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Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business Paperback – April 3, 2012
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Dan Moshe, founder and CEO of Tech Guru, for The Business Journals’ The most important business books ever written”
"Implementing [Traction’s] structured approach at Avondale has had a tremendous impact on our leadership's productivity and has improved operations throughout the organization."
Karl Stark and Bill Stewart, cofounders, Avondale
The concepts and tools that have been masterfully captured in the pages of this book have provided some of the magic that has helped us grow our business 300 percent over the last five years. Don’t miss it!”
Craig Erlich, CEO, pulse220
The concepts in this book have changed my life! I’m now able to let go of the day to day, knowing I have developed a team that can efficiently handle the details. We have consistently grown every year for the last four years in a very tough market, while the competition has struggled.”
Ronald A. Blank, President, The Franklin Companies
Having coached and trained over 13,000 entrepreneurs, I know the challenges they face. This book is a must for any business owner and their management team. Traction provides a powerful, practical, and simple system for running your business.”
Dan Sullivan, President and Founder, The Strategic Coach
With the Traction tools in place, we now have faster growth, increased profitability and great people that we enjoy working with. Our growth rate has averaged over 20 percent per year. These results put us in a position to sell our company to a public company for above-normal multiples and reacquire the company after just a year and a half.”
Rob Dube, President, Image One
The Traction principles have helped me build a solid leadership team, crystallize our plan, and create the discipline to take the organization to the next level.”
Sam Simon, President & CEO, Atlas Oil Company
Traction is far and away the most potent and useful approach I’ve ever seen for running a successful company. The content is bulletproof! You have to read this book.”
Vince Poscente, Bestselling author of The Age of Speed
The concepts in this book have revolutionized our enterprise. We are highly profitable, adroit, flexible, and have a results-oriented culture. Working with Gino’s tools has made a meaningful difference in who we are today.”
Albert M. Berriz, CEO, McKinley
The tools are sensible, effective, and a must for any organization, entrepreneur, or leader. I personally use them within my national real estate valuation company and this year we grew 150 percent, after being in business for more than 14 years.”
Darton Case, President, The Entrepreneurs’ Organization
The concepts in Traction saved our company from mediocrity and propelled us to excellence. They have provided us with the tools to deal with any situation that might arise and better yet, to head off some situations at the pass. We now have all the right people in the right seats doing the right jobs.
Rob Tamblyn, President, The Benefits Company
By applying the Traction disciplines we have been able to grow revenue by 50 percent over the last three years and profit exponentially more.”
Robert Schechter, C.L.U., Ch.F.C., Chairman, Schechter Wealth Strategies
Traction is a must-read. What you will learn are the same tools that have enabled me to grow my business 100 percent over the last three years while staying balanced and having fun. This book will change your life.”
Bernie Ronnisch, President, Ronnisch Construction Group
About the Author
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The book has three implicit parts. The first two chapters are introduction chapter which introduces the idea of the Entrepreneurial Operating System which if the management framework which the author promotes and you can install in your organization. The EOS consists of six components and the next 6 chapters are each dedicated to the components. The components are: (1) vision, (2) people, (3) data, (4) issues, (5) process, and (6) traction. Each of these chapters introduces the idea of the component and provides a couple of tools that you can use with the tool. For example, one of the tools in the data component is "everybody has a number" which guides that every employee in the organization has a single number for measuring their work.
The last two chapters are the 'action' chapters which brings it all together and suggests how to adopt the EOS to your organization. The order is adoption isn't component by component by there are specific tools that the author recommend to use. E.g. ensuring you have the right people ought to be done very early on.
I found some of the advise questionable and counter to my own experiences. For example, the tool of having everyone in the organization have one measurable number for guiding their work is probably going to lead to significant local optimization with people trying to make their number. Similarly the focus on documenting *the* process in the organization and then just execute that feels like quite old-fashioned management suggestions.
