to incorporate into existing frameworks and processes, and give teams the tools for figuring out what’s working and what’s not in a clearly represented way.
Question: How did BWBacon choose the approach we are going with?
BWB Perspective: “In general, our leadership team knew that we weren’t breaking through our ceiling; we were ebbing and flowing and dependent on the market. We knew we wanted something more, and that as a team, we are capable of more. We needed a system to help us breakthrough and understand not only what it is that we want for our company, but provided tools and training to better define each step to get there. We are still in the very beginning stages and in the depth of redefining vision, role clarity for all and proper goal definition, which any company does when adopting EOS.”
Although it’s never easy, businesses that adopt an operating system have an easier time coming up with solutions to their problems and new ideas to serve their customers. When there’s role clarity and clarity of vision, everyone on your team can move forward with cohesive strategy and a culture that promotes itself.
From an emotional, social, and practical point of view, the why of work, the essence of a company’s purpose, is what ultimately defines it success. Said otherwise, purpose and culture not only help attract people to your company, but help them stay there and elevate the organization as a whole. Research from McKinsey found that of those surveyed, people who said they are “living their purpose” at work were four times more likely to feel “highly engaged” than those who say they aren’t.
Particularly with the challenges we’ve all faced over the last two years, a strong purpose inspires achievement, fosters commitment, and helps people navigate ongoing uncertainty. It may sound pie in the sky, but when you believe in your company’s purpose and live out those values, it connects employees like glue and informs business choices moving forward.
Question: Have there been any roadblocks or pain points of this process?
BWB Perspective: “One of the toughest things is breaking old habits and allowing ourselves to trust in a new process. It’s pushed us all to be very open and honest in discussions, and make space for everyone’s ideas to be heard. Giving ourselves room to grow has also been important, in terms of forgiving ourselves when progress isn’t as speedy or straightforward; we aren’t supposed to be perfect in our approaches right off the bat. It’s a learning process for everyone.” (-Kelsey Fagan, Director of Operations)
If redefining company vision is the destination and purpose is the ‘why,’ the ideas driving that mission forward are the ‘how,’ and that is really the purpose of integrating a business system into your daily work. Chasing possibility means dreaming big, imaging success and writing out what it looks like in five years or ten years. We recommend leaning on passion and teamwork to guide you through the next phases of growth and acceleration, whatever it may look like to your organization.
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