Your Core Focus

Do the deep work required to get complete clarity about WHAT you can be the best in the world at. This is gold, because now you can run the business with laser-focus and use it to avoid all DIS-TRACTIONS and get TRACTION towards your vision!

Core Focus™?

The Core Focus™ is one of the 8 questions of a document that we call the Vision/Traction Organizer™ or simple the VTO™, which is one of the five foundational tools of the Entrepreneurial Operating Systems®.

In the journey of an EOS® implementation we (the EOS Implementer and the Leadership Team of the organization) are working together to create a strong vision for the organization. A strong vision means that we have two things in place: 1. that we have defined the answer to the 8 questions of the VTO™ and 2. that we share the answers to these 8 questions with everybody in the organization and over time get to a point that we call Shared By All (SBA), where everybody is crystal clear on the vision and feel good about it.

Better Decision Making

Focus is one of the most important keys to success and you can think of the Core Focus as a decision making tool that helps everyone to stay laser focused in the business. The core focus consists of two parts: 1. your purpose/cause or passion and 2. your niche. These two parts together tell us why we do what we do and also what it is that we can can be the best in the world at in our business arena.

To define the core focus we have to dive into the passion/cause/purpose part and have deep understanding of where the fire within comes from and also have this understanding what we can be the best in the world at. If we nail that, we can stick to the Core Focus® and use the it make decisions.

Your Agile Organization

When everyone in the organization is crystal clear on what the Core Focus™ is, it enables the organization to become more agile. This is because with the core focus everyone can draw a circle in the sand and determine if a decision, communication or action is inside the circle (=inside of our core focus definition) or outside of the circle (=outside of our core focus).

An unclear core focus is like driving with your car in the fog: you hit the brake most of the time, go slow and are not accelerating. Once you have defined your core focus with clarity, then you go fast, the fog has been cleared and you can accelerate.

You truly need to have this level of clarity to move fast in the VUCA World we live in (VUCE = Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous). Please make the decision to stick to your Core Focus once you have defined it and you will get more done faster and avoid a lot of frustrations because you will not chase all kinds of shiny opportunities that are outside of your core focus.

Your Business Map

Three year Business Plans. Yes, you still encounter them every now and then, but in today's VUCA world executing directly from a 3 year plan is RIDICULOUS! What you need is a business map to help you navigate towards your Vision using Scientific Thinking. EOS® has exactly that for you.

Two quotes, one message

Let’s look at two quotes and see where that takes us.

Quote number one is from Mike Tyson who reportedly said: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face” – powerful!

Then let’s look at quote number two, this one is from Dwight Eisenhouwer who said”planning is everything, the plan is nothing”.

The message is the same: the plan once created is already outdated. If you dare to use it directly to navigate then you will meet Mike Tyson with his gloves. But the thinking work is absolutely great because it helps you to see opportunities and anticipate pitfalls. So instead of a complete and unusable plan we must use something else. What we need is a SIMPLE BUSINESS MAP: A clear and simple map that helps you to navigate towards what you want in a VUCA world.

The Map & EOS®

In the EOS® process, we clarify and create the vision for the organization by answering 8 questions of a tool that we call the Vision/Traction organizer or V/TO™. Once we have answered these 8 questions, agree with its answers and communicate all of them to everybody in the organization we can speak of a strong vision.
One of these questions is “what is your 3-Year Picture™”. This question is all about painting a vivid picture what we want the organization to look like three short years from now and we use the power of visualization to help our collective brains do the necessary path finding to get there.

The 3-Year Picture™

The 3-Year picture contains the revenue, profit and the key measurables (less is more) that we want to hit three years from now. In addition it contains five to fifteen bullets to paint a vivid picture of the organization. These bullets describe what it looks like when we are there, three years from now. It does NOT describe how we think we are going to get there, because if we go too much into the how, we are sure Mike Tyson punches us in the face. For great what bullets – think structure, people, processes, products/services, key partners, key activities, customer segments, business models, branding etc. Tip: you can use the Business Model Canvas as a thinking guide to get the vision from the head onto paper.
The 3-Year Picture™ must be exciting (this is key) and because it is not a complete plan it leaves room for great people to fill in the voids that are created when communicating this vision.
Once everybody is clear and can actually visualize these 5 to 15 bullets – seeing the future – we can start to treat this picture as our map to help us navigate. In our yearly planning cycle.

