Keeping the “Engagement” in EOS: The Not-so-hidden “Why”

by May 24, 2023Entrepreneurial Operating System, EOS, Insights

We stress the line that EOS “is just a set of simple, real world practical tools, timeless concepts that have been around for 100 years – going to be around for 1000 more.” If you are part of the 20,000+ companies that have worked with an implementer you have heard these words at least once.

There is a problem I see with all companies running on EOS: at some point we start seeing EOS as a system to be followed (what we call “compliance thinking”), not as a the most effective way to run an entrepreneurial business so that the business, people, and culture thrives!

The big “why” behind EOS is to “harness and focus the human energy in your organization to build a great and enduring business.” The proven habits, tools, and structure of EOS is simply what we need to do to get there.

Engagement Operating System

In a recent quarterly, a client was reviewing their employee engagement results and all the actions necessary to address issues the survey surfaced. As I listened, it was clear the team had forgotten the reason they implemented EOS in the first place.

I went to the board and wrote:

EOS = Entrepreneurial Operating System

I then crossed out “Entrepreneurial” and replaced it with “Engagement.” I reminded them that they implemented EOS to increase the utilization and focus of human energy in their business. And — as many have experienced — more human energy equals more engagement.

With this simple exercise, we shifted the focus of the resulting IDS session to how they could use EOS tools more effectively to address some of the issues that surfaced.

EOS Tools’ Map to Employee Engagement

One of most popular employee engagement tools on the planet is the Q12 created by Gallup.
The first three questions on the survey are critical to measuring employee engagement. Here’s
how they correlate to EOS:

Question 1: I know what is expected of me at work.

The corresponding EOS Tools that, if used effectively, will make this true for all your people:

  • Accountability Chart
  • Rocks
  • Core Values
  • Scorecard / Measurables

Question 2: I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work.

The corresponding EOS Tools that, if used effectively, will make this true for all your people:

  • L10
  • 5-5-5
  • Issues List / IDS
  • For LMA – How to Be a Great Boss/Leadership & Management Checklist

Question 3: At work I have the opportunity to do what I do best everyday.

The corresponding EOS Tools that, if used effectively, will make this true for all your people:

  • Accountability Chart/GWC
  • Delegate & Elevate
  • Rocks
  • L10
  • 5-5-5
  • Kolbe

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche

As leadership teams that chose to go on the EOS Journey, remember why you started down this path. Repeat it often to yourself and to other. When the “why” is clear, the human energy that will emerge will make the “what” have so much more impact. And never forget:

More Human Energy = More Engagement

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