Close this search box.

Tough Times Call for the Entrepreneurial Operating System

“Hard times create strong leaders. Strong leaders create good times. Good times create weak leaders. And, weak leaders create hard times” and on it goes…”

What to Expect

Whew. We are through the first shocks of COVID, things have mostly stabilized in the DMV. 

Things are settling in again. Right? Not so fast. Coming down the line are:  civil unrest and a contentious election.  Possibility of reinfection.

Economic shocks—as PPP rolls off. Organizations are facing a tidal wave of new challenges just as the first shot of COVID has begun to fade into memory.  Does your business really have the structure in place to weather the storm? 

If you’re like the entrepreneurial leaders I know, in 2019, the answer was a resounding “yes!” These days, it is more like a meek “maybe?”   

When demands on your business increase again, you must have the right people, process, and profit drivers in place to be nimble and execute. Sure, when times are easier, you can metaphorically duct tape the structure of your business together and still grow. The next 12 months do not look like they will easy times.

How to succeed during tough times and capitalize every time: EOS

Fortunately, there is a way to fast track your business to being nimble, resilient, and opportunistic: EOS. The EOS® (the Entrepreneurial Operating System) has been used by 10,000+ companies to improve their team, drive their plans, and ultimately outperform their competition. It is a complete set of tools and disciplines help you get control of your business, even uncertainty looms.

Simply stated, EOS is a way of harmonizing all the moving parts of your business. EOS focuses on three things we call Vision, Traction, and Healthy:

  • Vision means getting your leaders 100% on the same page with where your organization is going and how it is going to get there.
  • Traction,actually executing that vision with proper communication, accountability, and overall efficiency.
  • Healthy, creating superior teams who get more done together—without the drama.

So how do you start benefiting today? Start with the 5 Leadership Abilities – an EOS tool that will help you work through even the most difficult of times.

The 5 Leadership Abilities are: Simplify, Delegate, Predict, Systemize, and Structure. These are the things you need to consider when stuff is not working the way you’d want it to. The framework goes like this:


When overwhelm begins – and it always does as you grow or run into uncertainty – human IQs drop. It becomes difficult to think through even simple solutions. During the height of the space race in the 1960s, legend has it, NASA scientists realized that pens could not function in space. They needed to figure out another way for the astronauts to write things down. But their crafty Soviet counterparts, simply handed their cosmonauts pencils.

Consider (or bring in a teammate to help you consider) what obvious solutions exist that you may have missed. When in doubt – if there is a simple solution, “use the pencil.”


Do you wish there were more hours in the day to get it all done? Here’s a simple and powerful way to help you to free up time and delegate. Delegating not only gives you more freedom, but it also empowers you and your company to boost your effectiveness and reach new levels of performance and success. Chances are you are going to get overwhelmed by trying to handle everything in your business, especially when real economic threats arise.

Resist the urge and get the least important things off your plate so you can focus on what you must to survive and capture opportunities.


One of biggest things you can do to get ready for what’s coming is do exactly what you’re doing now: get ahead.

As those in the hurricane zones of Florida like to say, “the time to start loading the sandbags to prep for the storm is NOT when the first raindrops start falling…”


If you’re having trouble delegating, consider how you are passing things off. Often your team just lacks clear guardrails to keep them on track. As we have a brief break from total market disruptions, get your processes in gear, fast. Most times people look at process documentation and usage as a big, boring, bloated task.

You don’t have to. Take an 80/20 approach, document the major steps, and go from there. Better to have less detail and be able to fill in than a ton of detail no one pays attention to.


One of the silver linings of the past few months has been that leaders have been forced to critically evaluate who should be doing what. Where people before could get away with having unclear roles, with the pressure on, clarity is downright vital. Examine your team for areas of overlapping accountabilities and unclear expectations. When two people think they are expected to drive the same problem, confusion and blame come out.

Think through the core functions of your company AND who will drive what when things get tough again. Then think through who truly is vital and who is more expendable. Get clear roles boiled down to a few bullet points you can actually use instead of bloated job descriptions that never get looked at.

It all comes back to the first leadership ability: simplify. When the rest of the world gets bogged down in the complexity and uncertainty, be the steady force to keep things simple, clear, and effective. When you are preparing for the worst or dealing with difficult current realities go back to the basics: simplify, delegate, predict, systemize, and structure.

Learn more about EOS contact NEXT Partner Beth Berman [email protected] for a free workshop to set you in the right direction.

Share on: