Mitchell Kimbrough: Welcome back to the Solspace Podcast. This is Mitchell Kimbro with Solspace here, your humble host, and my guest today is Leslie Camacho. Hi. Leslie and I go way back as long as I've had a career. Leslie's been part of it. Leslie, I think I, I emailed you decades ago when I started to engage in the predecessor to Expression Engine P Machine Pro, and take care of client websites using that tool turning it into a CMS for them. And I remember emailing whoever Leslie was saying, you know, if I'm using this a lot and, and I'm finding there's, you know, there's some good activity here, there's some clients are really taking advantage of this ability to edit their own websites.
You know, back 20. Three years ago that was something and I said, you know, I'm, I'm imagining clients are coming to you guys. Saying Hey, can you build us a site? And you say, no, we build the software. You need to find a developer to do it. So maybe you have a developer network. Could you please add Solspace to that network?
And you didn't really have one, but shortly after you had about three people on a list and I built my business on that. So I thank you for that.
Leslie Camacho: Yeah, you're very welcome. And it is quite incredible that it's been over 20 years. I was talking, I saw that your previous guest was Tom Yager who is the current owner of Expression Engine?
I guess the sequel to P machine and. I was at the Express Expression Engine Conference last year in October, realizing it's actually, depending on when you count the start date of expression engine, I don't think Tom does, but it's close to 20 years, which means for us with P Machine, it's gotta be at least 22, 23 years, somewhere in there.
Mitchell Kimbrough: I've found it interesting that you've been at every pivotal moment in my career, in my business you've, you've been there, you've been part of that, you know, we'll go many years without talking. But then a moment happens and we connect and something you do or say advances what I'm trying to do.
So that's been interesting to watch.
Leslie Camacho: It is something that I, as I get older, because it's more than just friendship. There's something, there's something that happens with key people in your life, and I consider you one of those as well, like key moments in my career and in my personal life.
Like for some reason we connected, whether it was personal, professional, somewhere in there. And then, yeah, I can go years and I always feel bad about that. And then I remember, oh right. We both have kids, we have families. It's not like we're down the street from each other. It's just, I think it's just the flow that I'm realizing now at 47.
That's just how it works with the great people in your life.
Mitchell Kimbrough: Sometimes there's a flow to it. Yep. Well, the most recent iteration of this was sending you an email a couple of years ago when I was. I'm trying to face head on the fact that I didn't as a business owner really have command of the discipline of marketing.
And, I was realizing how bad that was. I mean, it was Solspace as a word of mouth business like a lot of agencies are, and I. We have cycles where we'll engage heavily with a handful of clients and those relationships will reach their natural end and we'll be at the bottom of the trough and I'll be looking around with high anxiety and a panic, wondering how am I gonna generate more work?
And that's the superpower of marketing. Is that you spin up a flywheel and you have this steady flow of incoming business, of a certain kind that needs a certain thing that scales well. I knew I needed it, and I knew I had no beginning to it. I sent you an email and I said, Hey, could we you know, could we do a little consulting where you can get me caught up on what I should know about the fundamentals of marketing?
I'd like to fix that part of my business. And your response was something along the lines of, yeah, I could do that, but really what I think we should do is completely and totally overhaul your company from top to bottom. And I was like, I was like, okay, man, come on. You know, at the moment I wasn't interested in hearing how.
Completely messed up. My business was now to be sure it's 23 years old. At some level it's a successful company. As someone who really is just kind of wired to strive for excellence and to be better every day, you know, to improve upon what I did. Yesterday I'm never satisfied.
It's never good enough. There's always something stupid broken that looks ridiculous, like, why didn't I fix that? Why didn't I change that? But at the time, I didn't want to hear it. And then a few years later, you had become an e o s implementer. So, Entrepreneurial Operating System. You'd become an implementer of EOS.
And you sent me an email saying, I'm spinning up my practice as an EOS implementer and I'm reaching out to colleagues and friends who I think might be able to make use of it, or who knows, someone who might. And I just thought I'd put a bug in your ear. If you're interested, go read this book called Traction.
If you want a free copy, I'll send it over to you. No problem. And I was like, ah, crap. Leslie's trying to sell me something. I don't, I don't want to buy cheese. I don't want to buy any snacks at the door. I don't wanna do any, you know, don't upsell me on anything. So I was really closed off to it, but we go back so far, and I have so much trust and faith in you. I said, all right, what's the harm in me grabbing the audio book of traction, listening for a few minutes and I'll throw it in the garbage if it doesn't do anything for me. I did that and literally a few minutes into the book I realized that is it's, it's the missing thing that I've needed for so many years.
The reason this is a podcast topic today is Solspace is all about reliability. And we're all about serving clients with incredibly complicated websites, really difficult, complex problems on the web, and we have to execute and do that reliably over time. We can't do it if the business is not run with a sense of excellence with a system like with discipline and traction and EOS.
Provides us with the framework to think about all the fundamentals at the same time in the right way. And so I was really blown away. So I got fired up to bring you on as our Eeo s implementer and really throw ourselves fully into it. And so the whole thing caught fire. And for a number of months now, we've been implementing EOS and it's a totally different business, even though it's a very short amount of time, it's a totally different company.
So that's a, that's a bit of an introduction to say I wasn't ready. I wasn't ready. I wasn't ready, and then I was ready. Yeah. So without further ado, maybe we could turn the microphone over to you and put you in a position where you can sort of introduce EEO s talk about some of the fundamental concepts, and I'll try and interrupt you to tell you how important some of those pieces are for agency owners like me or Business owners, like our clients who are, a lot of them are the perfect size to engage and use EOS to clean up their internal system.
Leslie Camacho: I think it's also really, so you, you've brought up timing several. Well, I. Several times already. And it's so crucial that that's one of the things I've also discovered now, in my late forties, is when I sent you the overhaul, let's overhaul the business.
I wasn't ready. I thought I was, but I wasn't either. So the timings fortuitous when it came back the other way. I'm sure we would've done something meaningful, but it wouldn't have been this. And so I'm always glad, you know, I'm glad when the timing works the way it does for, for whatever reason. I think.
If you'll allow me to back up, I want to give context of why I chose EOS personally in there and how I ended up here. I, like we met early in blogs, CMS days. It's very rare that I meet people like you anymore that remember a time before WordPress in that sense. So I've been in the CMS business.
To some extent had touchstones with it and agencies the whole way through. Now for close to 25 years, maybe a little bit longer as well. But the important thing is when I was running someone else's company, I and I burned out. Like I thought I had my dream job and I burned out. And I've told versions of this, but the personal side of it for me was when I've.
Like, and this is my own perspective, when I thought I was at the top of my game, had the title of CEO and I was, I. Coming home stressed every single day. I, I, I worked at home, but trying to leave my home office and I just wasn't home. And I remember talking to Laura, my wife, and just saying, I think I'm ready to not be the CEO anymore.
And she immediately said to me, please quit. Like it was that fast and it. It blew my mind because I'm the sole income earner at the, or at the time I was, we had our third kid on the way. We had just bought a house. We just bought a third car and it, and I, you know, I've always done well. I've, I've always been treated financially speaking super fair and generous.
But I was in no danger of retiring. I mean, it's still a small business there. So but I feel like that was a wake up call to me that I wasn't doing the right thing. I. And it was probably one of the most difficult decisions I ever made where I quit, I realized I was not the right person for the job, even though I couldn't really identify why I, I'm sure I said lots of dumb things at the time, in retrospect.
But. The core thing was true, and I'm really glad I did. I feel like I would not have recovered as a person without it, but that planted in my mind when I looked up around my peers and I realized most agency owners, the other indie software companies or VC backed companies that I happened to know the owners or someone on the leadership team, we were all stressed.
Some of us going through divorces, some of us just overburdened, like there was a. Regardless of where we thought we should be doing financially, we were certainly better off than most people. Even if we weren't, you know, in rarefied air, 1% land, we were definitely doing well. And yet more and more I realize that often the way that we're doing business and I think in particular in our space, digital agencies.
When we are talking here, this was a brand new thing, like this industry is still less than 30 years old, depending on how you measure it, but compared to other industries that are established and have lots of history, we're all pretty brand new at this. And so I dabbled in different types of consulting and I did well as like a fractional coo.
Then I worked with one of my former competitor, great friend, Brandon at Craft CMS. And I was; there four and a half years, and again, I burned myself out to the point where Brandon had to fire me. And that was another wake up call. Cuz you know, he's still a great friend. I say it with a lot of love.
Thank you Brandon for doing that because it chains the trajectory of my life again. But it was another reset moment where like, what is it that I'm looking for? And again, looking around at pi, I feel I found a lot of people, and especially now as we're getting older. And I realized that part of things, I didn't know how to be a leader.
I knew a lot about the product. I knew a lot about communication. I had some natural, soft skills that I didn't know could be turned into something. But it was at that point where I first read Traction and Traction was like, oh. When I was a ceo, I wish I would've had this 29 year old. Leslie really needed this book.
And then when I read Rocket Fuel, I cried. Rocket Fuel is also part of the Traction Library and that describes the relationship between I. Well, I guess we'll introduce vocab at some point. So usually there's a visionary CEO, the person who holds conceptually. It's typically the founder of the company and the integrator who's usually the right hand that makes the business run on a daily basis.
