What is EOS?
The Entrepreneurial Operating System — a process that allows visionary owners to gain traction in their businesses. Many business owners have a great product, and are great at what they do, but are not necessarily business people at heart.
What got you hooked on EOS to the extent that you not only implemented it in your businesses, but became an implementer yourself?
I am a business guy by background and have always been fascinated by leadership and strategic methodologies. Things like Verne Harnish’s Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up to do strategic planning, SWOT Analysis and so on. Through peer groups like ConnectWise Evolve and Entrepreneurs Organization I got even deeper into these topics and came across the book Traction by EO Detroit’s chapter founder Gino Wickman.
What hooked me on EOS though is it’s got a more holistic approach than a lot of other approaches and it’s good for smaller companies. I love seeing organizations create clarity of roles, responsibilities, and what they need to do to be successful. As I saw how well it worked for me, I wanted to help replicate that success in other companies.
EOS has been a great way to clarify vision but also go from ideas to implementation. Why is it so popular for MSPs in particular?
The MSP industry is service-based, shifts a lot since tech shifts, sees lots of M&A, vendor changes, and commodification. As a result, we have to be quick in honing and rolling out strategy and executing on it to stay competitive. EOS brings some of the rigor that can be missing in MSPs—like really figuring out accountabilities, and keeping people in their lanes.
You mentioned all the acquisitions that are happening in the MSP space. How does EOS help when it comes to merging two cultures post-merger?
I’ve seen an example of where a company was more valuable to its acquirer because they were already on EOS, as was the acquirer. The common nomenclature and processes made it that much more valuable. To be able to qualify and bring objectivity to the age-old right people on the right bus and in the right seat makes life easier.
What are some of the challenges that some of the MSPs are facing in rolling out EOS?
a) The Decision: MPS managers are trying to figure out what system they want to implement and what they want to do, especially as different systems might be incompatible.
b) Implementation: just how to get going with it. Self-implementing doesn’t cost anything but often fails; using a pro can be cost-prohibitive but has a far higher chance of success.
c) Post-Implementation: challenges arise based on the specific challenges of the company. Forces issues that they have spent years putting their head in the sand over so feathers get ruffled, especially when HR changes are involved.
You spoke about peer groups like ConnectWise Evolve. I would imagine this topic gets lots of air time now in those groups. What are they saying, and are companies in these groups benchmarking within?
The cadence of EOS aligns very well with peer groups like ConnectWise Evolve, especially on the quarterly meeting basis. So a lot of companies will have their EOS quarterly meeting just before the ConnectWise Evolve quarterly meeting and that really ensures they are using their time with their peers as effectively as possible.
What advice will you have for an MSP to get started?
Buy Traction or Get a Grip if you want something more story-based. After reading that, decide if it’s for you and your team. Then, if you decide to move forward, the big question is whether you self-implement or use an implementer. There are some ex-MSP owners who are EOS implementers like me or Ryan Giles who are good resources to talk to about this. Tools like ninety.io are helpful for keeping organized too.
Want more? Check out BrightGauge’s interview with Ryan Giles on EOS for MSPs.