From Map to Goals

The 3-Year picture™ is used as a map when we define our 3 to 7 most important company goals for the next year. We do this work in the EOS® Annual, a two day session with the leadership team where we learn from the past, become stronger and healthier as a leadership team and plan the next year. Where the 3-Year Picture™ is our map for planning our 3 to 7 most important company goals for the next year, the 1-Year Plan becomes our Map for defining the 3-7 most important company rocks for the next quarter. This is the iterative approach that helps us to navigate in a VUCA world to get truly what we want.

What not How!

Focus on the What, not the HOW. This is such an important point that it is important to repeat it over and over again: please remember that the 3-Year Picture™ that we talked about here is all about what you WANT.

So what do you want?

It is not about defining HOW you are going to get there. Too often we let the HOW stand in the way of getting to the WHAT. Don’t be that person! In defining your business map, just focus on the what.

But wait…do we ever get to the how? Yes we do, because it is key to execute with success. We will figure out the how with our great team when we execute towards achieving our Rocks inside the quarter. This way we achieving our vision ONE QUARTER AT A TIME.

How do you get what you want? Break the mindset that you need a 3 or even 5 year plan to run your business. Instead use a map to successfully navigate in today’s VUCA world! Your V/TO® is that map.

Your Issues List Goldmine

In EOS® we make sure that all our issues are documented so we get more clarity and can deal with them appropriately. Using the same discipline, when we start to document our customer's problems we are actually building a GOLDMINE of opportunities!

Your Goldmine

In order to run a great business, we have to get all of our issues out of our heads and onto paper or of course in a digital document for that matter.

What are issues? Issues are not just problems and obstacles but also ideas and opportunities. Basically issues are anything you have to deal with as a company, as a team to get ahead and make progress.

Keeping an issues list is a discipline. It is not difficult but if it is not yet a habit, it takes some time to adopt this simple discipline. The key here is to get everything out of the brain and visible for the team to deal with it. This alone creates clarity and peace of mind. Now we can use the list and make decisions using the IDS® process to solve or resolve the issues.

This works really well for our own issues, but we can use this very same type discipline to get a complete issues list of all of our customer’s issues, big and small, long term and short term, and the this list is our potential GOLDMINE for identifying new opportunities and new ways to delight our customers.

How does this work?

The first step is to agree that we want to have this goldmine and are recording all the issues that our customers have in one place, in one document. Then one person is assigned to be the owner of the document and everybody in the company should be able to add to this list (either directly or indirectly). Please keep it simple, make the workflow fast and frictionless and use a system, application or tool that you are already using frequently (CRM, Asana, Trello etc.)

Then in the two-day Annual planning session, as part of the EOS® Process, we are going to use this list when we do our SWOT analysis. In the SWOT we look with the leadership teram at all the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for our company within the next 12 months.

It is in this activity that we can apply our GOLDMINE of customer’s issues. In most cases the items on our “goldmine list” will show-up in the opportunities part of the SWOT analysis. This is because a problem for your client can be an opportunity for your business.
Once we applied our goldmine list to the SWOT analysis, it is up to the team decide which items come are transformed as issues on our issues list for the business that will be an important source document to plan the next year.
In this way a problem that a customer faces can actually be transformed into goal or a rock for our business in order to build our own bigger and better future in the process of delighting our customers.
Commit to make it a habit to record the obstacles, threats and concerns of your customer and capture them in your “goldmine.doc” file.

Scientific Thinking

Scientific Thinking is a way to find your way in the VUCA world that we are living in. This thinking practice is vital for better problem solving and better decision making.

Scientific Thinking?

In his great article (see link), Mike Rother (Toyota Kata) outlines what Scientific Thinking is and how you can use it to navigate in a VUCA world. Simplified, you could say that Scientic Thinking is all about FINDING YOUR WAY – that is your way towards your target, your aim, your vision. Below is the link to the article in pdf.


When we are practicing scientific thinking, we take the following three basic steps:

1. We must a prediction about a future result

2. Reality happens

3. Learn from the difference

To clarify this last point: after a certain amount of time, we can now evaluate to look at the difference between what we predicted and what actually happened in the real world.

If there is a difference (and obviously, often times there is 😉  then we just look at the facts (using a tool like the debrief directive™) and learn to improve our progress and performance into the future.

Agile & Scientific Thinking

Agile organizations are able to set an aim, make a prediction, look what happened and adjust accordingly – this is exactly the same pattern as we follow with scientific thinking – therefore Mike Rother remarked that you can think of Agile as a practical approach to scientific thinking and that is exactly right.


EOS & Scientific Thinking

Companies that are running on EOS® are continuously setting a new aim, making that very clear and then plan and work towards achieving that aim. The practical way we do that within EOS® is with Rocks. When we set Rocks, we are actually predicting for the long term and defining our most important aims – our most important company priorities and individual priorities for the next 90 days.

Now the priorities are set we can plan and execute towards achieving them. We execute our rocks and after 90 days in the Quarterly Meeting with the team we look at what happened. What is the gap between our prediction and the results that are in. What can we learn from that? How can we improve with these learnings the next time (iteration)? In this process we are actually using Scientific Thinking.


Run on EOS®

Rocks are just one of the five foundational tools to get what you want from your business. Hopefully this post helps you to see the connection between Scientific Thinking, Agility and Rock setting. It is all about getting crystal clear on what you want, then staying focused during the quarter to get there and being agile and learn.  For Rock setting the time frame is the 90-day world, but the same approach applies to aims for a week, day, etc. It is a never ending learning journey of improving and transforming towards your bigger and better future.

Five Foundational Tools

Vision Achievers know that 80% of their success depends on purely implementing five foundational tools from the Entrepreneurial Operating System®

Five Foundations for Success

Here is an important insight for what drives 80% of your success in achieving your vision.

EOS® contains a toolbox of 20 tools, but just five of them are truly at the core of your success. We call them The Five Foundational Tools of EOS® and here they are:

  1. THE VTO™
  3. ROCKS

In the process of an implementation, we get to this point where these five foundational tools are implemented after just three days of implementation with the leadership team of the company. After completing the Vision Building™ day 2 session, the leadership team has achieved mastery in these five foundational tools, which means the leadership team has full understanding of the use and power of these tools and has implemented them in their team.

Another Milestone Achieved

From this milestone, we can plan the next phase where we are going to cascade these five foundational tools throughout the rest of the organization so the whole business is crystal clear on the vision, all executing with discipline and accountability and everybody is part of a healthy, functional and cohesive team. Now we are all rowing in the same direction to achieve the vision – how powerful is that?

Compartimentering voor TRACTIE

EOS® maakt het mogelijk om in organisaties de juiste dingen gedaan te krijgen door o.a. focus, eenvoud en tractie te implementeren. EOS®kan je ook vergelijken met het managen van menselijke energie of zorgen dat dingen gedaan worden #GSD (Getting Stuff Done). Of het nu gaat om grote doelstellingen, nieuwe initiatieven of TODO’s, het belangrijkste is steeds om de focus te houden op de juiste dingen en deze binnen een goede structuur daadwerkelijk uit te voeren (TRACTIE). Het gevaar dat altijd loert is dat we vrijwel altijd teveel willen doen en daardoor onszelf teveel versnipperen (weinig van veel ipv veel van weinig). Het gevolg hiervan is dat we dan in de kwartaal review met het leadership team waarin we terugkijken op de resultaten van de afgelopen 90 dagen, ontevreden zijn over de behaalde resultaten. Dit kan en moet beter! Een krachtige tool die we binnen EOS® gebruiken om volledige helderheid te hebben in wat echt gedaan moet worden is COMPARTIMENTERING. In onderstaande video worden het hoe en waarom van de compartimenten besproken. Als je het toepast krijg je de rust en helderheid die je nodig hebt voor TRACTIE in de business; het belangrijkste ingredient om stap voor stap te werken aan het realiseren van de visie!      
EOS Talk Announcement