The book was not all bad. There were some good parts and tools in the book. Yet, overall I wouldn't recommend the book and not likely to re-read it. If you want to know about small companies, better pick up books like "lean startup" and leave traction in the store. 2 stars.
Top international reviews
As a business coach with my own ideas on business growth , it is hard to read a book like this objectively. Inevitably there are plenty of things that broadly match my opinions but there are also things that I don't like or make me feel uneasy.
The process starts with the vision but here, vision is used to describe strategy rather than a narrow vision a snapshot of the future desired state). This section whizzes through thoughts about strategy and marketing strategy with next to no mention of customers and what they want or competitors and the competitive environment. This is NOT a marketing and sales playbook.
What I do like is that it is very much based in backward planning. You (or preferably your management team) decide what you want in the long term. With that in mind, you set increasingly short term objectives. E.g. from 10 years to 3 years to 1 year to the next three months. This makes sure that what you're doing now is consistent with what you want for the future.
I thought the People chapter about getting the right people in the right positions was excellent and I'm definitely bringing these into my best practices.
The chapter on Numbers (key performance indicators ) is relatively simple. It recommends a top level dashboard to keep on top of the entire business as well as assigning everyone a number. It is also very focused on leading indicators that predict future performance rather than lagging indicators. I have a few concerns about local optimisation causing sub-optimisation for the entire business if people are judged on one personal measure.
The next chapter is about identifying and solving Issues. It's based on establishing an open and honest culture where problems are acknowledged rather than hidden away or disguised. The emphasis is on solving these problems. The emphasis is on digging down to the root cause rather than solving the surface symptom but the book lacks a process to do so. This can be a complex area.
Many businesses waste a great deal of time with firefighting I. e. making short term fixes to long term problems. This stores up problems and over the months and years wastes much more time and causes a great deal of frustration . I love the way the book emphasises finding proper solutions, even if uncomfortable for some. It requires a commitment to the greater good of the business.
Next is the deep-dive into your processes. This may not feel exciting but it is vital if your business is going to run smoothly while you drive it forward. Well designed and documented processes mean the business can function without your day-to-day supervision and make the business easier to sell for a good price.
The sixth and final element of the process is called Traction and this brings the longer term objectives down to quarterly improvement goals (called rocks) together with quarterly and weekly meetings. This may sound like a lot of meetings but this is how you get things done. From my own experience, I've always liked weekly meetings to maintain focus and keep the momentum driving forward.
I like the system a lot. I can't say it's groundbreaking but it does bring together best practices (or at least good practices) into a simple system. When I explained it to a client, I said it was like a jigsaw puzzle and you had all the pieces laid out to form the complete picture.
It doesn't get off to the best start with the Vision/Strategy section. Since everything else is designed to implement these objectives, the book has to start here but, if this is where your biggest issues are, then you need to read another book first. Where this book excels is implementing the developed strategy.
You implement strategy through your people and organisation structure , through your performance reporting, through your systems and processes and through your management system. This is the true focus of the book and it is excellent.
Who should read this book?
I think it's main benefits will be felt in businesses big enough to have three or more tiers - that the owner(s), some managers or supervisors and staff.
When there are just the two levels, you won't have anyone who doesn't have the benefit of direct contact with the owner. At that stage it isn't a problem to maintain consistent focus, direction and values provided the owner is capable. Beyond that things get more complicated.
This book is very highly recommended. Just adapt the system to to suit your size and business.
Paul Simister is a business coach who helps business owners who are stuck, get unstuck.
100% doesnt understand marketing. Confuses marketing with business development - read Koetlers Marketing 4.0 to get a better idea of a modern marketing function.
The simple strategies they use to prioritise and focus what your business does best and then organise your business so you have the "right people in the right seats", as they say, is worth multiples of your business turnover.
If you're an entrepreneur or business owner, you're leaving money on the table if you're not using their strategies.
10 stars in my view!