Before implementing EOS® in my business, my number one pet peeve was repeating myself. It was frustrating to feel like people weren’t listening to me, and it also seemed incredibly inefficient to say the same thing more than once. And anyone who knows me, knows that I am all about efficiency!
It was my love for efficiency that inspired me to launch my own software development business over fifteen years ago. My mission was to automate repetitive tasks to help free people up to spend time on more valuable things. I was good at it, and everyone told me that my drive for efficiency was my superpower.
Unfortunately, it never occurred to me that this superpower could also become my kryptonite as my business grew. As we added people to the team, my leadership approach remained focused on efficiency. I gave people all of the information I thought they needed – all at once – and then set them free to get stuff done without bothering me. When someone came back to me with a question, or made a mistake, I would get frustrated, thinking, “But I told them exactly what to do – why didn’t they listen to me? I shouldn’t have to tell them more than once! That’s so inefficient!”
When we decided to implement EOS in my company, I realized that my attitude was all wrong. Reading Gino Wickman's book, Traction®, I learned that most people actually need to hear things seven times before they really hear it for the first time. In Chapter 3, Gino says, “By the seventh time, they’ll be on board. You have to adjust your outlook from ‘I’ve told them three times – this is so frustrating!’ to ‘I’ve told them three times – only four more to go!’”
Suddenly, I realized that I had been walking around for years thinking that it was inefficient to repeat myself, but in reality, it was inefficient NOT to repeat myself. Since I didn’t hide my frustration well, my team avoided asking me questions. Because I expected everyone to remember every word I said the first time I said it, nothing was written down or documented. And as a result, hours of time and energy were being wasted. I was horrified; my superpower had officially become my kryptonite.
Plan to Repeat Yourself
From that moment on, “Only four more to go” became my mantra. Instead of being perpetually annoyed, I started to plan to repeat myself. We began documenting our processes, and built repetition into everything – from employee on-boarding and training to client relationship management. Over time, the issues we had been experiencing went away, freeing me up to spend my time and energy on things I enjoyed more – like becoming a Professional EOS Implementer™!
Today, repetition is a way of life for me. It’s built into everything EOS Implementers do as teachers, coaches, and facilitators in the EOS Process™. In fact, I love it when my clients complain about having to say the same thing over and over and over to their teams, because it gives me a reason to repeat my favorite phrase: “Only four more to go!”
This was originally posted on the EOS WorldWide Blog on September 13, 2018