Business Approach

How Strong Are Your Company’s Functions?

To drive accountability when implementing EOS, we utilize an “Accountability Chart”. The Accountability Chart is based on the fundamental belief that every company – regardless of industry or size – has only three major functions:

Every organization has a Marketing and Sales function where they go out into the market and create demand, then convert that demand into revenue. Every organization has an Operations function where they manufacture a product, deliver a service or both, and every organization has a Finance function where they track the inflow and outflow of financial resources, deal with financial controls, and manage financial assets.

If you’re going to build a high-performing company, then all three functions must be strong. Let me prove my point:

– What happens in a company where the Marketing and Sales function is strong, the Operations function is strong, but the Finance function is weak? The company mismanages its financial resources and either runs out of money, is sold, goes out of business, or never really achieves any meaningful level of success.

– What happens in a company where the Marketing and Sales function is strong, the Operations function is weak, but the Finance function is strong? Customers leave because the company can’t deliver on its quality and timing promises and the company underperforms or fails.

– What happens in a company where the Marketing and Sales function is weak, the Operations function is strong, and the Finance function is strong? The company goes out of business because of weak sales or is possibly sold.

I’ve simplified this example to make a point: every one of your functions must be strong if you’re going to get anywhere close to achieving your company’s full potential. In reality, sometimes Marketing and Sales splits into two distinct functions. Sometimes, Operations splits into 2, 3, or 4 separate functions. Sometimes Finance splits into IT and/or HR.

The rule of thumb at the leadership team level is that a company has 3 to 7 functions that make the business run, and every function must be strong.

If you have weaknesses in any functions in your business, click here to schedule a time to talk!


There are two situations that I have witnessed in a high percentage of the over 200 companies I’ve had as clients in my 30-plus years of being a business growth coach:

  • The 1st is the propensity for the leadership team to overcomplicate their business. Because the leadership teams spend nearly all of their time working in the business, as opposed to working on the business, they fail to recognize the complexity that’s grown in their business. Organizational complexity creates many issues that impact customer service, business growth, and profitability.
  • The 2nd situation I’ve witnessed repeatedly is that seldom is a leadership team 100% on the same page with where the company is going, and how they plan to get there. Consider, that if the leadership team has differing visions about the future of the company, how are employees supposed to understand the vision, internalize the plan, and truly want to be a part of it?

What I’m going to lay out are the essential Eight Questions that every leadership team needs to answer to crystalize the vision for the future of their organization. We keep these Eight Questions on a simple, two-page document called a Vision/Traction Organizer, or “V/TO” (Download V/TO). We call this an “entrepreneurial approach” to strategic planning because the end product is a two-page document. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the eight questions:

Q1. What Are Your Core Values?

Core Values are just a set of guiding characteristics that define who you are at your core and what you want from the culture of your organization. We take our clients through a discovery exercise to help them discover their true core values, then we show them how to use their core values to attract great employees who fit their culture like a glove, and how to use their core values to repel employees who aren’t a great fit for their organization.

Q2. What Is Your Core Focus?

Your Core Focus is the sweet spot of your organization. It has been called a million things throughout the history of business. Stephen Covey calls it “The Voice”. Jim Collins calls it the “Hedgehog Concept”. Companies tend to lose focus from a product or customer standpoint and try to be all things to all customers. Many leadership teams suffer from the proverbial “shiny-object syndrome” as they try to grow the business by pursuing new and often diverse opportunities. Once your Core Focus is clearly defined and articulated, the trick is to stay laser-focused within your core focus so that you’re always working within your sweet spot.

Q3. What Is Your 10-Year Target?

This is just a long-range, big business goal. The time frame is flexible, anywhere from 5 to 30 years. It’s a clearly articulated, simple number one business goal that gets every employee on the same page with where you’re going long term.

Q4. What’s Your Marketing Strategy?

Your Marketing Strategy is simply designed to get the leadership team 100% on the same page with who you should talk to, and what you should say, to get the biggest ROI on your investment in precious sales and marketing energy. There are four parts to the Marketing Strategy:

  • Target Market
  • Three Uniques
  • Proven Process
  • Guarantee

The Target Market is about getting your leadership team to all agree on the demographic, geographic, and psychographic profile of the types of companies or people you should be laser-focused on proactively selling to.

Three Uniques are just the three differentiating characteristics that make you better or different than your competitors.

Proven Process is a one-page visualization of the way you take care of your customers from the minute they start thinking about doing business with you, to the time they are longtime satisfied business partners.

Guarantee is simply a pledge of a promise that reduces the fear of adoption and helps to eliminate objections normally encountered in the sales process.

Q5. What’s Your Three-Year Picture?

We then crystalize the Vision for the organization and bring it down to the ground by making it real with your three-year picture.

