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EOS Implementation Chapter 3: Right People, Right Seats.

EOS implementation journey with right people right seats

Right People, Right Seats (RPRS): A Key Component of The EOS Model

EOS Model

According to The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) model, every business has six key components: Vision, Data, People, Process, Issues, and Traction. None is more important than the other, but all are essential for harmonious operations. 

The history of how we’ve grown, organized, facilitated, and executed this component will take you on a wild ride through the successes and failures of when it comes to people. Because as much as the term “Right People, Right Seats” makes sense, it was not something I knew how to make happen very well.

In many cases, I was doing the opposite of what I should have done to get the right people into the company.

The People Component (RPRS) in EOS

The right people are the key to any successful business. Hiring culturally fit individuals with the right skill sets for their specific roles is critical to a company’s success. It took me years to learn the importance of hiring the right people and placing them in the right seats.

Do you hold numerous roles in your company? My team and I certainly did, and still do. I’ve never met a company that didn’t have plenty of people who each wore many different hats. The key here is as the company grows, focus on offboarding tasks and reassign them to those who are a better fit for them.

For us here at Direction, it’s taken 6 years to get the right people in the right seats. Mainly because I didn’t fully understand how to do so, nor the true importance of doing so for the first 4-5 years.

Different Worlds

Coming out of the military world and into the civilian world in 2016 was exciting. It’s funny how I signed up to fight for freedom, but it wasn’t until I was out of the military that I finally felt free. While I had gone through an intensive Army Leadership course in order to be eligible for promotion to the rank of Sergeant (SGT) and had many great leaders I looked up to, the civilian world of business was a whole different game.

In the Army, teams (squads, platoons, companies, battalions, etc.) were full of people who had already committed, trusted each other with their lives (literally, that trust is needed in a time of war), knew and lived by the Army Values, and did just about everything together, whether at work or outside of work on weekends and holidays.

Put lightly; the business world operates very differently. I simple-mindedly expected the people I brought into the company to be dedicated to helping me grow the company even though salary was nowhere near competitive, I had no systems or processes, no core values, and no company vision. Thinking back on it all hurts.

Finding People as a Bootstrapped Company

When I started the company, it was with roughly $20,000 in cash that I had managed to save up, plus about $20,000 available on my credit cards. I saved that cash from my measly Army paychecks of $3,600/month, flipping domain names and building WordPress websites for people during my free time, which there wasn’t much of in the Army.

By the 6-month point, my credit cards were maxed, my cash was drying up, banks wouldn’t loan me any money, and my highest-paying client was $400/month. I wasn’t in the most ideal spot to be bringing on great people, so that’s exactly what I didn’t do – for years. 

Finding people as a bootstrapped company has been a challenging task. Today, I am a firm believer in paying employees well. In my experience, money alone will not attract or keep people, but using it as a tool for bonuses and raises to reflect gratitude for great work and living our company core values has gone a long way. 

Leadership, Starting With YOU

For years I would invest time, energy, and money into people, only to see little return. So what was I doing wrong?

In Traction, there are 5 leadership qualities mentioned throughout:

  1. Simplifying
  2. Delegating
  3. Predicting
  4. Systemizing
  5. Structuring

In addition to those five, there are three qualities I’ve learned over the years that, without learning, I don’t know where we would be as a company today.

1. Learning

Reading and listening to books and podcasts has tremendously accelerated and deepened my understanding of people and leadership. Fierce conversations is one of the most important books I came across that I wish I had read years ago.

Beyond books and podcasts on business, finance, and leadership, I was also reading books that were directly related to my field of business – marketing. Continually expanding my knowledge is something that I now do every single day, reading a minimum of 10 pages of a book, no matter what.

2. Responsibility

When we make a bad decision, something bad happens in our lives, or even worse, when we fail to take action, we love to point the finger and blame others or make excuses. It’s the economy, I didn’t know, I never learned that, I don’t have enough money, I didn’t have enough time, because of my credit score…, if my business partner didn’t…, and the list goes on.

On the other hand, we love being rewarded when we make good decisions. When something positive happens, or when “luck” comes our way, we receive that dopamine rush and happily take the “blame” for great things occurring.

So, why do we take credit when good things happen but point blame when bad things happen? Simple, it’s easy and comfortable. But, once I began to train myself not to make excuses and to take full blame for everything, my life started improving. Personal and business relationships, money, hobbies, you name it. 

More importantly, taking responsibility for everything that was going wrong in the company changed my mindset from a fault-oriented to a solution-oriented mindset. I promised myself that every time there was a problem, I would look at it through a lens of what I could have done differently and what I could do to avoid it moving forward, and others like it in the future.

3. Leading by Example

I can’t speak enough to the benefits I’ve realized through working on myself mentally, physically, and spiritually. All three are tied together, and once I began fiercely working on all three of those aspects in my life, what followed blew my mind.

