27. How do you tame a visionary CEO?

In this episode we discuss how tame a Visionary CEO by using EOS with Professional EOS Implementer; B2B SaaS Founder (acquired 2022); Reformed Lawyer.


1/25/20244 min read

Beth and Brandon discuss the following: 

  • Forecasting in 2024

  • Simplifying performance management

  • Surfacing issues in leadership

  • Documenting the processes of the company

We then discuss the following with Rob: 

  • Is EOS just another OKR styled book? 

  • How do you tame a visionary founder? 

  • What are the components of EOS? 

  • What are the two principal roles in EOS? 

  • What can experienced operators learn from EOS? 

  • How do you achieve an L10 meeting? 

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I previously founded a software company called Yapster. Although we had 100,000 licensed users, amazing customers like Next plc, Brewdog, Krispy Kreme and Caffe Nero and the business looked healthy to outsiders, we secretly struggled internally to execute plans and hit our financial goals. I worked and stressed 24/7. I was a qualified Corporate Lawyer and experienced Businessperson, but I didn’t feel a success. All I could feel was the underlying tension in my leadership team and investor base.

Then I read Gino Wickman’s Traction and it was like someone turned a light on. I realised that I hadn’t been leading my organisation to its potential. By adopting EOS’s simple habits and frameworks we quickly achieved Traction. Suddenly I was more successful at work and more relaxed at home.

In late 2022 I sold Yapster to a company backed by Google. I’ve since qualified as a Professional EOS Implementer® and now my personal Mission is to help other UK business owners achieve their goals more quickly, with less frustration.

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  • Golf inclusivity and personal experiences with the sport. 0:06

    • Bethany Ayers and Brandon Mensa discuss golf and inclusion with guest Rob, with Beth sharing her experience at a virtual driving range and appreciating Rob's proactive approach to inclusivity.

    • Bethany Ayers shares personal experiences with golf and her grandfather's intense passion for the sport, despite exclusion of women in the family.

  • Entrepreneurial operating system and vision alignment. 4:18

    • Brandon: Book provides a prescriptive set of steps for non-experienced companies to run their businesses efficiently.

    • Bethany: Book offers a structure for strategy days, with exercises and time allocations for each area, saving time and effort.

    • Bethany Ayers discusses the importance of aligning to a vision and creating a three-year plan, with regular revisions to ensure accountability and profitability.

    • Ayers highlights the challenges of budgeting in a changing world where cash is no longer free, and the need to focus on cache management across multiple years.

  • Simplifying performance management systems. 10:21

    • Brandon and Bethany agree that the "right people in the right seats" framework is simple and effective in evaluating employee performance (10 words)

    • Traction recommends using a scorecard and weekly pulse to track leading indicators of KPIs (20 words)

    • Bethany Ayers emphasizes the importance of tracking key metrics, such as ticket clearance times and pipe Gen, to identify and address issues in a timely manner.

    • She believes that having a weekly scorecard with 5-10 metrics can help the team stay disciplined and proactive in addressing problems, leading to better customer experiences and overall success.

  • Leadership, processes, and accountability in a business setting. 15:09

    • Bethany Ayers highlights the importance of understanding the interconnectedness of different functions within a company, and how this knowledge can help resolve issues more effectively.

    • Brandon emphasizes the value of documenting processes between functions to avoid siloed thinking and improve collaboration.

    • Brandon and Bethany discuss the book "Traction" by Gabriel Weinberg, which emphasizes the importance of meetings for accountability and using OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) to set goals.

    • Rob Leyard, CEO of Eos, shares his "come to Jesus moment" when he realized the importance of operations after almost failing due to neglecting it.

  • Challenges with global rollout of software product. 20:50

    • Rob struggles to explain why his company's global rollout failed despite initial success.

  • Entrepreneurship, leadership, and managing visionary CEOs. 22:30

    • Rob shares his personal story of struggling with his tech startup, including not getting paid for 7 months and experiencing marital problems.

    • Bethany Ayers commends Rob for his honesty and openness, and shares that many entrepreneurs can relate to his challenges.

    • Rob recognizes that working with visionary CEOs can be challenging due to their unique perspective and potential lack of clarity on their company's identity and goals.

    • Rob's approach to taming visionary CEOs involves recognizing the problem, understanding their perspective, and using practical tools like EOS to help them achieve their dreams while aligning with reality.

  • Business strategy and operations for startups. 26:35

    • Rob is frustrated that his business is not growing despite his charisma and support, and he suspects that he may be doing something wrong.

    • The book "Excellent Entrepreneur" provides a framework for businesses to run coherently, with six components: vision, data, process, traction, issues, and people.

    • Brandon and Rob discuss the importance of a clear vision and traction plan for startups, including creating a one-page business plan and setting quarterly strategic initiatives.

    • They also emphasize the need for data-driven decision making and consistent processes across the organization to drive accountability and good habits.

  • EOS framework for entrepreneurs and operators. 31:51

    • Rob emphasizes the importance of identifying and solving root causes, rather than just discussing them.

    • Bethany Ayers agrees and adds that there are two roles in EOS, and taming comes into play.

    • Rob: EOS model requires visionary to identify integrator, who is CIO and essential for success.

    • Bethany Ayers: Using EOS playbook can help find common language between operator and visionary, elevating professional operator to center of organization.

  • Entrepreneurship, EOS, and the role of operators. 36:07

    • Rob, a passionate advocate of EOS, shares insights on how individuals can help visionaries in stuck organizations by taking control of their own careers and self-esteem.

    • Rob suggests creating a personalized explanation of EOS components and how working with Brandon can help organizations move forward.

    • Rob is open to creating his own operating system after finding success with EOS and reading other business books.

    • Rob believes that finding a system that works and elevating operators to their rightful place in the entrepreneurial community is enough for him, and he now preaches the gospel of operation excellence to others.

  • Effective meetings and organizational alignment. 41:13

    • Brandon and Rob discuss creating an L10 meeting, which involves starting with a segue, reviewing rocks, looking at the scorecard, and addressing issues.

    • The meeting agenda includes a fixed agenda, and issues are reviewed and prioritized for solving in the next week or quarter.

    • Rob emphasizes the importance of finding a workplace where you are appreciated and implementing a system to manage growth and issues effectively.

    • Rob encourages listeners to explore different systems and not settle for a company that is happy living in chaos, and to give them the opportunity to come meet them where they are.