Setting goals with EOS: Understanding the method and its benefits

Whether they cover an increase in sales, launch of a new product or the expansion of a company through added personnel, company goals can look very different. That is also true of the paths taken to accomplish those set goals. More and more companies are turning to goal setting methods, such as OKR or EOS, to reach their desired results quicker and, above all, more efficiently.

Both EOS and OKR are used throughout various branches and are very popular. In this article, we will tell you what the EOS method entails, the main differences to OKR, and how the two methods can be combined.

Contents

  1. EOS and its six components
  2. Are EOS and OKR the same?
  3. Combining EOS and OKR
  4. Who should use EOS?

EOS and its six components

EOS stands for Entrepreneurial Operating System. It is a goal-setting method particularly suitable for medium-sized companies with 10 to 250 employees that directs the organization’s focus to six main components: vision, people, data, process, traction and issues.

Vision

It starts with the vision. This involves determining values, purpose and goals of the organization. A strategy is then developed to help employees achieve these goals. Thanks to the vision, clarity regarding where the shared journey should lead is created within the company from the very beginning.

People

The right people are then assigned to suitable positions within the company and teams are put together. Focus is placed on the necessary skills the employees need to possess for the respective tasks in order to achieve the defined goals, after which the roles and tasks are distributed.

Data

Data has immense value for companies of all sizes. The larger a company is, the more important substantial data becomes. On the one hand, they serve to define certain standards and, on the other hand, to provide an overview and control over business operations. Through various key performance indicators that the company defines itself, management is able to obtain an accurate overview of the company’s health.

Process

The process refers to the analysis of each company’s business metrics to determine exactly where the strengths and weaknesses lie in order to address them in a targeted manner.

Traction

Traction involves holding continuously recurring meetings. These meetings, also known as Level 10 Meetings, are needed to ensure the successful implementation of defined goals. The term Level 10 Meeting comes from the idea that employees should rate each meeting on a scale from 1 to 10. The goal is to achieve the highest number as often as possible. Employees are also required to participate so that each meeting can reach the best rating.

Issues

That takes us to the sixth component: issues. The implementation of company goals can often have obstacles along the way. It is a leader’s job to identify these obstacles, prioritize them based on importance, and eliminate them.

The components of EOS
The components of EOS

Are EOS and OKR the same?

Defining EOS can bring about the assumption that it has many similarities to the goal-setting framework OKR, or Objectives and Key Results. However, these differ in three particular areas.

  1. The basic approach

EOS is a complete and people-centric “operating system” for companies. The organization’s management is provided with certain tools, such as Level 10 Meetings or specially-trained EOS consultants, to reach their goals.

OKR is an independent framework with its own approach to goal achievement. Of course, frequent meetings also take place frequently while working with Objectives and Key Results, but these take the form of “Check-ins” and not Level 10 Meetings. Check-ins are short meetings lasting no more than 20 minutes and are intended to track the progress of each OKR and remove challenges during the goal-setting process. You can read more about this here.

  1. The time frame

The time frame in which both goal-setting methods are applied also differs. While EOS has a rather long schedule with yearly meetings (traction) and even 10-year targets, OKRs utilize more flexible, shorter schedules. Ideally, the goals are defined quarterly or monthly. 

  1. The target group

While both methods are used across various industries, at its core, EOS is aimed at supporting business leaders and their business models. OKRs can be applied to different areas of a company and are not exclusively aimed at the executive level. Many enterprise companies start by implementing OKRs in individual areas first. In addition to company and team goals, the framework can also be used for personal goals, making it an interesting option for freelancers as well.

Combining EOS und OKR

Despite delimitations from both methods, it is possible to combine EOS and OKR. That is because the goal-setting methods overlap in some aspects of prioritization and time-bound metrics. While EOS is more rigid and long term and OKR is based on faster, more flexible cycles, there is still a common ground here. 

One possibility to combine EOS and OKR is through the EOS element “Rocks.” These are similar to quarterly goals. In this case, there is a set of defined goals that reflect 3 to 7 of the most important priorities for each team over the next 90 days. The OKR framework lends itself well to drafting Objectives and respective metrics. Instead of 3 to 7 priorities, 5 to 7 Objectives can be combined with 3 to 4 Key Results that are measurable and time bound. 

In this way, the Rocks are divided more specifically and easier for all team members to understand, also making the subsequent definition of the necessary Initiatives easier.

OKR Framework Guide EN

Who is EOS suitable for?

Due to its simple concept and practical tools, the EOS system is easy to integrate into the daily work routine. Small and medium-sized companies in which some employees often take on several different tasks can particularly benefit from this system. EOS is also suitable for companies that want to align their goal setting with a long-term schedule.

The goal-setting framework OKR, on the other hand, is not only suitable for SMEs, it is also great for large corporations that not only pursue long-term goals, but also pursue a certain flexibility and shorter time frame for their goal achievement.

Both systems take on different approaches, meaning they have different target groups. With that said, however, they can also be combined perfectly to get the best out of both.

Would you like to learn more about agile frameworks, OKRs, and the possibilities of combining them with other tools? Then check out our article overview here.