Mitchell Kimbrough Welcome to the Soul Space Podcast. Thanks for listening. Okay, welcome back, everybody to the Soul Space Podcast. This is Mitchell Kimbro, founder of Soul Space. , joining me again to continue our conversation is Leslie Camacho, who is speaking to us not only as a. Lifelong friend of mine, but also as an e o s implementer.
We're talking about the entrepreneurial operating system, , based in and connected to a book by Gino Wickman, by the name of traction. And in the previous episode, we went through the fundamental six components of the EOS system , and Leslie gave us a walkthrough of what those components were. And, we're gonna get into some more of the more interesting details here of what I personally think are some of the more powerful parts of the EOS framework.
And by way of introducing one of the topics I wanna tell a quick story, my two girls, 11 and 13, they're competitive horseback riders. They write English, and at this point, all my money's gone. It. It's all gone. So it all goes to that sport. We own two horses and they're boarded , at a place 40 minutes away from where we live.
It is not unusual for people in the horse world to live in one place and have to drive every single day twice a day to where the horses live. We were part of a team and we worked with a coach and other team members, and we all boarded at the same place. And we had all been getting frustrated with different problems at this facility.
And no one seemed to be willing to confront the owner about our grievances. No one seemed to want to approach this lady. The reason nobody was willing to is because we were all too scared that she'd get mad at us and kick us out. It's not easy to find a place to board a competitive horse , like a horse show, kind of a horse, and a place where you can exercise and ride and practice going over the jps and doing all the different events.
It's difficult to find that anywhere in the country. So if you find it, hang on to it. We didn't want to confront her because we were scared she was gonna kick us out. , but at some point it became a little weird to me. I was thinking, wait a minute. She seems pretty rational and normal. Why are we scared to talk to this person?
So I finally had a conversation with her and took a deep breath and just sat down and confronted her about a bunch of the issues that we'd been having, and she was of course, incredibly receptive. She was really open to hearing all the things that were bothering us. She runs a business. It's incredibly capital intensive to run this kind of facility.
She needs to keep her clients, she needs to maintain those relationships. It matters to her that people come to her and complain so that she can do something about it. Apparently, our plan was to just get up and secretly leave one day and move to another facility once we found one. The reason I bring this up is one of the superpowers of the EOS system, the framework is that you bake con confrontation in every step of the way.
In particular, you make the leadership team and each department, they have a weekly opportunity and, and sort of a weekly, weekly requirement to confront issues facing the company and confront each other about. Who and what and how are they gonna deal with those issues? And I think that's tremendously important because, , so many of us are wired to just procrastinate.
Just wait a little bit longer. Maybe it'll get better. Maybe we'll deal with it tomorrow. Oh, we had a great plan, now we're gonna take care of it. No follow up. Two weeks later. We totally forgot about the thing because we're putting out another fire. One of the greatest parts of this is the L 10 meetings every week.
And the scorecard that creates an opportunity for you to confront one another about problems that demand attention. So Leslie, maybe we could talk a little bit about the structure of the L 10 meeting and the concept of the scorecard and what it means to have steady, consistent confrontation on a regular basis.
If this, the owner of this facility had been. If we'd been talking to her every week about our issues, it would not have been scary any given time to approach her and confront her about another issue cuz we would've been in the practice. We've been in the habit of having real healthy conversations with this person, but we went the opposite direction.
I find that to be really interesting and it's sort of a mirror image of what's happened at my company over recent years. Yeah.
Leslie Camacho: , and what you're talking about isn't unusual. I had similar problems with confrontation. I don't like it and it's weird for me as an implementer because I am really good at helping other people confront each other.
I sometimes get described as calm in the center of the storm and facilitating stuff. So it's definitely an area where what I can do for others, I still have a really hard time doing for myself. And prior to EOS it was really bad, , as well. , so I hear you there and I. Again, thinking about my experience with agencies, one of the things I find where this happens the most is where the teams like each other, like they personally like each other, but there's no model guidance, training , introduction on what healthy conflict looks like.
So the, , the tool you talk about is the level 10 meeting. So to give some context to that is, I, so what, let me back up. So one of the things that EOS tries to do very intentionally, and one of the things that I, even as an implementer, the more I learn new things about how US works with every single client, every time I'm preparing for a session and the intentionality behind the simplicity is amazing to me.
So the level 10, I think is in there, is one of the tools where this comes out. So, Around, I don't know if it was written before traction or not, and I, , I don't want to go looking through book covers to find out at the moment, but there's a book by Patrick Lencioni called The Five Dysfunctions of a Team That is one of the best team health books, , written in the business world, especially for small businesses and leadership teams.
So, EOS incorporates that. And what traction does is, it takes Lencioni's, , five dysfunctions pyramid and it says, how can we work on that base level that's just called trust, open, honest, vulnerable trust. Because if our tools build trust in that bottom base of the pyramid, there's an effect that cascades up to each level in there.
And without derailing us into lencia on's pyramid, the context for a lot of the discussion around scorecard and L 10 is that we take that idea of fundamental team trust, , and individual trust to be paramount to having healthy conflict. And healthy conflict at a very simple definition means if we have a disagreement, Mitchell, it's because we have a disagreement of ideas.
Not a trust issue between us. You know, it's not, oh, Mitchell's trying to screw me. So of course he's suggesting this. So now I'm fighting Mitchell's idea cuz Mitchell's fighting me. And that's what we are afraid of. And it's rarely the reality. Like, rarely do you have bad actors that are that menacing.in there.
It happens, it definitely happens. So I don't wanna discount it. , but we are trying to always build that base level of trust. So the level 10 meeting happens once a week for the leadership team. And you may have, , this exact same agenda or a modified agenda for, for some teams or departments, depending on the language you use.
But the agenda is, is this. You have what we call a segue and you're just sharing a piece of personal good news and business, good news from the last week. Tell us something good. So you're taking a posture of positivity and celebrating each other at the very start. You're going into this no matter what challenges we are about to face A little while from now we know that something good has happened in our lives. Something good has happened in the business. Even if, hey, we put a fire out. Yeah, it's still smoldering and there's real work, but hey, the fire's out. , measure small gains, celebrate victories, all that sort of thing.