And I realized, oh, I am the right hand. I've been an integrator my whole life not knowing it. And here are the professional rules of making this. An outstanding, healthy relationship. And I looked back and I was like, man, if I had had this rule set or these guidelines, it would've helped me so much in both those jobs and not just me, but the people around me.
Maybe I would've had the wisdom to quit or maybe I would've had like, so I don't wanna go back too much in the what if part because the important part is the epiphany I had was like, This is really meaningful because it describes this intersection of what a leadership team needs and what a founder needs and what a business needs.
So there was this intersection of what you need on the personal life and professional life that I feel that EOS addresses so simply and beautifully that I, that's when I began to consider it professionally for the first time. And it took me about four years to actually make the jump to being an implementer.
Now it's a hefty process to go through. It's expensive. You go through training, you have to buy a franchise, so it wasn't a light decision. In there. And I did my due diligence. I did a whole bunch of research on. All this stuff. So that's kind of the backstory in there. And then our friend Eric Regan, he and I were talking one day.
I was like, Leslie, you're a great coach. Do you know that? I don't remember if that's the, if that's the right word to use, but you know, if you did this, we would hire you. And a couple friends said the same thing. And I was like, okay, I hear you. I need to go do this. And so I talked to Laura and you know, she said, I love you when.
You lived when we lived in a basement and made $15,000 a year. And if we have to go through that again, we're totally worth it. So we did it. And it has been, so that's, that's the backstory. And I wanted to anchor that in because this wasn't just like a, Hey, what's hot right now? I, I, I. It's really important in what I do because I don't, I'm not, I'm terrible at marketing myself.
I know branding and I, I'm good at sales, but that in between part…I talk a good game, but I'm terrible at it. Executing for myself too. So I've realized that my only saving grace in terms of that is that I'm really good at showing up and helping and be, and in order to do that, you have to be authentic.
So when I send the emails out, like, Hey, I'm gonna ask you a businessy thing, but hopefully, Our previous experience knows that I don't do this often, so if I'm doing it, it's, it's probably something that I hope, you know, our past history is like with you. It's worth taking a look at. So it's, it was a really personal decision to me as well as I think a great, you know, tools that I want to help people that I've essentially grown up with professionally with in there.
So, that's it. And I think when we go through what EOS actually is, that's what I want. An anchor. This was a big personal decision based on the need I saw in my peers in this industry. Like we are so skilled deeply, usually in some skillset that's about creating something Design product development, but we don't know how to transfer that into creating a leadership team.
And at the end of the day, that's what EOS does that I love, is it helps an owner create a real leadership team that helps them let go. And that's, I'll, I'll pull out the Solspace word. That's what gives you that reliability as you run your business because you're really empowering others in a very simple, but oftentimes hard way to do that. So that's all the background context.
Mitchell Kimbrough: You know, there's, there's a little bit more context that comes to mind when you're, when you were speaking just now, when you introduced me to EOS and Traction at, at no point did you say the following. At no point did you say by the way, this is, this is not some Salesy, sort of gimmicky framework dreamed up by one or two people. And then I. Marketed heavily. Instead, what this is, is an accumulation of one person's many years of business experience combined with sort of folding in. Some. Yep. Really scientifically valid and data driven. Analysis of successful businesses and successful management.
I'm thinking of Good to Great Jim Collins at the moment. Yep. I just finished going through that a second time today. There's a couple of other pieces that are important for the traction framework. So the reason I bring this up, and it, I think it matters so much, is this is when I got into traction, I was like, this is kind of a hodgepodge.
This is not, it's not necessarily symmetric. It's not, you know, it's not aesthetically beautiful like my code is supposed to be. Like our websites are, no, it's not. It's been so obsessed with truth is equal to beauty, and beauty is equal to truth. It's, it's not, it's sloppy. But it's sloppy in a way that is true.
Like the, the, the underlying principles in this validate against my years of experience running a business. And I didn't need to go too many pages into the book to say, yep. Saw that a thousand times. Yep, I've done that one. You, I never do that correctly. Yep. That fails every single time. Yep. You, it. So this is, this is actually backed by really good research and really good additional authorship from elsewhere in the business community.
It's this amalgamation of the fundamentals. My favorite metaphor when I think about a e os is I think most people listening to this podcast will have had the experience of. PE basketball in high school or junior high. So you got a coach and the coach is like, today we're gonna learn the fundamentals of basketball.
And you got people in there like, I really couldn't care less about the fundamentals of basketball. It doesn't matter, but why not know it? And when I was running this business all these years, I was looking around thinking I'm too embarrassed to go say to anybody. Do you happen to know a book that has all the fundamentals of running a business?