EOS Talk for MSPA in Split, Croatia

Chris Goldmann and Alexander Celie announce their EOS® talk at the MSPA event in Split, Croatia at Le Méridien Lav, Split

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Your Core Focus

Do the deep work required to get complete clarity about WHAT you can be the best in the world at. This is gold, because now

Read More »
Your Business Map

Your Business Map

Three year Business Plans. Yes, you still encounter them every now and then, but in today’s VUCA world executing directly from a 3 year plan

Read More »
Scientific Thinking and EOS

Scientific Thinking

Scientific Thinking is a way to find your way in the VUCA world that we are living in. This thinking practice is vital for better

Read More »
five foundational tools

Five Foundational Tools

Vision Achievers know that 80% of their success depends on purely implementing five foundational tools from the Entrepreneurial Operating System® TRACTION10 Tweet Five Foundations for

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The Issue Atomizer

De “Issue Atomizer”

Voordat we inzoomen op het oplossen van grote issues met de Issue Atomizer, hieronder in het kort de aanpak voor IDS die ook in de Issue Atomizer centraal staat.

IDS is een techniek uit EOS® waarbij je effectief issues (problemen, obstakels, maar ook ideeen en kansen) kan oplossen. Het staat voor Identify, Discuss en Solve. De energie moet zijn gericht op solve, omdat men vaak blijft steken in het discussie deel (D) van IDS. Hoe beter je problemen kan oplossen, hoe beter je in staat bent je visie te realiseren: de mate waarin je in een organisatie problemen kan oplossen is de mate waarin je succes hebt.

Wanneer IDS in bijv. een EOS® Level 10 week meeting juist wordt uitgevoerd bespaart deze activiteit je vele uren in de rest van de week.

IDS Workflow

Hieronder zie je de normale workflow voor het uitvoeren van IDS, geschreven voor de voorzitter van een IDS sessie (integrator):

  1. Neem je Issues Lijst erbij
  2. Bepaal belangrijkste drie issues en markeer deze 1,2 en 3 (dit heeft tevens een psychologisch voordeel)
  3. Focus op Issue nr. 1 en begin met IDS
  4. De stap Identify: Identificeer de issue en vraag: wat is de kern van dit issue?
  5. De stap Discuss: Bespreek alles wat je weet in het team over dit issue dat kan leiden tot een oplossing. Een punt mag maar 1x worden gemaakt (ander bedrijf je politiek).
  6. De stap Solve: Stuur aan op de oplossing. De oplossing is makkelijker als de visie helder is en tevens is bijna altijd de oplossing in het team aanwezig

Vermijd ten alle tijden discussie zonder focus op de IDENTIFY en SOLVE. Dit is de valkuil van de meeste teams: ze blijven maar praten en komen niet of na heel lang discussieren pas tot een oplossing.

Wees bijna fanatisch in het werken aan een oplossing. Blijf zo nodig in het team herhalen: wat is de oplossing? Wat is de oplossing?

Hoe los je nu grote issues op?

Grote issues kan je oplossen door IDS iteratief toe te passen. Je focused je in de eerste IDS van het issue op de eerste stap naar het oplossen van het issue. Meestal komt een eerste stap neer op een TODO. Vervolgens komt de issue weer terug op de agenda in de Level10 meeting en maak je de volgende stap. Dit proces herhaal je totdat de hele issue is opgelost.