And it's just, just a quick, like, Hey, a reminder that we really like and appreciate each other here. That's why we're here. Then the next sections are all reporting, and this is the biggest challenge for new team teams. New to this, it's strict reporting. So we have rocks. These are the priorities, and so you're reporting on your, are your rocks on track or off track?
And so it's literally like here's the priority. And then every rock has an owner. So like if, if you are running that meeting, it's Leslie, here's the rock. I read it verbatim. Is it on track or off track? And even if you know the answer, you're saying it out loud. The out loud part matters. You're not just reading data off the sheet.
I, Leslie, need to commit. Hey Mitchell, let's off track. Then immediately that gets flagged for potential discussion, but you don't discuss it now. So you go through all your rocks, off track, on track, then you do the scorecard in the same way. And again, the scorecard that we talked about, these are just weekly activities.
It could be something like, did you make your sales calls? , what's our profitability? Like, if you have a way to measure project health, like whatever that number is, someone's responsible for that number. And so again, you're j and every one of these measurables has a goal. So again, it's just, is this measurable on track or off track?
And the person responsible for it gives the update on track, on track, on track, off track. If it's off track, immediately becomes a potential issue to discuss. And so, You do. It's about five minutes for rocks to report that way. It's about five minutes for the scorecard. And then we have headlines. What else good and rad is happening with our clients, customers, employees, and again, just reporting.
Here's the headline, here's what's going on so and so, and anything that's notable, good, bad, or ugly becomes something to discuss. Then there's a to-do list baked into it. And here in EOS, this type of to-do list, it's not anyone's personal productivity system. It's an accountability tool where every, every meeting, if there's an action to be taken, it gets recorded as a to-do that someone is committing to taking in the next seven days, so that when you come to your next one, you're gonna get an update, , and you're looking for about a 90% completion rate on those to-dos on a weekly basis.
So, and again, just reporting this get done, done, not done, done, not done, you go through, so in the first 15 ish minutes of your meeting, you have covered every single critical piece of your business. Every single week. Is it going well or is it not? Week in, week out, you're reporting the good, bad, and ugly and it, it just becomes normative.
I think that's what we used at the last word is like the hard things become easy to talk about if you're talking about 'em every single week. And, and you're just reporting. That's it. Then you're spending the majority of the rest of your time. It should be 60 of the 90 minutes solving issues together, using what we talked about last, , last time.
The IDs system, the identity, the root cause. Sometimes we talk about this three year old mode. You are trying to identify the root cause of the issue and you just keep asking why, why is it the root cause? Why? And you're looking for agreement on the team. Once you're agreed on, you've identified the root cause.
You're discussing solutions. You're not discussing it for discussion sake. You've identified what the cause is. Now, what are the potential solutions everyone has? And the real, the really good rule here guideline. If you don't like, the word rule is don't repeat yourself. If I'm repeating like, Mitchell, this is the right solution, three other people go, no, I'm gonna bring it up again.
This is it. I'm really trying to argue my saying, Nope, we heard you, we got it. You know, like you just say it once as much as possible. And active listening really helps in that. No politicking, you know, trust that you've been heard and then. Once you agree on the solution, then you identify what to solve and you don't have to solve the entire thing.
Like just to take something, let's say a, a big chunky pro client project's off track. So, and like your, your client services team has let you know that this project is now over budget. Something needs to be done. And there you're not trying to figure out every single thing that has to be done to get that client back on track.
You're just trying to figure out what is the next action that someone needs to take to get the thing back on track. That's the solve. Do you know the next action that you can take in the next seven days or sooner if necessary? Someone's assigned to take it and you get an update the next week, sometimes sooner.
If it's a, if it's a real critical client action, you need faster follow up on. Then you just repeat that process, , and you don't move from one issue to the next till you get a solution done. So once you start discussing an issue, you are committed to a solution. Before you move on, what's the next action that's gonna let us progress this?
Then you drop it off the list. And data, people sometimes get an intake of breath when, especially if I'm in session, I'm deleting something like, well, we know the next action. Do you trust they're gonna take it? Yep. Okay. Why do we need to keep it? There's no, it's not the actual project file I'm deleting.
It's just a placeholder for what we need to talk about. , and you repeat that sometimes you get through one issue cuz it's really chunky, requiring some deep diving to get to the why and then a potential solution. And sometimes you get through 10 and sometimes it's three and six, but you just make it routine.
And so the challenging thing is just like, oh, this is just something else to deal with. And it builds trust because every single week, you know, I have a format and a form where I can, anyone can put an issue on the list. , and anyone in the company should have an issues list that they can contribute to and know that someone's going to look at it and take it seriously.
And so week in, week out, you're starting on time, you're ending on time, and you're spending at least an hour solving the most important problems, , and taking advantage of the best opportunities that are coming before your team on a, on a regular basis. All from the posture of, Hey, we really like each other.
Here's good news. Building trust from the very beginning, quick reporting to identify anything new that needs to be done. And then we're prioritizing for the good of the company and we're off to the races with it. You do that every week. It's a game changer.
Mitchell Kimbrough This system addresses, there're many fallacies that we, that we survive through as we're running businesses and doing our, you know, just going about our work.
But two that are the most pernicious that I see are one, only I can fix this. And two, one of these days, there will be a week with no problems. So these are two fallacies that are never ever gonna happen in a business. It's never gonna be the case that one person can go out and be the rainmaker and bring in three new clients when it's urgent to have new business come in the door.
No such thing. And the other piece is, , there's no such thing as, , the, the, a good day in the sense of, Hey, there weren't any problems today. A good day is, this is some fun puzzles we encountered today. So there's a mindset question that, , that, that you're sort of compelled to embrace when you, when you embrace this framework and the mindset is there's always issues.
