Get a Grip on Your Business

Review Review Review Review Review

Author: Gino Wickman

Let me start by simply stating my own praise for this already highly recommended book.  I have read a lot of business books and Traction is definitely my new found favorite.  It packs in so much applicable content around 6 key factors for running a business; it is an excellent handbook to use for growing and leading any small to medium sized business.  It covers these components from the perspective of starting from the top in a business with the leadership team and expanding the concepts throughout the organization as the tools are implemented and proven.

Most books and many that Wickman references are excellent business guides for narrower topics and while agree with many of his references and have enjoyed those books as well, this one covers such a wide scope, yet with an incredibly strong focus on the leadership component itself and with what is called the Entrepreneurship Operating System (EOS).  The EOS is Wickman’s term for the overall system used to run the business and it is what the book teaches very well with example company implementations used throughout the book, with specific tools and implementation strategies and with outlines and samples available for every step of the implementation process.  This is what I like so much about Traction, it is more of a handbook and one that gives an excellent set of steps for implementation.

Wickman covers these 6 components:

  • Vision
  • People
  • Data
  • Issues
  • Process
  • Traction

Inside each component, he presents the strategy of why and how to implement changes to make each step of the EOS a success.  It typically takes anywhere from one to three years to fully implement and realize this EOS in a business and see the resulting change and/or growth as a result.

To give a bit more detail about one of these components, I particularly liked the component on issues as it is a strong area especially in engineering and software areas which I work in.  The issues component is certainly not new to me in my company but it is often an area we struggle with solving.  Wickman gives a framework to use for the issue solving track that is three mains steps:

  1. Identify – This step involves examining an issue to discover the real issue that is faced by that can only be discovered by being honest and uncomfortable to peel back the layers to identify what the underlying problem really is
  2. Discuss – Everyone involved has their say about the issue with a focused effort to discuss that issue alone (no tangents). Keep the discussion around what is right overall for the company (the greater good) not individuals or individual groups.  Once any discussion becomes redundant, it’s time to move to step 3.
  3. Solve – This step is mean to conclude the issue and solve it once and for all.  The whole point is to make the issue go away forever and not come back.  You turn the discussing into one or more action steps and you decide to move forward to finally solve the issue.

So overall, this book is one I will definitely be using in business to implement much of this EOS as I see the value, am excited by the overall focus and approach Wickman has and very much like the components and implementation guide.  I’ll leave you with a final quote directly from the book near the end about putting this system all together.

Many books have been written on the topics of meetings, planning, solving problems, developing people, and prioritizing.  What is new about the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is the way these disciplines have been assembled into a complete system for running an entrepreneurial organization.  Each individual tool is not as important as the whole, and all six components that make us the Entrepreneurial Operating System and the EOS Model need to be understood and mastered in order to fully gain traction.  You can read more about the process and book at the website,

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