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6 Ways to Get a Grip on Your Business from Gino Wickman's Traction

6 Ways to Get a Grip on Your Business from Gino Wickman's Traction Blog Feature

Bob Ruffolo

Founder & CEO, Keynote Speaker, Entrepreneur, Recipient of Comparably’s Best CEO ’17

August 31st, 2015 min read

get-a-grip-gino-wickmans-6-ingredients-to-getting-business-tractionAll entrepreneurs encounter struggles along their journey.

In his book Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, Gino Wickman shares his practical system for overcoming the most common hurdles that entrepreneurs face.

Can you relate to any of these problems?

  • Lack of control. At one point of another, entrepreneurs will struggle with a lack of control Usually this will be a lack of control over your time, over the market, or over your organization. Entrepreneurs need to be in control of their business, not the other way around.
  • People problems. Where do we start? Employees, customers, vendors, partners -- there will be times where you aren't seeing eye to eye with the people involved in your business. Sometimes it's their fault, maybe they don't listen to you or they fall through on their commitments. Other times, it's our fault when we don't communicate effectively or hold up our end of the deal.
  • Money. It all comes down to the bottom line. When there's not enough money, it's a major problem.
  • Hitting the ceiling. One of the worst fears of entrepreneurs is a sudden halt in growth that can't be passed. Many business owners simply don't know what to do next.
  • Nothing works. When several strategies or campaigns haven't helped gain sustainable progress, frustration starts to consume you. Your wheels are spinning, but you can't seem to gain traction.

Wickman reminds us of the fact that we are not our businesses.

Your business is a separate entity from yourself and should be treated as so. The goal of this book is to help you implement systems so that your business can sustain on its own, without completely relying on you.

He calls his approach The Entrepreneurial Operating System.

His system is designed around time-tested, practical methods for business, that any entrepreneur can apply.

The Entrepreneurial Operating System

Based on this operating system, there are six key areas of any business that need to be optimized to ensure everything is running smoothly and performing well:

  1. Vision
  2. People
  3. Data
  4. Issues
  5. Process
  6. Traction

Successfully implementing this system requires you to build and maintain a true leadership team -- people that believe in your vision and that you can count on. Your team leaders need to take responsibility for the problems they face and be willing to take action to correct those problems. This will require trust on your part.

Change is uncomfortable and it's normal to feel anxious about making changes to your business. It's all part of the process.


Most entrepreneurs have a clear vision in their mind of what they want their company to become and where they want it to go.

The problem is that all too often this vision isn't clear to their employees. This confusion leads to misdirection and frustration. Your vision gets lost.

According to Wickman, you must answer the following eight questions to define your vision:

  • What are your core values?
  • What is your core focus?
  • What is your 10-year target?
  • What is your marketing strategy?
  • What is your 3-year focus?
  • One is your 1-year plan?
  • What are your quarterly rocks?
  • What are your issues?

Your company's core values are a set of principles that guide you and influence your company culture. They are the framework from which business decisions are made -- especially when it comes to hiring, firing, and promoting employees.

Your core focus, on the other hand, is your company's primary mission. The one thing, above all else, that you want to accomplish.

A key element to The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is setting long-term goals, with realistic milestones along the way. 


According to Wickman, your focus needs to be on getting the right people in the right seats.

The right people are the people who share your core values and the right seat is where those people operate at their highest level of skill and passion.

One of the biggest problems that slows traction for businesses is a lack of clear structure, making roles, job descriptions, expectations, and responsibilities unclear to everyone on the team. A loose structure works fine in the early stages of a start-up because you typically have a small team of people juggling multiple roles. However, you can't scale your business without a clear structure.

No Time to Read the Full Book?

In our full summary of Traction, we'll continue our dive into Wickman's 6 key areas of the Entrepreneurial Operating System: vision, people, data, issues, process, and traction, and discuss and how to optimize them at your organization.  

To view the full summary, click "continue reading" below. 

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