And I, if you're walking around as a team thinking, ah, man, we're, we're such a failure as a team. Cuz there always seems to be issues. What's wrong with us? There's always no, you're totally missing the point of running a business. Yep. That's the fun of it. There's always some fun challenge around the corner.
Oh, you put that fire out, good job. Hey, we started another fire in the backyard. You better get out there pretty quick. So it's, it's a mindset shift that says every, well, our L tens are every Monday at nine 30, every Monday at nine 30, Mitchell's gonna find out about a bunch of problems. Well, it's much better to find out about a bunch of problems every week and have a system to tackle 'em and follow up on the efforts to solve them.
Then to quietly hope for the best and hope that there's no issues or problems until they, , you know, explode and blow up the whole place. You, you can, the other piece, there's no such thing as one person. Owning the thing all by themselves. Yeah. You own it. As a team, some of the pressures I'm under as a business owner, I tried to carry and , and shoulder for 23 years all by myself.
Why'd I do that? Because I was a macho man. Bravado. I was like, , I'm not gonna admit that I can't do this by myself. I'll do this, I'll do this by myself. I handle it. I can just work longer, work harder, sleep less. And this is one of the things that they talk about in traction. If you agree to share the load as a team.
You're able, your brain works again, you're able to function again because you're not under this incredible pressure where you can't even, your mind is not even free to move around to think of solutions. So I find that these two parts of the L 10 structure and the scorecard are things that I was craving.
I was starving for these things for all the years I was running my business. And they're finally there in a format that can be embraced by everybody, where we can get buy-in, in a system that keeps us disciplined so that we don't drift and fall away from this, this sort of a focus. So can you talk about those two fallacies and, , you know, is it just me and my business, or is every single business on planet Earth plagued with these two things.
Leslie Camacho: I don't know if it's everyone, but I've yet to meet the exception. , but for sure you're not alone in that, , in there. And , you know, I. When we talk about accountability and things like everyone has a number and measurables, there's usually a couple of responses in there. Like it's, I've never been accountable in that way before.
And so is, is this a way to micromanage me or is , or is this for real? And, what we find is going back to what we talked about last time, this is where your core values make a big difference in how each company lives this out uniquely, it's micromanaging. If you're a micromanager, it's empowering. If you're core values, value, teamwork.
So like, Hey, because I'm accountable for this and for what you just said, I thought because, because my boss never asked me about this. I thought I shouldn't get help and I should just shoulder it alone. Now I know I can bring this to my team every single week, and they go, Hey, Leslie, you're having problems with this.
Tell us about it. What's the root here? Can we help? How can we sort this out? Like it's important? , and sometimes it'll reveal personal things that you have to take seriously and now your team knows about. And if you have the right people living the values there, you're gonna have someone that has, like, they're gonna have your back.
And that goes back to that open, honest, vulnerable, like bottom or the pyramid level of trust that allows the conflict to be about what's happening and not the person, even though the person is maybe directly impacted by it. , And so in the system, when we go through this process, because it's exactly what you say, you're gonna bring your toughest challenges and biggest opportunities.
And opportunities usually mean risk. And maybe that can mean change and then that's gonna lead to other conflicts. Like there's a, we can go it, you know, speaking for myself and, and definitely people I've worked with, we can go from imagining a single problem to a hundred problems in about five seconds on our own and suddenly it feels overwhelming.
And all I really needed to say was to have the courage to say, Hey, help me out with this. , and to have people that you really respect and admire meeting with you for 90 minutes every week to meet those challenges together. It is empowering when you get the setup and rolling in that direction.
And you get to do, because it's. You get to ease other people's burdens too. Like you can see how these things start interrelating, and especially when there's businesses that have cross-functional teams or cross-discipline, or they're really chunky, complex stuff. Like we're not just, you know, we're not, well, I don't know.
I know I wanna be careful. Manufacturing's really complex, but it's not like we're just like, we're not selling firewood, you know? No, no. Knock against anyone who sells firewood. That's a real legitimate business too, but, And software, and especially if we're talking like 50, a hundred thousand, million dollar service contracts.
Those are chunky, complex things that you have to show up with your best self and help each other out with and this goes back to this simplicity of building trust together like that just on a weekly basis to make that normative. And if you do that with your leadership team, going back to what I said about last time, it gives you practice in key personal leadership and management skills that then you take back to your own teams, to your own people, regardless of their, your direct reports or peers or however that is structured there.
You take that same mentality of we have each other's backs. It's very clear. Nothing's hidden. We know what we're accountable for. If I'm done early, I can look at the scorecard and say, oh, hey, like, you know, Nate needs help. He's late. Can I pick up the phone, make a few sales calls? I can go read that. Like if it's that whatever's appropriate there, you can pick up and help.
And like that level of transparency, just, , as you can tell, I get excited about it because it, it, the healthy part makes a difference. , one, one of the things. That we talk about with clients early on, and , I think it, I think they talk about this early, and I don't remember where exactly in traction they talk about this, but they talk about one of the outcomes that you want for your leadership team.
As, again, for me personally, what I love about EOS is that it helps you, it helps leaders create other leaders. So it makes you a better leader, better manager. And now you can go and do that for other people too. And that is one of the breakthrough things that you need is those skills, regardless of what your technical or skill set is.
If you don't have that, it's really challenging. So when we talk about that, we talk about making teams, , healthy and smart, and in our world we get smart by default, like the types of problems that we encounter just on a daily basis, whether it's design, UX, code, you know, challenging process problems, connecting different platforms, , like even just launching software these days, getting it.
From staging to production, like that's a super complicated process. Like we can't help but get smart. It's the healthy part that you have to be intentional about. Are we putting as much effort into staying healthy as a team as we are into getting smart and do we actually know what that means? And so going back to what I love about the simplicity about EOS is that it forces you to have the type of conversations that create that base level, open, honest, vulnerable health.
And here I'm referencing Lencioni's Pyramid. , five, the, , the five dysfunctions of a team pyramid. It forces those conversations that build that trust, that trust leads to healthy conflict. That healthy conflict leads to real commitment because now you're committing to the best idea from people that you know, like, and trust.
