The pandemic has put a whole new spin on the typical issues

Yesterday, my wife reminded me it’s only been about 3 months since COVID-19 stood our world on its head.

“Impossible” I told her, it’s been longer than that.  And of course, I had an immediate need to prove her wrong, so I looked it up.

The CDC website says:

Community transmission of COVID-19 was first detected in the United States in February 2020. By mid-March, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, New York City, and four U.S. territories had reported cases of COVID-19.

She was right, and I was wrong.  What else is new?

So yes, it’s only been about 3 months.  One quarter of a year.

Typical Quarterly Planning

Companies running on EOS® are very familiar with quarterly planning sessions and their importance.

In these sessions, we systematically hunt for the most important issues standing in the way of achieving the 1-year goals by using a consistent agenda.

  • Reviewing how well the leadership team executed on their previous quarter’s Rocks (the EOS® term for quarterly objectives)
  • Confirming that their values, focus, 10-year target, marketing plan and 3-year picture remain intact
  • Reviewing the Accountability Chart to identify people and organizational structure issues
  • How they’re tracking towards their 1-year goals and whether adjustments are necessary
  • Unearthing and defining other issues not yet uncovered during the examination

The emerging issues typically relate to what EOS® defines as the 6 key components of a business:

  1. Vision – who we are, where we’re going
  2. People – the right people, in the right seats
  3. Process – how things should run, the franchise model
  4. Data – measurables the tell if we’re on track to objectives
  5. Issues – how well issues are understood and solved for good
  6. Traction – how well the team, and therefore the business, executes

To these I add time, money and technology (resources), and unanticipated macro issues such as changes in economic conditions, regulations, competition or “big” events.

The session reaches its crescendo when issues are prioritized, and Rocks are set for the next quarter.

The COVID Quarter – the Same, but Different

You might be surprised to learn that, in fact, 90% of our clients completed productive EOS® quarterly planning sessions during the height of the lockdown – albeit most via Zoom rather than in person.

After 20 or so quarterly sessions and hearing from colleagues across the country, here is list of examples issues were impacted by macro factors in the COVID quarter –

Vision: What’s going to happen to our industry; Can we continue to provide services and products?

People: Our business is having trouble meeting demand, but is it short term?; Ensuring people know what to do and how to act remotely; maintaining accountability; how to we lay off people and still have our main functions covered; how to downsize-who goes while still running critical operations

Process: How to maintain good service delivery and maintain customer relationships; effective coordination and communication with contractors and vendors; what does our sales approach look like now?

Data: How to keep scorecard items current so we know what results are? Are individuals reporting on their measurables?

Issues: Reduced visibility into the various business operations makes it difficult to find and solve issues

Traction: Keeping leadership and departmental Level10 meetings on schedule and productive; urgent issues interrupted focus on quarterly objectives leading to what feels like a lost quarter

Financial: Cash flow; cash on hand; PPP

Resources: Are we capable and ready for remote work – service, delivery, marketing, management?

Did your COVID Quarter issues fall along similar lines? Do you have other symptoms where you haven’t yet defined the root cause?  We can help.

Free Issues Solving Session

As long as the current environment persists, we will facilitate a free Issues Solving Session to help you clearly think through issues. That will allow you to formulate and attack a plan of action.  Please contact us to set up your session.

Also, keep an eye out for the next Fight and Thrive Zoom sessions.  Our first two sessions were well received, and the next ones will also be open to owners and leaders of small businesses. The format will be simple.  Prepare your issues list, and then join the session to brainstorm up some solutions.

About Grow Exceptional

Grow Exceptional works with leadership teams to help get their businesses “unstuck” by implementing and teaching the widely adopted Entrepreneurial Operating System process (EOS®®).  Visit