Once looked at only as a joke that I’d even consider doing something so intense and insane, 75 Hard changed my life for the better, forever. The 75 Hard program has turned me into the best version of myself that I could never have imagined I could be. I promise you that if you complete 75 Hard, you’ll grow and be more successful in business, your family and personal relationships will flourish, your self-confidence will shine, you’ll sharpen your mind, and ultimately reach new levels of human that begin to make the world around you a better place. 

Think that’s a bit out there? Do it, then let me know what you think. I loved the results so much that I even followed through with the next phase, 75 Hard Phase 1, also known as Live-Hard

Becoming the best version of myself through responsibility, continuous learning and leading by example has developed me into an almost whole new person. The reason I share this is because were it not for my focus and dedication to those three values, I likely would have never followed through with implementing EOS, nor been the leader my company needed to attract the great people that are here today.

“Always do everything you ask of those you command.”

Having Processes

Finding the great people is arguably the most challenging part of growing any business, followed closely by the ability to retain great people. Great people want to work with great organizations, and great organizations are built upon a strong culture, vision, and mission, with systems and processes in place to help achieve those goals.

What better to impress great potential hires than to put them through a well-built hiring process? The hiring process is one of the most important processes that I failed to address, until recently. After reading Process!, one of the newest books in the Traction library, I really kicked it into gear, and ended up building (still a work in progress) a hiring process based off of a book called Who.

You know that feeling when you get that “Aha!” moment? Or maybe that feeling you get when you close a new deal? Take all of those good, confident feelings and wrap them into one. That’s how I felt once this process was built.

The Accountability Chart

Imagine for a second that you’re at work and you see a problem. It could be anything from a customer service issue to your website crashing. Without knowing who is responsible for what, you are forced to guess who owns the problem, or it now becomes your responsibility. This costs valuable time, energy, and money. But what if you knew exactly who was responsible for what? That’s where clarifying roles and creating an accountability chart come into play. 

A clear understanding of who is responsible for what eliminates confusion and wasted resources. Suddenly, problems can be fixed quickly and efficiently because no guessing is involved. Everything becomes much simpler and more streamlined with the right people. But how do you achieve this level of clarity? 

Thankfully, EOS provides all the tools you need to build it out. We created ours during our first full day with our EOS Implementer, the “Focus Day.”

The People Analyzer

Is your team struggling to communicate effectively? Do you find that a lot of valuable time, money, and energy is being spent on “people issues?” If so, you aren’t alone. Thankfully, EOS provides something called a People Analyzer Tool. This tool has helped us make discussions more productive by providing a clear marker by which to judge if individuals are suitable for the organization based on their alignment with our core values, as well as three measurements:

Gets it. Wants it. Capacity to do it.

  1. Does the person get it? Do they comprehend the totality of the position and its stipulations? Do they know all that is required of them and how to meet those expectations? In our world of SEO, this is the most challenging issue we come up against. Many people claim or legitimately think they understand and know SEO, but not many people truly do understand and have the ability to execute on it.
  2. Does the person want it? The only way to be sure someone will excel at a job is if they want the position in the first place. As mentioned earlier, I’ve learned that money cannot buy, incentivize, or make someone want it – they have to desire it themselves.
  3. Does the person have the capacity to do it? Do they have the mental, physical, spiritual, time, knowledge, and emotional capacity for the job? While the first two statements are critical, capacity is an ever-evolving process. We strongly believe in finding an individual who wants it, gets it, and can acquire the skills to have the capacity to do it. And we love being able to train and help them get there.

The Right People in The Right Seats is Absolutely Critical

No matter how much time is spent developing a company’s vision, mission, and values, it does little good if the right people aren’t in the right seats. Sometimes, that starts with letting go of employees who no longer contribute to the company’s overall vision. 

Quickly letting go of individuals who are toxic to either morale, productivity, or both within the business—no matter how essential they may seem, has been the best decision I’ve made every time I’ve made it. After all, one bad apple can definitely ruin the whole bunch!

The right people in the right roles can help a company:

  • Avoid potential pitfalls
  • Achieve goals and objectives
  • Identify and capitalize on new opportunities
  • Motivate employees and create a positive work environment
  • Ensure that all of the necessary pieces are in place for growth

When people are in the wrong roles, it can lead to:

  • Frustration
  • Decreased morale & productivity
  • Prevention of company growth
  • Losses of company time
  • Losses of company money

In Conclusion

There’s no doubt that having the right people in our company has been crucial to our success. By taking some time to define what we’re looking for in each role within our organization, collecting data on current team member performance, and comparing that performance against our ideal candidate profiles, we’ve been able to take steps to ensure that everyone in our company is set up for success.

While everyone in our organization continues to wear multiple hats at the time of this writing, it’s something we’ve been working on. Thanks to EOS and with the help of Byron, our EOS implementer, we’ve been able to build out our company growth strategy for the next one, three and 10 years. This also consists of what roles are currently filled, and what needs to be filled. It feels so good to know which hats will be worn by new hires next as we grow and focus solely on our desired roles and responsibilities.

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