If you have real commitment, you have real accountability, because now I'm in it, like I, I'm invested in this success and I'm gonna do my part in this and help others do theirs too. And then you get the results you want. So the results or the outcome of that process. And so EOSs tool set from that opening of the L 10 is designed to build that base level trust.
And it sounds so simple, like, Hey, what was a personal best this week? And sometimes it's like, Hey, I can't do my personal best because I. Something big's going on at home. Can I just share it quickly? And so you don't let it derail it, but you acknowledge, like sometimes you have hard weeks. You, you're not looking, you don't want the paced smile, pretend everything's all right.
You want that. I have your back going into these things, , with it. And so, There's so much of that, that once it just gets built, it builds that level of trust. And then you, as you have the opportunity to practice it, like you pointed out week in and week out, then you get good at it and it just increases it.
And that enables you to teach it to other people inside. Inside the company and then pretty soon the entire organization is living a version of that that increases the overall health of the company.
Mitchell Kimbrough So you have this combination of scorecard and a weekly pulse, L 10, just like this steady cadence of, , let's go extract some issues and pull 'em out of the mud and deal with them before they come back and bite us.
The power of the scorecard is that it understands, it knows that we don't see the future. Now I met a handful of people who are so smart that they can see the future. They can see the sequence of events like a chess player. They can see 20 moves ahead and they can come to the L 10. They can say We're about to be, , you know, in the red because so-and-so is gonna topple on that, and that's gonna hit that and that's gonna make that fall down and then we're gonna be broke.
There are some people who can do that. Sometimes they can, but EOS knows that that's not a real thing. EOS knows that as a team you can see the future. And if you build up a framework in a system where you're asking the question of what's in the future, , and, and, and how are we measuring these things that are indicators of what's in the future, then you bubble up these issues and no, no single person on the team has to see the future.
It's, , there, there's this methodology that, that exposes it to you. And before it's too late, well, before it's too late, you're taking action and you're, you have a follow-up system the next week to find out if the action that was planned to resolve the issue that you were able to see in the future because of the scorecard.
, where, where are we with that? Are we outta the woods on that? Can we take on the next issue? So I, when I saw that I was in, that's, so there's some things about the EOS system that brought you. , to adopt it. That convinced you of it. But that was the piece that got me because until that I was running a company where I would go to my operations person, I'd say, Hey, are we okay?
Yeah, sure. We're great. Okay. Are you sure? Yeah, yeah, for sure. We're, we're fine. , I is, how's that, , retainer contractor? , you know, are we, I I heard that they got a promotion and they're gonna move on. Who's gonna be our lead contact now? That's the biggest contract we have. Is it? Sure. Yeah, it's fine. I don't, I don't see anything wrong.
I got a bad feeling and I don't know why I have a bad feeling. I don't like bad feelings and I can't characterize why my intuition is telling me that there's a serious problem here. But EOS gives me the tools to poke and prod and ask those questions or have a scorecard that asks me. Do you know what's happening here?
Are you paying attention to this? You said you was going to two months ago, you committed to this scorecard. Are you paying attention to it? So can we talk about that overlap between those two things?
Leslie Camacho: Yeah. So, the scorecard, just real quick, what, what we're talking about, , and, and to give context, so the scorecard at the leadership team level and, and you can have scorecards for different departments.
Sometimes individuals will want a scorecard, though that's not as common. So let's keep it to just a leader to leadership team scorecard for the sake of, , this discussion here. So a scorecard is any, anywhere from five to 15 measurables. We wanna keep it simple, keep it really condensed, and we're trying to identify what are the five to 15 numbers that if we knew these numbers, then they're a leading indicator of our overall company health.
So, Some people listening, if you have some business background, they have a lot of overlap with KPIs key and some of the other things. And like some KPIs can be on a scorecard, but a scorecard is not meant to replace traditional financial reporting or forecasting. It is meant to be an addition to that that gets put in front of the leadership team every single week.
So the trick with scorecards that I think makes it pretty unique for EOS is that you're gonna have a handful of numbers that may look like traditional that, , that not may just look like they are gonna be traditional KPIs or metrics that you might see for a healthy business. So you might have things like, how's our cashflow this week?
Or, , you know, how, what's the total amount of revenue, , forecast of revenue or pipeline? , and. And I realize I missed out a key thing that they're measured weekly, not monthly. You're, you're updating these once a week. , in there. Yeah.
Mitchell Kimbrough A month is too late. It's too late. You can't fix it. It's broken and you're in trouble.
Leslie Camacho: Yep. And you're keeping track of 13 weeks of rolling history so you can see trends. And so every measurable has a goal for that. So I like to use, , if I want. , you know, I want the number of leads every week to be x, you know, so to speak, , in there. And then that example is where the scorecard starts being different because we don't, we want things on the scorecard that we have control of.
Not every single number is gonna work. Again, you're gonna have some traditional metrics on there that get measured and reported weekly, , and usually your CFO or the, you know, the finance person and the ops person are gonna have some key drivers in there. But the majority of the scorecard is probably gonna be activities based because what we want to do is, If, if the number of calls is important to me or the number of inbound leads is important to me, what are the key activities that create inbound leads?
That's what I wanna measure. The, , the activities that we are doing day in, day out, that lead to the results we want. Because if you lead the results, then if you're missing the results, you're still kind of, I'm not sure why this nber's down, because I don't know what the activities are that lead to this number.
So businesses can engage in a large number of activities and they might be critical for departments. So we're really trying to boil it down to really the five 15 that are really critical, that if, you know, these are good. Overall, you're probably okay at least for this quarter or at least for the next couple months.
And getting to that point can be challenging. It's often one of the most grueling processes of getting into EOS because then you really have to decide what's actually important and then who's driving that. And those are questions that often are written on a job description but not tracked, , outside of a crm or, you know, usually a bunch of Google spreadsheets or something like Maven or Monday or some project management software.