What we are trying to do is get every member of the leadership team to crystalize and visualize exactly what your company needs to look like in three short years. We start by defining your revenue, profit, and measurables, in terms of what the company needs to look like on the way to achieving your ten-year target.

Then we’ll identify 5 to 15 additional bullets that paint a clear picture of what the organization needs to look like three short years from now.

Developing your Three-Year Picture does two powerful things:

1st, if every member of the leadership team can see the same three-year picture in their minds eye. The probability that the company will achieve its three-year goals goes up significantly and,

2nd, it sets up for creating a highly focused One-Year Plan.

Q6. What’s Your One-Year Plan?

We use the same predictions, revenue, profit, and measurables for your One-Year Plan, as we did on your Three-Year Picture. Then we set 3 to 7 clear, aligned goals, not 23, because when everything is important, nothing is important. One of the phrases we use frequently when implementing EOS is, “Less is More.”

Q7. What Are Your Quarterly Rocks?

“Rocks” are just 90-day business priorities that get every employee on the same page with what’s most important over the next 90 days, creating what we call a “90-Day World” for the organization.

We start by predicting revenue, profit, and measurables for the quarter. Then we identify 3 to 7 priorities for the company over the next 90 days and 3 to 7 priorities for each member of the leadership team truly crystalizing their priorities and the priorities of those reporting to them.

Introducing Rocks into a company creates a new level of discipline, focus, and accountability so that every employee is executing the company’s Vision every 90 days.

Q8. What Is Your Issues List?

Every organization has plenty of issues at every level in the company. The trick is to get all the issues that exist in your company onto an Issues List somewhere in the organization so that they can be solved once and for all.

Once you’ve answered all eight questions, you’re all on the same page. It’s a simplified, approach to strategic planning that culminates in a two-page plan that is much easier to implement.

A Final Comment

Regardless of whether your company has 20, 200, or 2,000 employees, ultimately your vision and plan must be communicated to your employees by delivering a Quarterly State of the Company Address. How else are your employees going to see the same vision? How else are they going to understand your plan, internalize it, and want to be a part of it?

Ultimately, you then get to the point where everyone in your company is rowing in one direction, trying to help you achieve the same Vision and Plan that you all share.

To the extent you do this well, the planets line up in the universe in ways you can’t even explain, and magic happens!


You probably can relate-so often I hear CEOs, Presidents, and Entrepreneurs say:

“As an organization, I’m not sure we’re focused on the right things.”

“We seem to be working on too many initiatives, which adversely impacts our productivity and causes needless stress on our executive team.”

“Everything seems like a fire drill here. Our employees are always behind the 8-ball stressing to get things done on time.”

“Our business seems to have grown overly complicated and our service delivery and quality can be inconsistent.”

These comments, and others similar, indicate that starting from the leadership team to the front-line staff there is a lack of clarity as to the real priorities of the organization.

Annually, companies create business plans with lists of initiatives that they hope will enhance business performance. Often the list can number ten, fifteen, or even over two dozen initiatives that the company leaders hope to complete that year.

Seldom taken into consideration during the planning process is the organization’s capacity to execute all those initiatives. Equally not taken into consideration is the prioritization of all those initiatives. All initiatives aren’t created equal in their impact on the organization. More initiatives don’t necessarily translate into more progress and better results. Sometimes the opposite is true.

One of the key points I work hard to reinforce with leadership teams is the idea that “less is more.” Every company has limited financial resources and employees have a limited amount of time. Especially time outside their primary role to work on special projects. Why wouldn’t you focus those precious resources on the most pressing and/or promising initiatives?

The Introduction of Rocks

When helping clients master the EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) tools and disciplines, one of the first priorities we tackle in their first session day called a “Focus Day”, is to help them set “Rocks”. Rocks are simply 90-day business priorities designed to get everyone in the company 100% on the same page with what is most important over the next 90 days. This creates what we call a 90-Day World for the organization.

We start by predicting the revenue, profit, and measurables in terms of what the company needs to achieve in the next quarter to achieve its 1-Year Plan and 3-Year Picture.

We then identify three to seven priorities for the company over the next 90 days and three to seven priorities for each member of the leadership team.

We then migrate this tool and discipline down into the organization, so every employee has one to three Rocks that crystallize their real priorities.

Employee Rocks roll up to leadership team Rocks, thus ensuring that every employee in the organization is rowing in the same direction with absolute clarity about their real priorities.

Creating a 90-Day World in Your Company

Rocks create a new level of discipline, focus, and accountability in a company. Every 90 days, after running hard for a quarter, the leadership team comes up for air and looks back on the past quarter to see how they did. They re-check their vision to make sure they’re on the same page because sometimes they’re not.

Once the leadership team is on the same page, we then set priorities for the next quarter, and the team goes back into the business to execute with discipline and accountability for another 90 days with crystal clear priorities.