Yeah. In between, between two covers. Is there any such framework? I'm kind of too shy to ask because I've been doing this so long and it looks like I'm successful, but I still have no clue what I'm doing. How do you market? How do you set a positioning statement? How do you communicate values to a team?
Why are these things even important? What fits together and what is extraneous to these fundamental core concepts. So the basketball coaches in the gym yelling, use your fingertips on that ball. Stay on the balls of your feet. Like, get the fundamentals right. And that's what we're talking about with business.
Yep. You gotta get the fundamentals right so that you can execute for decades. And that's what traction and EOS has done for us.
Leslie Camacho: And, particularly the fundamentals of leadership in there. So I, I feel like it would be a good time to give, like, so EOS specifically comes from you referenced him earlier from Gino Wickman.
He's the author of the book Traction and Co-authored Rocket Fuel in there. So Gino Wickman He got started in business and sort of the art and science of entrepreneurship by taking over his father's business. And he ended up running that for seven years, realized it needed a turnaround, turned it around with the team, and basically took extensive notes the whole time really.
Methodical. I don't know Gino at a personal level. I've met him a couple times and I've heard him speak, but the guy is methodical. Like if you think of a super business nerd as opposed to a business consultant he is just that kind of ball of nerdy energy that you hope he is in there.
And so he ended up selling the business and after he sold the business, he. Basically made a bet that he could do this for other businesses. And so he worked, I think, I think there were 10, and if there's other more experienced implementers that by some part hear this, please correct me in the future.
But he started working with five 10. They didn't call 'em implementers at the time, I don't think, but just really defining the model and they went out and tested it in the real world. And I think that is the thing that I love about this, is that this has been tested over the last 20 years. So there's 15,000 businesses that have paid professional implementers, and they tend to use a math of if there's 10 if there's one, there's 10.
Do it yourself people for every one. Person who paid for it at a, at a conservative minimum. So 15,000 companies, something like a hundred thousand leadership sessions, and all that data flows back into the organization. And then the materials that were provided to train people on get updated. Sometimes quarterly, but at least three times a year, often.
And so we have the, you know, Most useful recent information in there. I, but the premise of the system that you touched on is that it's really simple and it's well curated. Like I think one of Gino Wickman's geniuses is he has a lot of original thought. But the thought that is I, I think his genius is how he pulls it together and makes it usable for someone who has no business background but is a highly skilled professional of some sort, or a really driven professional of some sort.
You don't need an mba. Actually, I got an mba. To make sure that traction was what it says it was. I'm not kidding about that. During the pandemic, I got my MBA and every, I hadn't made the decision to be the implementer yet, and every time I got to leadership and strategic leadership and organizational chain, every time I was in those, You know, sessions, I would look back and say, traction does this better If you were a business under 200 employees.
Like there's, there's just no way I would ever bring whatever I'm learning in this MBA class down to most of the people I know, because it makes no sense. It's like, here's how you manage a 5 million directorship budget. Great. I wish my company had 5 million in revenue.
Most of what I learned in my MBA wasn't actionable in the same way. Traction is so like in our marketing material, when, when we talk about it, it's proven true. It's like it really is a set of timeless concepts. And I think what you would describe as sloppy, because I experienced that all my clients have experienced that so far.
And when I use it for myself, and I've used it in past businesses that I consulted with. Is that a lot of the answers that EEO s wants you to, or the actions that wants you to take is, Hey, did you talk, did you say anything? Did you bring it up? Did you have the conversation? Hey, are you upset at Mitchell? Mitchell's, my boss, have you talked to Mitchell? Have you brought it up? Does he know you are having the conversation? Have you tried to resolve this? Like so much of it is. Just enough guidance and structure to force healthy conflict, build trust. And that's like the basics, the fundamentals like you talked about, that you need.
And then the business can grow from there. Like it's, it's all about that simple stuff in there. So the EOS model itself, like the com, you know what, Gino took you and created and then got, you know, tested by implementers in the real world and. It comes down to six key components of the business.
That's the EOS model in there. And I'm happy to kind of like go through those at a high level if that's helpful here, but that's, that's the nuts and bolts of it. At a high level, we say e os gives you vision, meaning it gets everyone on the same page with where your company's going and how you're gonna get there.
It gets you traction so that means everyone knows on a daily basis what they're working towards, what their real priorities are and why. It doesn't just say, Hey, do this because do this. It's like, oh, I can actually reference what we're doing from a strategy perspective that's written in plain language that was clearly communicated to me and I can ask questions about, and I'm bought into.