And when they're extrapolated at a high level and tracked as activities, then you start beginning to realize, oh, we're just not making calls every week. Like that's the reason it's down. We know that the key activity that gets our best leads is this. So we start measuring that activity. Are we actually doing that activity?
If we're doing that, there's a good chance that all the surrounding E activities around it are also healthy. Those would get tracked elsewhere. It's not like this replaces time tracking or any of that stuff, like especially in agency land, but having this high level view in the business is so critical cuz it gets you into that exercise.
Are we doing the most important things consistently? Weekend, wake out daily. However, that gets, well the scorecard is reported weekly, but it asses daily activities are happening to drive those things and that someone's owning them, and then you can have real discussions about what's going on instead of saying, you know, why are.
What's happening with inbound leads? Well, I think who's in charge of that? Is it marketing or is it sales or growth or, I think it's this, it's like, no, there's a very specific person that's driving that number and accountable for it and they should be able to answer. Yeah, so-and-so was out sick this week, so we didn't have the slack to do that.
I don't think it's an issue because they're back and so the nber's gonna be off this week. , but we can make it an issue if you want. And so the rule of the scorecard is if it's off two weeks in a row, you're just making it an issue for potential discussion there. But that's what you're talking about. I know that things that keep my company healthy, I'm getting reports on them every week.
And it's not just the businessy metrics, it's the activities that people are engaged in and really helping understand, you know, are you doing the things that are leading to, to a healthy company. , and then from an employee's standpoint, it's a really easy way to say, I'm doing my job. Because if there's two or three activities you're responsible for on a weekly basis, plus your rocks, then from a really high level, just to gut check am I doing a good job for Soul Space?
I can say, Hey, my rocks are on track. I'm reporting on them every week. I can show progress. I'm meeting my numbers every week. And I've agreed, you know, with Mitchell that these are the right numbers. , and you know, we can address whether they should go up or down based on results. But we agreed this is the job.
At a high level, even though you might have a lot of surrounding activities, the key things are done so that in the moment, like if I'm talking about something like I don't know what to do on a daily basis. Or how do I design my day? Or a call comes in, an opportunity comes in as, as a person doing the work, I can make an on the spot decision without asking anybody that I'm, I made the right decision, Hey, I got an opportunity to do this, but this is not related to my scorecard.
It's not related to my rocks. It's really important. I want to do it, but it's now gonna be the third thing I'm doing now, it's not gonna disrupt the first two. And so you can make clear, easy decisions on those things, , and you will know when the exceptions are, cuz the exceptions are governed by whatever core values you have in there.
So if you have, like for us, we have a help first core value. So even if I have this thing that is my priority, if I have a client that's in trouble or you know, someone needs help in their part of that network that I have committed to, then my core values drive that decision. So it really gives autonomy to do great work in the moment.
But it's a, but it's transparent autonomy so that you go back and explain why you did things that you did and then you just do it accordingly on a regular basis. So some version of that happens over time is at companies when you have this great scorecard in place that, again, going back to the previous episode where we talked about the right people, right seat.
When you have people that are in the right seats, when they look at that number, they're like, I get to do this for my job. This is what I love doing. It's what I'm best at. And it takes a while for that to kind of fall into place for everybody. But once it does, you start feeling that small decisions over time.
Net effect that lifts everyone and gets you the results that you want over time and if you're not getting them, you'll know you'll have a much clearer understanding of why you're not getting them for whatever reason, good, bad, or ugly.
Mitchell Kimbrough So, before we run out of time, , there's obviously a lot to cover.
We haven't talked about core focus. Mm-hmm. And it's not that it's not important, it just didn't come up yet cuz I drove the conversation around the primary pain points I've experienced as a business owner. But core focus is also a fundamental problem that I have not effectively addressed over time. , you know, I run a web development company and we were there from the beginning, like we helped build the internet like a lot of people of our generation.
, and it was easy. It was easy to get business because everybody needed a website, but now it's crowded. And you have to differentiate just like anybody else in a competitive sector of the economy and you, you have to have a sense of positioning. You have to have a sense of what it is that you do. And this is derived from Good to Great, not necessarily directly from traction.
Traction has its version of this, but this idea that you have some concept of this fundamental thing that you do and you do better than anybody else in the world that you're passionate about doing, that drives your economic engine, that brings money into the business. So this sense of a core focus, maybe you could talk about that core.
See, the reason I remembered to make sure we talk about it as you were talking about core values, and you've mentioned core values over and over again because they are the framework, they are the, the filter through which you pass all these other decisions. What's on the scorecard? I don't know. What are the core values?
Which issues are we gonna tackle? We got 10, we got time for three. Which ones are we gonna get onto? I don't know. What are the core values? What's the core focus? Answers a lot of questions about marketing, sales, , you know, client selection, hiring, firing. So you, can you tell me a little bit about within the EOS, core, VA core focus.
Leslie Camacho: Yeah.
So, , I, I'll run with where my subconscious wants me to go to answer that, , because yes, it pulls quite a bit from the Hedgehog concept and Good to Great. And when I'm working with Teams, good to Great. The book we give is homework prior to talking about Core focus. , I, but I think in, in what your question brought up to me is, is , I think his name is si, Simon Sinek has a classic Ted talk about why the core focus is your why.
It really begins to define, we are here as a company to do this thing to the best of our abilities for this target, for this niche, or in this way. And there's some version of that, like we have some. We have some ways to help frame it, to help people really dial into what it is. And we joke that we say at the beginning of these sessions, like, your core focus is gonna take you anywhere from 45 minutes to 10 years to figure out, like, it's like, it's, it's really tricky.
It's not always obvious and it's fine tuned, but the research from Good to Great, , that we come back with this plus, you know, EOS Worldwide own experience. , but the research from Good to Great that Jim Collins did is super interesting because the benefit from having a core focus is simply from having one.
