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Employee Problems? Try Using A Business Operating System

Posted by John Boudreau on Apr 13, 2018 9:45:37 AM

In my blog post, “Seven Signs You Need A Business Operating System”, I called out the seven signs that indicate you need a business operating system.

  1. The business feels chaotic and out of control
  2. Increased sales is not resulting in increased profit, only more chaos
  3. There is a high rate of employee churn. As soon as you hire someone, another person leaves. Employee retention and hiring is a problem.
  4. There is poor accountability. Employees are not 100% clear on their key responsibilities. This results in dropped balls, frustrated customers and stressed out employees.
  5. Meetings feel like a waste of time and ineffective or seen as complaint sessions where nothing ever really gets accomplished or solved
  6. The business is in constant fire-fighting mode, moving from one fire to the next.
  7. There is no budget which is used to plan spending. You do not have the information to make decisions. Cash flow is a problem.

We have been working through each of these signs and describing how a business operating system solves these problems.

What is a business operating system? Investor and well know entrepreneur, Brad Feld’s gives the following definition:

“A business OS is how we consistently and clearly communicate, hire, make decisions, etc. that help us do more faster.”

At Envisionable, we think of a business operating system as something that helps to drive the following for your business:

  • Clarty
  • Alignment
  • Execution

Clarity around where you are actually taking your business

Alignment around that direction and plan

A system which helps you to execute on the plan you’ve created

In this series of blog posts, I am going through each one of these signs and describing how the Envisionable business operating system, EBOS helps to solve these problems.

In this blog post, our focus is #3 - “There is a high rate of employee churn. As soon as you hire someone, another person leaves. Employee retention and hiring is a problem.”

Clarity Around Where You Are Taking The Business

It’s been shown that employees want and need clarity regarding where your business is headed. Doing this one simple act drives employee engagement (lowering employee churn).

This is highly beneficial for BOTH the employee and the business. Employee who are engaged are happier and more productive. These employees are more dedicated to the mission and vision of the business. They drive higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

For all these reasons, clarifying the goals of the business is critical for employee engagement.

Alignment Between What The Business Is Trying To Accomplish And The Strengths Of Each Employee

It seems pretty obvious, but employees are hired to do specific jobs. Those jobs are meant to help the business accomplish its goals. When employees are using their unique strengths to do this, it’s a massive win-win.

You need a business operating system to drive this alignment. To link the company goals to the job description of each employee. When this is done, the employee not just feels important, they see how they ARE important to the success of the company.

I call this a system, because this alignment is not a one time event. It’s a process with regular communication at its core.

Execution Of The Daily Activities And A Way Each Employee Knows That They Are Being Successful  

Once each employee has clarity on where the business is going (the company goals) and they are in alignment with that direction and how they fit in, employees need to execute. They literally need to deliver the actions which they are uniquely gifted to perform. Those activities which bring the company closer to achieving its goals.

You need a process to check-in and make sure that it happening. You need accountability.

Accountability is not a popular word. No one really likes to be accountable. But if you think about it, accountability is critical for success.

Embedded in the word “accountability” is the word “count”. It’s a number. It’s not fuzzy. It’s clear for all to see.

You need a way to keep score. Not keeping score is a recipe for miserable employees.

Let me be clear. “Keeping Score” is not about micromanaging employees. Keeping score is about being absolutely unambiguous about what success looks like for each employee. When and employee knows this AND has the skills and strengths to deliver on this, it’s a beautiful thing.

I’ve seen many business owners push back at accountability, but it only hurts that business.

Not sure how each employees day to day connects with the overall goals of the company? We’ve created an accountability chart to help.

Download Your Free Accountability Chart

Clarity, Alignment and Superior Execution Is A Cycle


The business operating system can be better described as a continuous improvement process.

Direction is clarified, the team is aligned around the direction and plan and execution is monitored against that plan.

Results are generated and the clarity cycle begins again.

Not generating superior results in your business? You need a business operating system.

Need help, contact us for a FREE 15 minute strategy call to see if we’re a good fit.

Topics: employee engagement, business operating system