Using EOS® Components in Your Strategic Planning Framework

A hand places the last piece into a puzzleIt’s a simple law of physics: a body at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted on by an outside force. I find the same thing to be true with businesses: a business using a specific tool or framework tends to keep using that specific tool or framework, even if it’s not getting them the results they want—unless something forces them to change.

Consider this your push.

Strategic Planning with EOS

Although I do not provide training on EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System® ) it is a framework I respect. I’ve come to appreciate the “operating” part of EOS, in that it provides a great framework for helping small to mid-sized company leaders effectively run their businesses.

I often encounter business owners who are interested in strategic planning, but when the subject turns to StratOp, the tool I use to facilitate strategic planning, they’ll balk at the idea of yet another business framework. “We’re already doing EOS!” they’ll say. “You want us to change everything to try something else?”

To that I say, “There’s no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. In my opinion, EOS and StratOp are not fundamentally at odds with one another. In fact, they can often complement one another, implementing plans faster with known and trusted processes.” 

If you’re interested in strategic planning but are skeptical about learning a new system, let me show you just how StratOp can help enhance the improvements that EOS has already brought to your business.

EOS vs. StratOp: What’s the Difference?

Both EOS and StratOp are methods of improving business functions. However, there is a clear difference between the two: EOS has a major focus on day-to-day operations, while StratOp helps businesses combine operations (managing today’s business) with strategy (working on tomorrow’s business). 

The Importance of Strategic Planning

EOS provides a guideline geared towards improving and optimizing day-to-day processes. This can be beneficial in the short term, as it brings team members together weekly to reassess issues and revamp procedures.

If you want to grow your company, improve productivity, and reach your full potential as a business owner, long-term strategic planning is essential—no way around it.  

For long term growth and improved productivity, long-term strategic planning is essential. The best plans start with a significant gathering of perspective. Perspective answers the question “Where do we currently stand?” Gaining proper perspective provides clarity on where your company is and creates a solid footing before deciphering what steps need to be taken to reach the summit. 

This is one of the unique features of StratOp: a methodology for gaining perspective. Combined with EOS operational practices, your organization can have a future-focused, comprehensive, big picture view, that still keeps an eye on the day-to-day. 

Using EOS Components During Strategic Planning

Creating a Core Plan

Phase 2 of StratOp is all about creating a core plan, allowing your team to fully understand where you are headed in your business endeavors. This step shares similarities to the Vision component of EOS. A shared vision allows colleagues to be on the same page about their goals, which is crucial to building a core plan. 

The core plan step in StratOp involves discussing strategic, operational, and financial assumptions. You can use tools that EOS values, like measurable data, to develop your vision for revenue, marketing, your product offerings, profitability, how you’ll engage in the community, how many employees you want to bring on, and the number of locations you want to create.

Determining the Right Structure

Phase 4 of strategic planning is all about determining the right structure: what form best facilitates the core plan. In other words, do we have the right processes, people, and systems in place to execute the plan? 

For this phase, I find tremendous value in using elements from EOS, such as:

  • A marketing strategy: Companies’ marketing strategies (if they have one) don’t always fully align with their business intentions. The EOS tools can ensure all marketing efforts are not simply randomized acts, but rather time well spent sending out the correct, most concise message to the market.
  • People reviews: The People component of EOS heavily values ensuring that the right people are in the right seats, and that those people are reviewed regularly. This optimizes potential by ensuring everyone is progressing at a steady pace and achieving their goals, and if they aren’t, regular reviews open up a space to chat and get back on track. 
  • Company scorecard: The Data component of EOS illustrates the importance of developing easily trackable metrics. These work to ensure everyone is pulling their weight at a steady pace, and also is a simple way to spot missteps.
  • Core processes: The Process component of EOS aids businesses in understanding what they are and how they operate. 
  • Meeting pulse: An accurate meeting pulse—or in other words, ensuring everything is running smoothly and employee frustrations are low—is important to both EOS and StratOp implementors. I use Pat Lencioni’s Death by Meeting framework, but EOS fans conduct level 10 (L10) meetings to address and tackle large weekly priorities.
  • Company budget: Clear data sets and tackling issues through Traction, the last component of EOS, can make determining the business’ budget simple.

Setting Quarterly Goals

Quarterly goals are vital in keeping a company’s tasks prioritized, ensuring the whole team stays on track and is held accountable throughout the period. With StratOp, the team meets quarterly, and people walk away with Action Initiatives, which are “working on the business” projects that move the organization along towards the vision. These Action Initiatives can typically be accomplished within 90 days. These would be similar to “Rocks” in EOS.

When to Use EOS vs. StratOp

Still wondering when to utilize EOS, StratOp, or a bit of both? Here’s a simple breakdown.

  • Annual business planning: Use StratOp. This style of strategic planning seeks to improve companies via a comprehensive process, all the way from gaining perspective, to setting a vision, to setting strategy and implementing the plan. Quarterly reviews ensure initiatives are completed on time, and an annual plan renewal helps the team to see what’s been working, what hasn’t, and where to go next. This process moves the business forward even though the future is ever-evolving.
  •  Weekly meetings: Use EOS. EOS users find regularly engaging in discussions on how to improve operations to be beneficial. 
  • Quarterly conversations: Either can be used. StratOp quarterly reviews and EOS quarterly Rock reviews result in a better understanding of what tasks were accomplished and what plan of action to adopt going forward. 
  • People issues: Use EOS. The Accountability Chart and GWC™ tools in EOS are outstanding. 
  • Process issues: Use both. The Structure phase in StratOp and the Process component of EOS illustrate the importance of having a solid process that functions in a way that maximizes goal-reaching. 
  • Vision issues: Use StratOp. A key factor in the strategic planning process is fully understanding your company’s vision—this is extremely important to have a firm grasp on prior to creating any sort of goals or an actionable plan. If your business is attempting to optimize daily operations without a clear vision in place, or understanding of where you want to be in the future, you’re not using the EOS model effectively enough. 

What Do EOS and StratOp Have in Common?

Both frameworks:

  • Clarify vision
  • Identify core values
  • Have a regular meeting pulse (StratOp quarterly and annually, EOS weekly, quarterly, and annually)
  • Set quarterly goals
  • Rely on data to drive decision-making and planning

How StratOp Can Take Your Business to the Next Level

For organizations that already use EOS to run their business, StratOp can help them get even greater clarity and efficiency in their processes by examining from a high-level view how the future of their organization will be affected by what steps are currently being taken. 

If you don’t feel like your organization is growing, even if you’re trying to improve the daily functions of your team, you could definitely benefit from StratOp. 

Businesses can benefit from the StratOp process as it values:

  • Perspective before planning: A thoughtful plan of action can only be born from a thorough understanding of where you are now. Before spending time on planning how to improve your business, use StratOp to understand why you’re doing those things—it will result in a stronger, long-term business model.
  • Horizontal problem solving: StratOp encourages all departments to work together, offering unique perspectives and therefore previously unthought-of solutions. 
  • Honesty: Just as there’s no crying in baseball, there’s no time for beating around the bush in business. StratOp conversations open the door for transparent discussions, reflections, and accountability—it is the only way to truly change practices that are less than ideal. 

Streamline Your Business Operations with StratOp

Being a certified StratOp facilitator, I am happy to help your business plan for the bright future ahead. If your company is currently utilizing EOS, I would love to chat about how you can adapt your existing processes to do more strategic planning.

Schedule a call today to learn more about how to improve your business model.