Yeah. Which is so weird. Yeah. It's like if you have a core focus, you're more likely to have a successful business regardless of what that core focus is Now. Uniquely to the company's core focus, it matters a lot, right? So you can't just say, our core focus is to have a core focus, even though the research says something that db should be effective.
But what I'm saying is you don't have to have it perfected. You just have to start with one and then iterate it and get going in a direction that you test at least once a quarter. And for sure your annual, you do it, but the core focus is your reason for being. It's not so what? It's different from a marketing positioning.
And because this is not external, it's internal and you, it's part of your story. And so it's really helpful for when, like, if some, if someone's deciding to join your company, you tell it as part of your core values. So I forget which implementer to credit. , , but one of my coaches, , told me, one of my coaches, , from the worldwide coaching team said, think of core values and your core focus as two sides of the same coin.
They're your narrative, your reason for being our values, that this is how we live and here's why we show up for work. We are trying to do this together. Are you in And then in, in the daily course of decision, like going back to the opportunity example, like for me, like I have my own VTO, I have my own core focus.
I have to do these things. And when you're, , we're, I'm a two person company. My wife's my co-founder. She's my integrator. , and , hi Laura. I know you're gonna listen to this. Lemme just say more than just my wife. Hi Laura. She's been my business partner for about 14 years now. , and, , she's my, she's, it's not very secret.
I married up so the, , But what she will tell you, one of the immediately she's done things that, cuz she just started working with me, , full, , full-time in January. She helped me last year. But we're, , doing this and so like the core focus for me is I have so many opportunities get put in front of me just by LinkedIn leads and people I know.
And like when you have a good network, you meet good people. And so like it's who do I choose to talk to? So the core focus combined with the core values really helps narrow the list down of where can I actually make a difference. If I know what I'm doing and who I'm doing it for, then it really gets me going in the direction I need to do.
And then if you have like 20 people in your organization that are all signed up for the same thing, that core focus becomes a decision tree. And like any new opportunity you can say, is this an inside our core focus? I have a client that I know they won't mind sharing with me sharing here out loud.
Ruben and Sherry Johnson, they run this agency called Fly Media , out of Atlanta. And their core focus is to destigmatize pleasure. And the way they deliver that is through brand experience. You know, bringing black culture, urban culture into mainstream in a way that really uniquely focuses on that.
It's every opportunity that comes in and it's like, Hey, we're the township of such and such a town in Colorado. Can you build us a website? Like that's an outsized version? But the answer is no. I can connect you with someone as us, but that's way outside our core focus. And so when you know it that deeply, then when opportunities come in or you're thinking about where to go, like you're all like, It forces you to think like, okay, what can we potentially be best in the world at if we're not best of the world Now this is, again, borrowing Jim Collins language, and how are we delivering that and who are we delivering that to as internal language that we are excited about as a team.
That becomes like a way to focus all our energy into a, you know, like, I mean, it's kind of cliche, but we are like a focused laser taking all that energy in one direction to get breakthrough after breakthrough after breakthrough. And in practice it can be like, there's some days where I don't wanna get up.
Like I have a ADHD I have, I've, you know, I have depression. Like I, I wanna make those conversations normative. So for me, the way that I use my own core focus is I look at my VTO on a regular basis. It's part of my meditation in the morning. I have a journal I. And I have a checklist and it says, have I meditated?
Have I read my vto, , top to bottom so that it's a reminder of, Hey, here's your values. You need to get up today cuz you're a help first person. You are out here helping your entrepreneurial friends. You want to create great jobs, you want to help in particular, if you have the opportunity to help underrepresented business founders, that's amazing.
This is your reason for being. And that gets me up in the morning. I'm energized about that even though my depression may say I'm not. So that's like a very personal sharing of it. There's much more lightweight things that happen, but that's the power of the core focus. Because that energizes me. I'm on board.
I'm more likely to take action in a meaningful direction. And when you're working with a team, when you review that core focus with the entire team, which you should do at least once a quarter, it's a reminder, oh yeah, I really love working here because this is what it's about. I get to do this. It's part like they can connect these high level dots about, yeah, I'm excited about this, , and I, and I got to contribute to this and I was part of developing it and I know I can influence it.
And that makes a huge difference.
Mitchell Kimbrough The importance of having a regular relationship with your core focus probably can't be overstated. , there's a lot of sort of on the ground reasons why it matters so much. First of all , are you burned out or not? Well, if you know what your core focus is and you made a good choice and you revise it over time and your core values make sense, on the other side of the coin, burnout is in the distance far away because you're getting up and doing the thing that gets you fired up every day.
That makes a big difference. Now, there's another on the ground sort of thing that matters here. I mentioned at the, you know, the previous episode of this podcast, how my kind of a business agency like this we're so word of mouth oriented. Word of mouth starves without core focus. You know, we serve, lately we've been serving , businesses in the sort of B2B manufacturing space who have, who sell stuff on, who are starting to sell stuff online that's difficult to sell.
These are highly configurable components that go into other components that go into other components that eventually find their way into, , fusion reactors or up in space or, you know, whatever the case may be. These are difficult things to understand and to sell. They're really complicated. Building web experiences to support that process is very complicated and challenging.
What's the Soul Space team made up of? People who love super complicated, intricate impossible problems to solve. So a core focus for us, , it helps drive that. But if we get better about focusing on that type of a business with that type of a problem, word to mouth explodes. Cuz all these people who we helped, they know that their friend over in a company that's similar but far enough away that it's not a competitive conflict.
It's an easy word of mouth referral and they're doing that friend a favor. The old soul space we did, we wedding websites and also political cam web campaign websites and also yoga websites and also, you know, you name the kind of website that's not word of mouth. You can't do serious word of mouth that way cuz you're not asserting any expertise, any depth of experience in an area.
That someone could connect to who has the problem, has the pain. You're not saying what kind of medicine you have, cuz you're just saying, ah, I got a medicine cabinet full of stuff. We can fix anything. It's not real. Yep. It's not a real answer.
Leslie Camacho:. Yeah. And it's not an exciting answer either. And that's a big driver of it too.
