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Applying Traction to small consulting business
on July 6, 2010
I read Traction in April 2010 and started applying it to my consulting business. We are an information technology consulting firm, with 10 consultants (including me) working on around 5 projects at any given time. Applying the EOS has brought about a big change in the way I approach my business. Our situation is typical of other consulting firms: 99% of the energy in the firm is spent on serving our clients, so not much attention is paid to "working on the business."
Rather than write a review of the book, I think some readers might benefit from seeing the practical application of the EOS model described in the book:
I did the Organizational Checkup candidly and scored 53%. Here's the status of the other areas:
1. Vision: Complete. Has been reviewed and updated with the input of the team. The V/TO is a very useful tool.
2. People: In progress. The Get It / Want It / Capacity assessment has been completed (with the team). The right person/right seat is a challenge because currently one person is occupying most of the seats. The book has given us the framework for right person/right seat and we are determining how to apply it without asking our team to overcommit themselves.
3. Data: We've created our initial scorecard, and we jointly reviewed it in May and June. The next monthly review is in mid-July, and we will be adding more metrics. More info here on my blog post: [...]
4. Issues: We had an external consultant spend time with us in June to observe our operations and provide us a candid assessment. As a result, we've got a list of issues and recommendations. The implementation of the major items is not yet certain. We have to face the choice between focusing on client work versus working on the business. Some of the issues won't be addressed until I remove myself substantially from client work and act like a CEO.
5. Processes: We were already fairly strong in the processes that affect our clients (project delivery, proposals, estimating, recruiting etc.). Some of our internal processes are being improved as a result of having worked on the scorecard.
6. Traction: We're not there yet (as of early July 2010). We need to make the tough choices (and accompanying investment in the roles) before we can have proper accountability, communication and teamwork for executing our plan and achieving our goals. Our focus remains on doing innovative things for our clients, and I believe that's the right thing to do. It will not be practical to hire a new CEO. So, I will be stepping away from billable roles, and "working on the business instead of in the business."
Overall, I highly recommend this book to any business owner who wants a frank assessment of what's going well and what can be done better. This book is like a mirror. In our case, it is motivational and will help provide a better experience for our team members and clients.