When I first talk to organizations about EOS, they tend to bring up a wide variety of organizational issues. High turnover rates. Dissatisfied employees. New hires who don’t align with company values. Miscommunication between the leadership team and employees.
Time and time again, these issues prevail. Yet, when it comes time to actually decide whether to implement EOS, there’s sometimes a hesitation. There are many reasons leaders give for why they don’t want to implement EOS in their organization:
- “I’m too busy.”
- “We operate just fine as we are, and we’ve always done it this way.”
- “I don’t think we’ll really see a benefit from it.”
- “It’d be too hard for our whole team to change.”
These are excuses I hear often, and it’s that last excuse that I want to talk about today.
I had the chance to sit down with Brendan Bolhuis, the vice president of Beacon Recycling. As a far-reaching company with long hours and complex systems in place, both Brendan and his team were skeptical of if EOS was really the right solution for their business. Several times Brendan told me, “I don’t think it’s possible for us to successfully implement [this EOS tool].”
After several years of working together, Brendan’s team graduated from my program and achieved EOS mastery in 2023. The “impossible” absolutely became possible for them, and it could for you, too. Check out this video of Brendan talking about his experience implementing EOS at Beacon Recycling.
Scott Patchin (SP): Hey EOS friends! I’m really excited about today, and I think Brendan and I have been talking—I mentioned this to you over a year ago.
Brendan Bolhuis (BB): Yep. Yep.
SP: So I’m either slow, or I had a bunch of other things I had to do. But, excited about today. And the reason why is, the biggest barrier in cascading EOS I often see— if any of you have watched Mike Rowe in Dirty Jobs, there are some jobs out there that are just, they’re hard. And a lot of people, when they start doing EOS think, well they’re too busy, or they won’t get any benefit out of EOS. And Beacon [Recycling] proved y’all wrong. And that’s why we’re here today.
SP: So, I’m excited to talk to you today, Brendan.
SP: Just, high-level, what does Beacon do?
BB: Beacon is a industrial metal recycling company, smaller compared to what our competition is, but we service all of west and northwest Michigan for metal recycling, industrial plant, and also the general public.
SP: Why did you do EOS?
BB: A couple things. One, we kind of plateaued. But we recognized that, organizationally, we needed more structure. You know, who’s overseeing what? That was a big problem of ours. Also, just the way we communicated as a company, our meetings that we were holding were not very effective.
You know, what I think it’s helped us most with is company culture. The culture was always there, but identifying it, and managing to it, and doing reviews based on it, and making decisions—we always made decisions based on it, but it wasn’t conscious. And I remember one of the first sessions we had with you is, “If you have a people problem, EOS is going to put a spotlight on it.”
I didn’t really understand what you meant by that, but very soon—I wanna say, maybe by the second quarterly—it became super obvious. All of a sudden this name would pop up, and I was like, “Wait, didn’t we talk about that at the last quarterly?” and they’re like, “Yeah, we did.” And we’re like, “Well, why are we talking about it again in this quarterly?” And we had that discussion about somebody, and we’ve corrected the problems. It’s just—the speed of it is great.
[Pop-up: Is 100% Right Person/Right Seat even possible?]
SP: It was probably a three-year process.
BB: Oh, yeah.
SP: I mean, not to take anything away from your effort, but it’s not easy.
BB: Oh, well, I mean, I would say at least the first year, it was never a real goal ‘cause I didn’t think it was possible. And I don’t say “me,” the whole leadership team. And now we have a much more proactive, positive way of dealing with—you know, it might be an attitude, a core value, and just addressing it right away. It’s surprising, a lot of people that we think, “Oh, this is never gonna work,” but they turn it around. And they, you know, if they have that clarity and they understand what you need and you address it, you figure out really quickly that they can make that change or they can’t.
[Pop-up: 100% Right Person/Right Seat is possible if you believe it is]
SP: If you were gonna say one thing to another leader having a similar situation to you, what would you tell them?
BB: Just, believing that it can happen. ‘Cause once we believed it could happen, it actually happened pretty quickly.