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Traction EOS - Book summary

The Entrepreneurial Operating System®, or EOS®, is a set of comprehensive processes and tools to help leadership teams overcome key business challenges, gain control of the business, operate efficiently, gain traction and move ahead as a healthy, effective and cohesive team. In Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, Gino Wickman walks you through the 6 key components of the EOS®. In this free Traction summary, we’ll briefly outline these 6 components and their foundations.

Overview of the Entrepreneurial Operating System®

The 5 Key Business Challenges

The EOS® is ideal for small to mid sized companies with $2-$50 million revenues and 10-250 employees. It addresses 5 biggest frustrations that any entrepreneurial leadership team will face:

• Lack of control: Your business is running your life rather than the other way round.

• Lack of alignment between your people—be it customers, vendors, partners, or employees—and your vision and goals.

• Not enough profits.

• Hitting a growth ceiling and don’t know how to move forward.

• Lack of sound strategies/tactics, i.e. nothing seems to work.

4 Mindset Shifts and 6 Business Fundamentals

The EOS® integrates proven principles, frameworks and ideas from various sources—including The Emyth Revisited, Scaling Up, The 4 Disciplines of Execution and Good to Great—into a complete system. It addresses 6 core fundamentals needed to build a scalable, successful business: Vision, People, Data, Issues, Process and Traction.

However, for the EOS® to work, you (the founder/owner) must be willing to embrace 4 mindset shifts:

• You can’t be the one deciding and doing everything. Build a real leadership team—hire people who’re better than you, give them control and responsibility of specific areas, and present a united front to the rest of the organization.

• Accept that organizations grow in spurts and you’ll inevitably hit ceilings at individual, departmental and organizational levels. To punch through and surge ahead, your team must be able to simplify, delegate (so you keep elevating yourselves and your business), predict issues (for both short and long term), systemize and develop the right structure for your next phase of growth.

• Run your business on 1 operating system so everyone’s on the same page.

Be open-minded: be honest and open about your vulnerabilities and be willing to adopt new ideas.

Traction Get a Grip on Your Business summary_Entrepreneurial Operating System-EOS

Ready? We’ll now give an overview of the 6 key components, with more specifics for the 1st component. More details, actionable insights and tips can be found in our full 14-page Traction summary. The tools and worksheets mentioned can be downloaded from

1. Vision: Develop & communicate a strong vision

Develop a compelling vision for your organization and help people to see it. When everyone’s aligned in the same direction, it creates a laser-sharp focus that propels you forward.


Use the Vision/Traction Organizer™ (V/TO™) to crystalize your vision on paper. Use these 8 questions to define where you’re headed and how you’ll get there, and distill them into simple points that can be clearly communicated.

(i) What are our core values?

These are 3-7 key, timeless guiding principles for your company. Such values already exist within your organization—your goal is to discover and present them clearly so they can guide all your decisions.

• Get every staff to list down 3 people (ideally in the organization) who personify the type of people your company needs to become the market leader.

• Post the names on a board, review them and list down the characteristics they epitomize. Debate the list and narrow down to the 3-7 core values.

• Let these values “sit” for 30 days before refining/finalizing them. Develop stories, analogies and illustrations to bring them to life, e.g. what does “commitment to excellence” or “never say die” mean in behavioral terms?

• Communicate the core values, incorporate them into your processes for hiring, firing and rewards, and keep them alive via everything you say and do.

(ii) What’s our core focus?

This is the unique blend of leadership, talents and passions that makes your company great in what you do. Jim Collins calls it your “hedgehog concept” or what you’re “genetically encoded” to do. Once you know your core focus (e.g. managing and owning real estate), stay laser-focused only on the people, products and practices that fit that core. In our complete Traction summary (get full summary here), we look at the 2 sub-questions to address to define your core.

What’s our 10-year goal?

Set a clear direction by articulating where your organization will be in 10 years. The leadership team must discuss and define a crystal-clear picture that can excite and unite everyone in the organization.

What’s our marketing strategy?

Define who your ideal customers are and how you’ll serve them well. In our complete Traction summary bundle, we further explain the 4 components you must examine, including (a) your 3 Uniques™, (b) your guarantee, (c) your proven process and (d) your target market.

What’s our 3-year vision?

Define clearly what your business will look like 3 years from now—this facilitates your 1-year planning and is near-term enough to be highly motivating. Get each member of your leadership team to write down their 3-year mental picture and read it out (while the others imagine it with their eyes closed). Debate and agree on the picture you’re committed to create, including revenue, profit and other measurables (e.g. # clients or volume of output).

What’s our 1-year plan?

Agree on the 3-7 top priorities to be achieved this year to achieve your 3-year vision. Ensure they’re specific, measureable and achievable. Less is more—it’s better to focus on just a few key goals. Set a budget to ensure you have the resources to achieve the plan.

What are our quarterly Rocks?

From your 1-year plan, work backward on your Rocks—your top priorities for the next quarter.