So I know why I'm doing what I'm doing as an employee, as a leadership team, as an owner gives that cohesion. And then the last one is healthy, meaning that whatever level of team health you have when you're through the EOS process, we wanna see an increase in team health regardless of where your starting point is.
Cuz that's super important in there where, where that team health is critical, especially in the digital agency and software space. Yeah. So I feel like I get on a soapbox here. What, what do you think will be helpful for people here before I get on a soapbox?
Mitchell Kimbrough: Let's get into the six part framework.
Sure. But before we do, why, why? Like, why did I, why did I throw Solspace at EOS the way I did? A and, and the reason it's important is for anybody else listening to this thinking. Mm-hmm. This sounds a little bit like my range of problems. I wonder, eh, maybe I'll, maybe I'll pick up the book a couple of years from now. There's a story in traction. Something along the lines of a traveling salesman approaches. A farmer who's sitting on his porch and the farmer's dog is on the porch with him and the farmer's just rocking in his rocking chairs, sipping on some lemonade, and the dog is whimpering. And the salesman says to the farmer, why, why is your dog whimpering?
What's going on with that? Is it okay? Farmer says, yeah, it's whimpering because it's sitting on a nail. And the salesman says, well, why, why doesn't the dog get up off of the nails so it doesn't have to hurt anymore? And the farmer says, oh, well, because the nail doesn't hurt bad enough yet. Yeah. Yep. And that little story is, yeah, it's kind of hokey, but it's really stuck with me and I think about it daily, like, why didn't I fix this business sooner?
Because it didn't hurt enough. We, you know, were growing and continuing to succeed and getting good clients and doing good work for them, but there came a point where I could feel that we were stagnating and we were becoming complacent and. We were failing in a lot of the ways that traction calls out as catastrophic failures to watch out for.
And so the pain of being unable to fix these broken things over the years, so many years finally hurt too much. It was finally enough pain and somebody made the suggestion, Hey, what happens if you get up off of that nail? What would, what would it be like to remove the painful thing from your butt?
Yeah. You know, have you considered that? And here comes Leslie saying, Hey, why don't you get up off the nail? Let me show you how you lift your body up. And you, you know, you move away from the thing. And you make sure you never get there again. So, that's the impetus. We had a failure internally to confront one another.
It was not part of the culture. You're dealing with somebody who, I mean, don't take me to a cocktail party or a dinner party cuz I don't wanna be there. I don't want to be in a big group of people. Being loud and chatting it up. And part of that is I'm not a confrontational person. I would choose not to confront, but it's toxic.
Yeah. And we were failing fundamentally to confront one another about stuff. We would have an initiative. Hey, let's get onto better project management. So we're on Basecamp one. Leslie still Basecamp one? Yep. Let's get onto it. We've been talking about it for years. We should get onto a better thing.
You know, JIRA, click up Asana. Let's, let's, let's modernize. Okay, cool. And then somebody on the team would say, eh, I, I don't really like the ui, or, I don't know if that tracks time the way I want it to. And we wouldn't confront anybody and say, well, tough, you know back up what you're saying, gimme some data that says you're right.
And I, and I'm wrong. We wouldn't do any confrontation and we didn't make any progress and we didn't fix anything. That's just one of the many things that were part of the painful nail I was sitting on. So with that in mind, there's some gas in the tank, there's some fire under the butt. Now we talk about what this framework is.
We talk about the, the, the six components that make up traction. Yep. And for me, once I got the introduction to it, it all started to resonate. And I saw the 20 years of my life in the mirror, you know? So introduce us to that.
Leslie Camacho: Yeah. So the EOS model. Is made up of six heat components and the first one, the one that we always start with when introducing it is called the vision component.
And the vision component is exactly what it sounds like. What's your vision for the company? And oftentimes, and especially I think in agencies and software companies, is “we have a vision for a product. We have a vision for excellence in terms of quality of service or, or excellence of service.” Like I want, I want to deliver a world class experience to my clients and or want the software to, you know, enable this, and that's really important.
But this is a step above that saying. As a company, where do we want to be in 10 years, not just where the product is. And then what leads to that conversation in there. So the vision is getting everyone on the same page about where the company's going and how you get there. And the way that we do that start with is we ask eight fundamental questions of a business, the eight core questions, and they start with what are your core values?
You know, what do you really believe? And then more importantly, what do you actually live daily? And just on a personal level, this is what sold me on EOS versus other operating systems. There's other operating systems available, but, but EOS anchors the very start of the work on how you actually run your business, on your values.
And to me my progressive heart and there's in conservative hearts too. There's nothing about the progressive, but my background, I have a very mission-based background. I have to be on a mission. I can't just do things for money and anchor to that, okay, the work is going to help people live their values pragmatically.
