Let’s count – how many small business management systems are on the market? There’s Gino Wickman’s EOS along with the coaching program provided by EMyth, their biggest competitor.
Others include Scaling Up by Gazelles and OnStrategy. There used to be the One Page Business Plan. Khorus, Rhythm Systems, and Results are key players in this domain space too. And I’m sure there are many more.
I’d love to know the stats on businesses who start these programs then quit. Is it a lot? A few? I’m betting it’s a high count, but why? I’m not convinced it’s the money.
The 3 Reasons CEOs Give Up on a Management System
I’m a huge fan of Tony Horton, the creator of P90X. I just don’t look like him, not even close.
I once heard him in an interview state why so many people give up on their health and fitness programs. He gave three primary reasons:
- Boredom sets in
- Hitting plateaus
Bingo – I could immediately relate to why CEOs quit their management and operating systems because I see it first-hand on a regular basis. Below is a recap of Tony’s big 3 and mine for CEOs –
Like people getting bored with working out, I see high-paced CEOs giving up on their management systems because of boredom. They jumped headfirst into the program because it was new and shiny. There was hype. Buy-in was immediate.
I’ve seen this in the staffing industry, eCommerce, IT firms, food distributors, and many other types of businesses.
The question you need to ask is, “What were the assumptions you possessed when you started this program and what has changed?” I’m betting you a dollar you’re bored and looking for the next ‘shiny’ tool. Face it, managing and leading through a structured process can become boring if you allow it, but it’s potentially effective when done consistently well.
Small Business Setback
Business setbacks come in many flavors–a key person quitting, the economy not cooperating, new and better competition, losing one or more big customers. There are more.
When pilots are faced with a major catastrophe while flying a large plane, three words always come to mind through years of training –
Most management systems always include measures and countermeasures when a serious problem surfaces. When setbacks occur, generally the last thing a CEO should do is walk away from the management system. That’s the time to stick with it or even go deeper. Like a pilot, the CEO needs to aviate. Most operating management systems include tools and support to guide leaders out of peril (especially when there’s a great facilitator in place with CEO experience).
If you have stepped away from a management system, is it holistic in times of plenty and times of famine? If so, stay the course.
Lack of Results
I work with some amazing CEOs. The dopamine levels are high. No, off the charts. Every project is due two weeks ago. Ideas are flying right and left daily. The good news is that yesterday’s ideas will be forgotten. But watch out – new ideas will replace the old ones.
Accordingly, small business CEOs want results. If the new management system is taking too much time to make a difference, then the next, new shiny object will rapidly replace the current one, or the CEO will revert back to ‘winging it’ as they were before.
Before You Give Up
I’m lukewarm on many of the management operating systems on the market today. But all share a common theme –
- there’s an open-book strategy that all team members are now accountable to
- progress on the strategy is discussed continually
- strategy tracking is typically visible among all team members
Accordingly, the secret sauce isn’t found in the management system itself. Instead, it’s your commitment to a system that requires daily habits which will become healthy disciplines throughout the organization. Pick a system, any system. As long as you have a great product and strong customer service, any system will give you results. You just can’t quit.
Don’t give in to boredom. Don’t allow setbacks to take you off course. Hang in there, results will come. I guarantee it.