What are the issues?

These are the key barriers that could keep you from your goals. Over 15 mins, get your team to list down all the opportunities, threats and obstacles you’ll face.

Incorporate all the points from the 8 questions above into the V/TO™.


With your vision on paper, you can now communicate it to everyone in the organization.

• Use 3 events: (i) a company-wide kick-off meeting with Q&A, (ii) quarterly company-wide update sessions and (iii) quarterly departmental/team reviews.

Tips: Be prepared to repeat the vision many times before it truly sinks in. Welcome employees to share their views and concerns since it builds commitment to the goal. Your role is to share the vision and V/TO™ in a clear and compelling way; those who don’t buy in will eventually leave.

2. People: Have the right people in the right seats

This component involves 2 parts:  (i) identifying the right people for your organization and (ii) placing them in the ideal seats.


The right people are those who share your company’s core values and will thrive in your culture. In our complete 14-page summary, we explain how to use the People Analyzer™ to assess the fit for each staff.


Once you have the right people, you must place them in the right seats, i.e. the roles and responsibilities must match their Unique Ability® (strengths and passions). In our full Traction summary, we elaborate on how to (i) use the Accountability Chart to define the right structure for your organization, then (ii) use the GWC™ to place people in the right places, and (iii) implement your new Accountability Chart or organizational chart.

3. Data: Get the pulse on your business

Without hard data, you’ll be running your business on subjective opinion and impulses. Use a Scorecard to get weekly updates on your business, so you can have the pulse of your business, see real-time patterns and make sound decisions.

In our full summary, we cover how you can:
(i) Develop your Scorecard to capture the 5-15 key numbers for your business; and
(ii) Develop measureables for every role to drive ongoing improvement at all levels.

4. Issues: Build a solutions-oriented environment

Issues are the obstacles to your goals and vision. Most entrepreneurs are so overwhelmed with firefighting that they don’t make time to uncover the root problems. It’s also human nature to procrastinate on tough decisions. Create an open, solutions-oriented environment where issues are flagged out, assessed and managed at all levels.

In the complete Traction summary bundle, you can learn how to:
(i) Develop and manage your issues list, using 3 types of lists to surface problems; and
(ii) Resolve issues with IDS™—the 3-step Identify-Discuss-Solve process.

5. Process: Systemize your Way of doing business

An organization typically has 6-10 core processes that are linked together via a unique system—this is what Michael Gerber calls your “franchise prototype”. Define and document your unique Way of doing things, so it can be consistently applied and refined, giving you the option to duplicate, scale, maintain or sell your business.

Get our full Traction summary to zoom in further on how to:
(i) Document your core processes; and
(ii) Adopt the system organization-wide

6. Traction®: Bring the Vision to Life

To bring your vision to life, you need to execute your plans and sustain the momentum. Instill discipline and accountability with 2 key components: Rocks and Meeting Pulse™. Essentially, these are about breaking down long-term goals into bite-sized pieces and short 90-day bursts, then using a mix of weekly, quarterly, and annual meetings to drive progress and solve issues. More in our full summary!

Here’s a quick recap of the 6 key part of the Entrepreneurial Operating System® or the EOS®:
Traction Get a Grip on Your Business summary_EOS overview_6 business components

Getting the Most from Traction® by Gino Wickman

This is a must-read book for anyone who wants to grow your business.  If you’re ready to dive deeper into the step-by-step guide for each of the Traction EOS® components above, do get our complete book summary bundle which includes a 1-page infographic, a 14-page text summary, and a 28-min audio summary.Traction EOS summary - book summary bundle

In the book, Wickman also provides detailed examples, tips and illustrations on how to apply the various tools. You can purchase the book here,,  or check out more resources, tools and details at

About the Author of Traction®

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business was written by Gino Wickman—an entrepreneur, author and speaker. He’s the founder of EOS Worldwide which focuses on helping entrepreneurial leadership teams to achieve their business goals. Gino started his entrepreneurial journey at 21 with his family’s sales training business. He successfully turned the business around, sold it and assisted with the transition to the new team before creating the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)®.

Traction® Quotes

“The world is filled with many great visions. Unfortunately, most will go unrealized due to an inability to gain traction.”

“Decide what business you are in, and be in that business.”

“You are not your business. Your business is an entity in and of itself…to find success, you have to turn it into a self-sustaining organism.”

“When you experience personal growth, the company will grow under you.”

“Entrepreneurs must get their vision out of their heads and down onto paper.”

“Find your core focus, stick to it, and devote your time and resources to excelling at it.”

“The most common mistake that most organizations make (is) trying to be all things to all people. It’s a game you will not win.”

“People need to hear the vision seven times before they really hear it for the first time.”

“When more than one person is accountable, nobody is.”

“Problems are like mushrooms: When it’s dark and rainy, they multiply. Under bright light, they diminish.”

“Your ability to succeed is in direct proportion to your ability to solve your problems.”

Click here to download the Traction book summary & infographic

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