You can't just be like Google and say, do no evil. You actually have to do good. You can't be lazy about it because they want the values to be practical. As an implementer, I want to work with companies to make sure you can hire, fire, reward - do all these things with the values and that they're, cuz they set the culture to everything else.
So that was super critical for me just at a personal level, oh, we get to start with core values cuz at MBA land, that's not how organizational change starts the vast majority of the time. And the second one is core focus. Like what do you do best in the world or what do you think you could do best in the world?
And like you mentioned earlier, a lot of this draws and takes inspiration from Jim College's Collins, good to great and the hedgehog concept. And then from there we say, you know, what's the 10 year target? Where do you want to be in 10 years? What's your number one business goal? Then we talk about what is your marketing strategy to get there?
You know, what are you gonna say to people? Who are you gonna actively pursue? And we have a specific way that we define it, that it's really simple. And then you can get sophisticated in the tactical side of it. But from a, from a strategy side, it's really straightforward. Then we say, what's your three year picture?
Let's look out three years, and here's where we start. Anchoring it. We ask you to pick revenue targets. Profit targets, and then what I love is like we get really kind of esoteric if we want, like what does it feel like to work here? Like in your mind's eye, what's Solspace like in three years, what do you wanna feel when you, you know, fire up the, or when you walk in the virtual door, so to speak, who do you wanna be surrounded with?
Who are you helping? And really kind of anchor a vision for the company in the short time span. Then we get even more practical. What's your one year plan? Let's map out three to seven goals. Less is more for the goal setting and get everyone aligned on those. And then we go into a quarterly plan.
We call them rocks. That's just a fancy way to say priorities. What are your priorities for the next 90 days? And then the last question is, what are the issues? What are the issues that are preventing the plan happening that you need to take advantage of? So an issue isn't necessarily just bad things, it's anything that you need to discuss as a leadership team in a productive way.
And you package all those, the answers to those eight questions up in a tool we call the vision Traction organizer. And you share it with your entire company. So you provide transparency and all these decisions, and you update it every single quarter, and you ask for feedback and input and that level of transparency.
Gives people the opportunity to say, yeah, I am, I am in, I'm in on this. I believe in our core values. I believe in our core focus. I believe where we're going long term. I agree with the goals, the rocks I'm in, and I know my part in it. And we call that shared by all. And so those two tools combined gives a really strong vision and so, If you never work with a professional person or you read traction on your own or you don't know if it's for you, like just starting with that tool regardless of what else you use, I think it's the most valuable getting started thing in there.
I. So that's the vision. I won't go quite as deep on the other ones, but that one was so important to me, anchoring those values because the entire strategy document for the company is two pages. Most I, and we've had this, this is why I, it's. EOS is not a technical company. We talk about pages still in a digital world, but you know, it's a short document, two printed pages.
We have a vision side of it, we have a traction side of it. You're answering great fundamental questions and sharing it with your entire team, and you're updating. It becomes a living document. You challenge these as assumptions and really begin to execute on that. So the second component is the people component.
And here we're, we talk about two things. We talk about having the right people. These are people that share your company's core values. They're the people that you are excited about to work with on a regular basis because they live out the values in a similar way that you do. And in particular, this gives things like, like EOS doesn't talk about this specifically, but in my experience, it really gives someone with like, really, that really wants to do diversity inclusion and take that.
It gives them a very practical way to say about D N I or are we actually living it and forces that conversation quite nicely, I think in a, in a productive way. Then we talk about right seats. So you have people that are a good fit for your company and right. Seats are the more traditional thing.
Do you have the skillset for the job? We have a. EOS loves it. Short terminology. So if you hear me say something that I didn't explain, please let me know. But we call it get it, want it capacity to do it. Do they get the job? Do they want to do it? And this is from an energy level. Like is it gonna excite them if they do this every day, are they gonna be fulfilled?
Are they gonna be happy about this job? And then the capacity to do it is do they have the skillset? I might love design every day, but I don't have the capacity to be a designer. And so you use that as a baseline to figure out, do you get, you know, do you have the right people on your team? Are they excited to go in the direction that you're going?
And if not, most of the time they're going to self-select out because you clearly articulated we are going this direction, are you in? And they can say yes or no. And then you can compassionately and responsibly deal with that in whatever way you need to. So what we're looking for here, and the reason we go to this as the second component after the vision is that we are looking to see if you have the right people in the wrong seats.
These are great people for your organization, but they're not good at their job, so let's find them a different seat in your organization. Let's cuz finding the right people is hard. And so if you can train 'em up, coach 'em up, if you can do something that gets them into that fulfilling capacity in terms of contributing to where you're going, it's worth doing most of the time.
