Three wise men, who also all happened to be business owners, were on a great journey and ducked into a local watering hole along the way. As they bellied up to the bar, they began discussing business in each of their industries.
The first wise man set down his pounder, and in frustration, said, “Man, it’s been quite the year, fellas.”
“I hear ya,” the third wise man agreed.
“No kidding,” the second wise man chimed in.
Just then, an older gentleman with a glowing tan and a bright smile on his face pulled up a barstool just down from the three wise men. He nodded to the three men at the bar and casually ordered a drink.
The first wise man began to vent his frustrations to the other two. “Man, I don’t know about all the rest of you, but I’m having trouble in my business with all my people there.”
“That sounds all too familiar,” the second wise man chimed in. “How so?”
“It seems like no matter what, I either don’t have the right people, or if I do, they just don’t understand my vision and where I want to take things in my clinic. AND they don’t take accountability for much of anything. It would just be nice to have people that are focused and want to really take ownership of what’s going on in the organization.”
“Yeah, I have some of that too,” the second wise man stated. “On top of that, I don’t feel like we have consistent processes and procedures to expand my construction company. I feel like we’re constantly reinventing the wheel and I’m having to tell crews the same things over and over. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to scale and grow to the point I really want to get to.”
At this point in the conversation, the suntanned stranger just a few seats down had taken note of their conversation and was clearly eavesdropping, intently listening with a smile on his face.
The third wise man then hopped into the conversation. “Geez, I thought I was the only one with those kinds of problems! I have all those same issues, plus some! I don’t really feel like we effectively deal with all the challenges and issues within my manufacturing company. There just doesn’t seem to be an openness and honesty among everyone on my team to actually get to the core issues holding us back. Nobody on these damn Zoom meetings has their cameras on. Employees are silent. Side conversations… My staff on the floor doesn’t trust management, and my management isn’t great about clarifying expectations.”
“Yeah, I hear ya…” the first and second wise men grumbled in agreement.
“Sometimes I just wonder if having my own business is even worth it?!” said the third wise man clearly in frustration.
By this point, the three wise men couldn’t help but take notice of the man just a few seats away awkwardly leaning in to hear more of their conversation. The first wise man piped up to the stranger, “Excuse me, but I couldn’t help but notice you seem to be taking quite the liking to our conversation?”
“I won’t deny it, I couldn’t help but hear a few frustrations coming from the three of you,” the gentleman kindly stated.
“Frustrations, that’s an understatement!” the second wise man emphatically stated. “Where are you from there, stranger?”
“I’m actually from just down the road,” the gentleman stated. “I own the inn not far from here.”
“Really? You’re a business owner?” asked the first wise man.
“I sure am. Been at it quite a while too. Have definitely had some struggles, but I now have great people, we’re growing like crazy and the place basically runs itself. Business has never been better. In fact, my inn is so packed this week I’ve had to turn people away even.”
All three wise men’s eyes gaped open in surprise. “No kidding?!” the third wise man spoke up.
“You bet. In fact, it’s been so good, I even took a few weeks off and spent some time in Aruba with my wife and family. Just got back yesterday,” the gentleman proudly stated.
By this point, all three wise men were dying to know how the stranger was able to get his business running like a well-oiled machine AND be able to step away from it for so long.
The first wise man, bursting at the seams to get the gentleman to reveal his secrets, anxiously asked, “What’s the secret? How have you been able to deal with all the issues that business owners like all of us constantly face on a daily basis?”
The gentleman smiled and a slight smirk came across his face, knowing he had the three wise men’s complete attention. He started in, “You see, gentlemen, every business has issues. You’re never going to run out of them. Whether it’s people, processes, focus or communication, those challenges always exist. However, if you try and attack each of those issues individually without an all-encompassing framework, you’re going to be fighting a losing battle. It’s about effectively solving them to make them go away forever. Then, as you know, new ones will always arise.”
“What do you mean?” asked the second wise man eagerly.
The gentleman expanded on his previous thoughts, “You see, where business owners make the biggest mistake is in the idea that they can piece their business together with all these different plans, ideas, methods and concepts, praying that it will all flow together nicely and work together. They solve some issues, ignore others and aren’t aware of some that exist because they’re in their business up to their eyeballs. Running a successful business isn’t possible operating like that. Eventually, their business becomes held together with duct tape and twine, waiting for the inevitable implosion. Their business suffers AND their personal lives suffer.”
All three wise men unknowingly nodded in agreement with their eyes and mouths wide open, as if the stranger had just read all three of their minds in unison.
The third wise man, dying to know, enthusiastically stated, “I gotta ask…How in the world were you able to step away from your business to go on vacation for so long? Weren’t you worried about your business when you were gone?”
The gentleman just smiled again, knowing the question was going to be asked. “You see, the ultimate test for any business owner is if he or she can comfortably step away from their business and it keeps adequately functioning, just as if they were still present. The only way you can do that is if you have everyone on the same page, moving in the same direction and knowing their piece in the overall execution of the business.”
“Wow!” the second wise man stated in disbelief. “Obviously, I’ve been missing out on something. I’ve never been able to step away from my business. It feels like I’m constantly tied to it day and night.”
“Exactly!” the third wise man emphatically stated. “It’s impossible to let go of things when I know they’ll fall apart if I step away for any extended amount of time.”
“That’s exactly where I was at one point in time,” the stranger calmly said. “However, once I found the system that addressed all the issues within my organization from top to bottom, it all changed for the better. I had the right people that fit my culture. There was all of a sudden accountability and greater focus. We didn’t hesitate talking through the most difficult of issues. And most of all, we started getting the traction we had been wanting for so long.”
“Amazing!” the first wise man bellowed in excited disbelief.
The second wise man, hardly able to contain his emotions, excitedly asked, “What was it? What is it that you found that changed everything?”
The gentleman smiled and tipped the last of his drink back. He took a deep breath as he slid off his barstool, standing straight up. The three frustrated business owners stared at him, anxiously awaiting his response.
The stranger placed his hand on the shoulder of the third wise man as he panned across all their faces from left to right, intently looking into each of their eyes.
“It’s called EOS.”
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