A Simple, Effective Solution

Since the pandemic, the pace and complexity of business have grown exponentially. Employees at every level ─ leaders included ─ struggle daily to be productive amidst a continual barrage of business problems, operational challenges, and customer needs. Being busy is vastly different from being productive. Introducing Rocks in your company will bring a level of order to chaos, and clarity to confusion, which I guarantee will be a welcome change at every level in your company.

If you’d like to know more about setting Rocks in your company, email me at, or schedule an appointment with me here.

Sales Culture Tune-Up

The changes brought on by the pandemic and migration to digital channels has truly made sales and selling even more challenging. Sales teams cannot afford to be complacent as the country reopens and we collectively continue to adapt to our current circumstances.

This week we’re doing to dive even deeper by looking at the importance of having a clear marketing strategy and several considerations when considering how to best deploy sales training and sales coaching in your organization.

A Clear Marketing Strategy and Plan:

Have the leaders of your organization agreed on who your sales teams should be talking to and what they should be saying to get the biggest return on your investment in precious sales and marketing energy?

Does your sales team take more of a “shotgun” approach to the market or are they laser-focused on your target market?

All too often, the marketing and sales functions operate as separate entities never quite getting on the same page. There needs to be a clear marketing strategy and plan which includes four key components:

Target Market:

  • Is there clarity about the characteristics of your ideal prospect?
  • Does your sales team understand the demographic, geographic, and psychographic profile of the kinds of people and companies they should be laser-focused on selling to? If not, you’re wasting precious resources.

Three Unique’s:

  • What are the three differentiating characteristics that make your organization different or better than your competitors? Nearly every company touts their customer service, so you are going to have to come up with something more creative than that to set yourself apart.

Proven Process:

  • Does your sales team have a 1-page visual illustration of the way you take care of your customers, from the minute they become customers to the time they become long-term satisfied business partners? This is a powerful tool that “paints a picture” of what the customer can expect doing business with your company. It also will differentiate you from your competitors while making prospects feel more comfortable becoming customers.


  • Does your company offer a pledge or promise that reduces the fear of adoption? A guarantee eliminates objections encountered in the marketing and sales process.

There is a good chance that your marketing and sales functions are not working in unison and the above should give you some things to consider making them more aligned.

Sales Training and Sales Coaching:  Like sales cultures, sales training and coaching comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. If your sales team is like many, you have a gamut of experience from veterans with more than 25 years experience, seasoned personnel with 10 to 15 years experience and newer sales folks with less than seven years experience.

Below are a few considerations to help you make the best choice when it comes to deploying sales training in your company:

  1. Internal or External Resources: Many types of skill-based training can be taught by internal subject matter experts. However rarely does an internal sales trainer have as much credibility as an external sales trainer who has “seen it all.”
  2. Transactional or Relationship Sale: Make sure your sales training partner has expertise in the type of sales process used by your sales team to sell your product or service. Without philosophical alignment with your sales type, the sales training won’t resonate with your sales team.
  3. Assess Training Needs: To ensure your investment of time and financial resources is maximized, you can use a variety of means to accurately assess the sales training needs of your team. Focus groups, surveys, and one-on-one interviews with sales managers and sales personnel and reviewing prior activity and production reports will give you a good understanding of the training priorities of your sales team. This is the basis for the customization of your sales training.
  4. Delivery Process: Studies show that training that is focused both on content and duration is more easily internalized and utilized than training that spans one or more days. Remember the mind can only absorb what the butt can endure. Training that occurs in a cadence such as monthly webinars followed by group coaching calls enables teams to immediately “apply” what they’ve learned while sharing best practices as they proceed through the training.
  5. Sales Manager Engagement: This above every other factor discussed is the single biggest predictor of your ROI from sales training. Optimally, every sales manager would participate in the sales training as well as demonstrate usage of the tools and strategies presented in the training. This also leads to much more effective coaching and behavior reinforcement when sales managers know, understand, and utilize the content presented.
  6. Accountability: There is extraordinarily little application ─ let alone sustained sales improvement without accountability. If sales managers don’t properly set expectations concerning usage of the processes and tools provided, sales personnel will revert to their old habits of behavior within a week. A portion of weekly sales meetings should be dedicated to learning, sharing success stories and best practices.

In conclusion, improving your sales culture is simple, but not easy. Many factors serve as levers to drive sales behaviors and ultimately sales results. Too often, these variables are evaluated in a vacuum rather than holistically. The more aligned each of these variables, the more effective your sales organization becomes. If you start with a clear understanding of the type of sales and customer experience your company is trying to create and work backward, that process will lead you to see clear disconnects in your sales operation.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call me at 760-720-9270.

Have a great rest of your week,


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