Then the other key issue and the one that I personally had the hardest time with is the wrong person, right seat. And I think in Knowledge worker land, especially in, especially in the developer space, I think more so than other places. This is the person who is not, does not share your values, but is great at their job.
Really productive developers that are constantly tearing everyone down or, or political infighting in the team and, This is the one where I had the biggest challenge with, cuz I, I've worked with a number of developers, sometimes I've been this person so wrong. You know, if you don't share a company's values, doesn't, it's not an ethical or moral judgment on you.
It just means you're not, you don't have, you don't naturally live the values of the organization you're working with and that causes conflict. And so when that conflict happens, I. The right thing is to let that person go because it's not good for their career and it's not good for you. And they cause long-term damage almost immediately, whether you see it or not, it's happening in there.
So we have vision, get everyone on the same page. We have the right people, right seats, the people component. Make sure you have the right people at your organization. It really helps with long-term job satisfaction as well in there, cuz you're. Your explicit stated goal is to get people doing things they love, like it does its best to live the cliche out there.
Then we have the data component. So the data component, we are just doing our best to take the subjectivity out of the initial response. We want subjectivity out of our decisions. I couch that a little bit cuz there's an art and science to this, which you want is good data that informs your decisions in there.
And you wanna sub take the subjectivity out of the data gathering and then, Th use your expertise versus subjectivity in there? So we have probably the biggest driver of this is we have what's called the scorecard. It's usually just five to 10 five to 15 measurables. And everyone's responsible for a measurable in there and, Usually are leading indicators that drive the weekly activities of your business.
So it doesn't replace traditional financial reporting. Instead, it helps focus you on our, what are the five to 10, you know, 15 things that if we do this on a daily basis, we're probably healthy and lets us breed easy, lets us know if we're doing a good job as a whole and individually. And it can be a game changer once it's firing, you know, once it's really working well in a company.
So once we have vision, people and data, then what happens is you tend to then have a much much greater clarity on what's going on in your company as a whole. And you're gonna see where all the challenging, hard things are, whether they're opportunities or whether they're bad things you have to deal with.
Like things that have been hidden for so long and now they've festered. Usually at the start of a journey, you find something like that. Then as you go, they're much less challenging, at least out of. People level. And so we have the issues component, And the issues component. It's a very lightweight system of making sure that the important things and sometimes the not important things just get discussed on a regular basis.
And more importantly, it's not discussed, but they're solved. And this is the eyeopener for people once they practice it. And so, It's the, I can describe it all I want, but until you've actually tried it, it's harder to let it sink in that you're not discussing things, you're solving them together as a team routinely.
And this is a methodology. It's almost like a philosophy and the root of it is that a bad decision is better than no decision. And this goes back to like your, you know, we've been on base camp one, we should do this, but we discussed the hell out of it, but we haven't actually gotten to a solve yet.
And so we use a process called IDs, which is identify, discuss, and solve. And so we can have these big chunky issues that get, you know, quote, I'm gonna put solved here in quotes, because EOS has a specific definition of that where you don't move. If we start solving an issue, we don't move on to the next one till we know what the next action we need to take is and who's taking it.
That's a solve, or we've determined it's not an issue, and either way we move it on the list, get it to the next one, and then there's accountability and follow up there and it's, this is easily the part that takes people by surprise the first time they hear it. Like most of the time there's a lot of doubt.
And then, Eight weeks later, people were like, I don't know how, we didn't have this sort of really great way to talk about and actually take action on our most pressing challenges and opportunities on a regular basis. So that leads to the fifth component. That's process. Process is just documenting, usually it's between eight to 10 of the core processes.
In a business, there's a way that you do sales, a way you do marketing, a way you deliver value through products or services. And EOS really champions an entrepreneurial 20/80 approach where documenting here just means what it's. The 20% that you need to write down or somehow capture in media and communicate, that gets 80% of the process complete.
So you're really looking for something lightweight. You don't wanna end up with like a 300 page, you know, standard opera operating procedural manager. You want living documents that are easy to update and easy to follow in there, and you're just looking to capture the core ones. And getting to that spirit of the documentation is a meaningful part of scaling the business and of making everyone's life easier if you just write it down in there.
And hopefully any developers listening to this, Comment your code. It's similar. Like, why do we make this decision again a year and a half later looking at our code? We were dumb. And then hopefully someone left a code comment and said, oh, that's why it's a similar in spirit to that. And like imagine the amount of code you write versus the amount of comments you write that help you remember why you wrote that code.
That way it's similar, similar in spirit there. And so then the last component we just called the traction component. And this is about how we live. It's the cadence of life inside the business. So the way we look at this cadence is there's an annual strategy meeting. So you have a one year cadence, an annual two day strategy.