Like it's, it's a, it becomes a rallying point. Like going back to what you said earlier, like in the beginning we made websites and that was in demand and saying, Hey, I make websites was a meaningful distinction back in 1999 or 2001, whenever it was. Right. Now you say we make websites, it's like, What does that mean?
Like, did you start a Wix account? , did you, or are you hand rolling this? And even if you're doing that, like it means all these different things, , it is not very helpful and they're compared to, oh yeah. We engage in helping people with complicated configurables and, you know, websites that are at least 5 million in revenue, whatever.
I'm making all that up. But that's like, it really focuses on, , on getting people, like, on the same page about what we're about and what we do, what we try to really deliver, and what we're trying to innovate on every day. And again, the idea is that these become, these become dis, you know, living decisions where you don't wanna challenge them every week because you want them.
Time to take hold and see where they go. But once a quarter, part of our quarterly review is always, Hey, is this still our core focus? Anyone seeing hear anything we should consider? Sometimes it doesn't come up. And then the annual we get even more challenging. What are we seeing over the last year that might challenge this core focus?
How do we, how might we need to adjust this? Is this soul still true?
Mitchell Kimbrough Yeah. It's such a healthy framework. It's such a healthy way to attack a problem that every serious business has to confront, which is, , what, so my, my dad is a retired dentist and he, he sort of exists through his hands and he loved working with his hands since he was a little kid.
And he also had an experience of having a toothache when he was, when he was really young. He grew up in a shack, just dirt poor, and they didn't have money for a dentist, but he was in such excruciating pain. They finally just scrounged the money together so that he can go see a dentist, the dentist in a few minutes, completely relieved his pain.
So my, my dad, you, you combine all these things and he loved dentistry. He loved that craft, and he was really good at it. But every business has to grapple with, okay, so you love doing the thing you love. Make a wagon wheel. Good job making those wagon wheels, best wagon wheels I've ever seen.
Nobody cares about wagon wheels anymore. Nobody wants 'em anymore, man. , you so it, trying to marry these two things, these two, sometimes conflicting and opposing things. What do you love doing? And what does the world want you to do? Eeo s lets you talk about that on a regular basis and has a system where you can think about it.
, the, one of the interesting things, and maybe we let this be our last topic before we conclude. , right now, one of my rocks this quarter is to sort of formalize our hedgehog concept, our core focus. And what I'm finding is that this exercise is very much like the exercise of the core values. , you instructed us in our trainings with you that you don't, core values are not aspirational.
You don't see 'em in a book and think, this would be great if soul space was this way. They emerge, they bubble up from the business. They bubble up from the people who make up the company. , core values are Leslie and Laura and what bubbles up between the two of them of what really matters and how they run their business.
, the core focus I, I'm finding, is very much like that. It's bubbling up, it's coming to the surface. It already existed. It's been happening for 23 years, and it's just looking with, , a systematic eye to finding what that thing is and making sure that this thing that emerges. That the world still cares about and wants to write checks for.
So maybe you could talk a little bit about within the context of EOS, this idea that there are some parts of the system. That are emergent, that you don't impose them from outside, they come from inside, and you just merely need to do the hard work. I I said merely, that was a db word, not even slightly merely do the really hard work of extracting these things.
Yeah. From this, this nodded, , co conglomeration of a, of a business and a team that you've assembled over time.
Leslie Camacho: Yeah. I really love the word emergent because they, they tru, they show themselves when you start looking and you go through some seemingly simple exercises just to give clarity on what's actually happening, , in there.
And then you put in some constraints that help with creativity a lot in there. So core values are a great example of that. Like often, like in the exercises that we do, we try to identify values actually being lived, not what the owner thinks. So when, when I work with clients, I don't sit down, like we didn't sit down and say, Hey Mitchell, what, what do you, what are your core values personally?
And then let's transcribe them to Soul Space. Instead, we sit down with the Soul Space team and we go through an exercise, like, let's talk about the people you wanna work with, , and who would you wanna replicate and work with every day? Let's talk about a handful of them, and then we turn that into a value space.
Why is that, why that person? And then out of that exercise comes a list of values that you begin to hone down and, and you find out when you say like, like you all use the word reliable, like I. In some other company. That's such a nonsense, meaningless thing in soul space. It is so amazing. It's like this anchor point that is well thought out, articulated, expansive.
It's meaningful. It has this, , it has this richness to it because you live it and you can explain how you live it and you can see other people living it on your team, , in there. And so that's what I mean. Where would you know, would companies choose that word if they were just brainstorming? Cuz eventually you start wanting to do the Google thing of like, do no evil or you're trying to get, you try to get, like for me, I'm definitely speaking for me here.
Like when I do this, I try to get too creative with it or I try to wordsmith it too much and instead of saying actually pragmatically speaking, I. What, what, what is actually good in the way that I live, useful in the way that we do things here? And let's talk about them. If we were able to do these things more.
And then you talk about the why, which is the value based core focus is like that too. It becomes emergent though, in this case. It's not always from the people in your team, it's from the clients. Like if you have, like going back to your example, we did yoga sites and we did these sites and then, oh, suddenly work with this.
Like we worked with this client for the first time. That actually gave us a worthwhile problem. Yeah. It's like it wasn't just building a marketing site. They're like, Hey, you know what we have, we have a hundred different variables and that's gonna lead to a million SKUs and we can't do that. That seems impossible.
And here's all these systems they have to connect and can you build a website for that? And suddenly you have two people asking you to build a website. But they are not even remotely close to each other. And so that's like an emergence that happens based on the work and your team comes alive from it and you're, and suddenly like, you know, six months later you're like, we want 10 more of them.
Yeah. And not just for the money, but the money plays a critical part in that because that brought our whole team alive more than yoga mats other companies like gimme yoga mats. Every day I will use yoga mats up and down. I love the culture. I know how to express it. Like it's so, the core focus to some extent also merges from the work that, , from what people tell you about the work and from the opportunities you see there.