And this is super challenging. We do trust builders. We really. Take the time to deep dive a bunch of stuff and then solve issues together, then that goes back into a 90 day world where every 90 days we know what our priorities are. In EOS language, it's the rocks. Everyone at the company knows a priority.
Everyone has at least one rock. They're contributing to and responsible for that lineup with the goals, and they're taking action on. And you just go nose to the ground for those 90 days as much as possible. You don't want any swing states, you don't. You wanna avoid the rollercoaster there in terms of those priorities.
Put first things first, and then you come up for air. You quarterly confirm things, see what needs to be adjusted, what did we learn? Then you plan the next quarter. And then there's a weekly cadence that we call the level 10 meeting. And this is the other game changer. Like people that get good at L 10 s, it changes what, how they think about meetings.
And when this tool was first introduced to me, what, what I was told is, you will hate meetings that aren't L 10 s in 90 days. And I was like, sure, whatever. And now I hate being in meetings that aren't. Level 10 structured meetings in there. And the basic premise is you report on everything very fast, and then you spend the lion's share of your time actually solving issues together, doing real work, helping each other out, having each other's backs, putting all your energy and spirit with your egos at the door. And when you have healthy teams getting in there into healthy conflict, helping the best ideas win, and then taking actions on them, and that's your expectation week to week. It changes the nature of how you think about the people you work with and hopefully how they think about you as well.
And that's how you keep things there. And I think in this, since you know it's likely agency owners, the important thing about the traction in the meetings is that these layer on top or go in concert with operational philosophies or methodologies, like I'm also a certified scrum master and product owner and I love Kanban.
And so this is not a replacement for that. It helps make those things more effective. I. In there. So it layers on top of that. And often with agencies, we do some tweaking, especially for the team, at the team level about how these work with those things. There. So it's not an operational value delivery way, this is a leadership and management way to keep everyone's solution focused on a reg, on a regular basis.
That's just fantastic in my experience. So, that’s the overview, that's traction and the EOS model in a nutshell. You have vision people, data issues, process and traction. Those are the six key components, and when we talk about putting them into a company, we actually measure progress on that.
And if you are a do-it-yourself implementer, this is the best tip I have for you is to measure progress. Like I can send you the link if there's show notes and stuff where you can just do an organizational checkup. You're all, everyone in your organization can take it and they can, it'll give you progress on each, on, on how well these po components are being integrated into your business.
And it typically takes one to two years to get to a really solid state. Like that's, that's short term. When it comes to changing the way, changing how you run a business, that's a good expectation. Is it, it's gonna take a year, year and a half to get the whole thing in place, but you see the effect within the first 60, 90 days, sometimes a lot faster.
Mitchell Kimbrough: So we laid out the framework. We see the broad strokes of the system, and I think we call that a wrap for now. When we come back two weeks from now, I wanna talk about a few things in particular within the system you outlined. I wanna talk about L tens, I wanna talk about scorecards.
Leslie Camacho: Yeah, get it. Want it. Capacity to do it. Capacity to do it. Yeah. The right seat component.
Mitchell Kimbrough: The idea of seats. Once, I got to that part of the book and the part of the book that said, oh, by the way you may have a bunch of different seats and a different structure in your company. You're always gonna have these three.
Four, three or four. Always gonna have these. If you don't, you're a knucklehead and you're about to go outta business. Yep. The concept of seats and the concept of people who are accountable for what lands in that seat, and there's a scorecard that confronts the entire team every week in the L 10 for each of the seats, the scores that we're tracking for your seat.
Where are we? How many leads came in? How many content pieces did you publish? How many sales calls did you have? How many bills are behind, how many clients are behind in payment? Like all these scorecard metrics hold the people in the seats accountable. The great thing about this, and I wanna get into this in the next episode, the superpower here is, All the anxiety we fear, certainly in the United States, about confronting one another about performance and execution.
Did you do it? Why didn't you do it? Did you finish it? Why didn't you finish it? It all dissolves if you do it every week.
Leslie Camacho: Yes. Yeah. Becomes normative.
Mitchell Kimbrough: Yep. If you go for a run every morning, is it hard to go for a run every morning? No. It's pretty easy. If you go for a run once a month, it's hard to go for that run.
It's virtually impossible. You have to put down the chocolate cake and put your shoes on, go outside and go for a run. It's so much easier when it's a steady cadence and a steady routine, it hurts a lot less. So that's probably one of the first things I want to get into. But Leslie Camacho, thanks for getting us kicked off here, and we have some more detailed stuff to talk about on our next episode.
Leslie Camacho: All right, sounds great. I'm glad to be here. Looking forward to the next one.