And I think, , I think the word that I would bring back to that brings that emergence is traction. So one of the things that when we, , and this is also my best. Tip to self implementers out there. Is that in, as you retraction, the vision part is the, oh, I wanna do this first. I wanna do this first. I, this is like, let's make a plan.
Let's get on like, and it's so tantalizing to do that first, but what we know from working with, you know, 15,000 plus organizations is that you do the traction piece first. Do your L 10 s, get your rocks in order, figure out your current priorities before you find the major change you might make in your company's vision.
Get the practice in. To be healthy together. And that's what causes the emergence like, and that first day, oftentimes I'll tell the teams like, I want you to do your L tens and take it really seriously and we're gonna do, we're gonna set rocks for your initial 60 days. Take this really seriously. See if you can get them all done.
Because if you do this, it will change what you think is possible. When we go to the vision building, you get 60 days underneath building that baseline trust. It changes what you think is possible to go back to using the word it. It emerges from that trust building exercise together. From what starts as one or two accountability tools to build that trust, to build the sense of having each other's backs as you go.
Then the vision starts to emerge collectively based on healthy trust, cuz you can then have a real conflict of ideas, a healthy conflict of ideas, and so, As the trust emerges, the vision emerges, the focus emerges, the values emerge, and you're gonna have a much better, you know, vision, traction, strategic docent.
If you put in the work to build trust first, get the traction tools in place first. That's a, that's what allows, is to like put a, , what am I Put a cap on it. That's the traction, trust building is what enables the emergence to happen.
Mitchell Kimbrough Now you tell me. Yeah, no, I'm kidding. You told me, but I didn't listen cuz I was so eager to have that focal point.
So, ready to have that sense of who we are and where we're going and what we're doing. , and that, you know, this is, I'm, to this day I'm embarrassed using the term visionary, but the description of visionary, especially the flaws of a visionary, that's me. Totally me. And, you know, my head's like, yo, we can be this thing.
Well, what the integrator's like, Hey, slow down. Hang on a minute. Come back here. Have you checked in with everybody? You're, you're excluding this entire client from your hedgehog concept, from your core focus. Are you sure we're killing it on this job? We're doing such an awesome job for this client. And the work is so complicated and weird and hard.
You don't think they fit in, but they do. And we're gonna prove it to you. So this is, this is just an interesting sort of awareness that EOS has, that there are things that emerge. There are things that are just kind of floating there. And if you just get the right filter and work on it hard enough, they start to bubble up and you can see 'em and then you can act on 'em consistently over time.
So, I don't know. I think we can go another three hours, but,
Leslie Camacho: let's, yeah. I warned you, pastor's kid.
Mitchell Kimbrough Well, there's one last thing. Let's do a little plug. You mentioned self implementers quite a few times. When I read traction and I got your email, I was like, yeah, I just do this myself. I'm so smart.
I could totally nail this. No, no, no. Don't be your own doctor. So this is Mitchell Kimbro telling everybody out there to seriously consider hiring a proper e os implementer, especially this guy I'm talking to right now. You could self implement, but there's a lot of reasons why an outside therapy, outside conversation, outside point of view with a certain expert trained eye that is ready for the problems that you're going to encounter and deal with and struggle with, it's very powerful.
, do you have the money? Can you afford it? Can you afford not to? That's my question. Can soul space afford to keep bopping along and not do this? No. Not a chance. I refuse. So, , yeah, you can implement it, but I don't agree. I don't think it's a good idea. I think you should get engaged with a proper certified implementer to do this work.
And if you don't buy it, read the book and really give it a chance to, because it really tackles a lot of the issues that we grapple with as business owners. Any famous last words, Leslie?
Leslie Camacho: no. All those things are much more powerful coming from you than from me, so thank you from saying them. I really truly appreciate that.
Yeah, because that has definitely been my experience and I love helping self implementers, , at be, , it, it, like some of them hire me, some of them don't, and it, like, I, I. Like I said, I'm terrible at marketing, but there's one aspect of marketing I do really well and that's help first. Like if I can show up and help, that's the best.
That, that is the thing that provides the most value for all involved, for myself, for the people I'm helping. So I love helping self implementers cuz , they always walk away being able to do it better and then my name get mentioned and they tell people and or they hire me. And so, years ago, I haven't talked to her.
She's another one of those people I haven't talked to in long term, but I think her name's. Chris, Christina Kala. Oh man, it's been too long. I apologize for that. She gave me some of the best advice I've ever had. I was like, your best customers are gonna be the people that have done it themselves.
Understand how hard it is and come back to you. So if you are trying it yourself and you want help coming back, I never judge on that. Because the best case scenario is that you do a really good job. But, A large part of your energy is trying to implement traction instead of working on your vision or instead of actually being able to participate in it fully.
So even if you're really good at it, your energy and value is not in implementing traction. It's in being the visionary, being the integrator, being the lead growth officer, head of. And so that's the value I provide. Let me facilitate, implement it so you can be your best self, , even, even in a best case, do-it-yourself scenario there.
Mitchell Kimbrough Well, Leslie Camacho, thank you very much for the time, where can people find you if they wanna have a conversation with you about this?
Leslie Camacho: Yeah. , so my, my own personal website is not actually up at the moment because it's the irony of working on the web. , but maybe by the time this goes live it will be so, you can always reach me on LinkedIn, if you search for Leslie Camacho, , I'm usually one of the top results. You can also find me, I have a microsite at EOS Worldwide. It's , EOS worldwide.com/leslie-camacho. , and if you search my I come up, you can always just email me to leslie dot camacho EOS worldwide.com and that'll reach me.
And, I'm still on Twitter in various places. So I'll leave some better contact information. There's also leslie camacho.com that will go live by January 31st, cuz that's my rock. So that's my transparent commitment. My rock, it's the last rock I need to finish up is to have my own website back up in some way, shape, or form.
So by January 31st, you can find firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mitchell Kimbrough All right, excellent. Well, thanks again, Leslie. We appreciate you being here. You been listening to the Solspace Podcast.