Implementing EOS in a Creative Agency

North Street runs the EOS business framework to optimize our people, processes, positioning, and profit. As a creative business, we’re naturally skeptical of anything “templated.” So, can a systemized approach like EOS work on a business founded on creative expression? In this video, North Street Founder, Tom Conlon, and Certified EOS Implementer, Ben Berman, discuss why the answer is: yes.

By Tom Conlon, Founder + CEO

Tom Conlon:

Hey, I’m Tom Conlon, Founder and CEO of North Street. I’m here with my good friend, Ben Berman. Ben, why don’t you introduce yourself?

Ben Berman:

Sure. I have the great privilege of being the Certified EOS Implementer for North Street and for a host of other creative agencies, as do some of my teammates. Looking very much forward to sharing how we do our thing.

Tom Conlon:

Awesome. Can you briefly describe what EOS is?

Ben Berman:

Yeah. So, EOS is a complete system to help people get what they want from their businesses. So, really it falls into three major categories. One is getting everyone aligned on here’s where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. We call that vision. Number two is the traction piece, because a lot of times in creative agencies, we’ve got these grand visions of where we want to go, but how do we actually go and get there? How do we make it happen? So, traction is the execution side of things. We help with that part.

Ben Berman:

Then we call it ‘healthy’ as the third, and really it’s about team health, which is not to say that a team is unhealthy. High performance teams always to have a chance to be better and better, and better. So, we work on that piece as well. So, taken together, complete system where you know where you’re going, we get everyone on board. We have a system of executing, where creatives can be creative, but still get things done. Then of course, teams just have a great time doing so, and get better and better together.

Tom Conlon:

Cool. This blueprint is detailed in the book Traction, but you’re an implementer. So, that means what? I can take the book and run with it, or am I better off if I hire someone like you?

Ben Berman:

I mean, obviously I’m somewhat biased, but we give the book away for free as a marketing tool for us, because we want people to try it. The idea is that it gives you just enough to get going. It’s like the difference between reading the book and trying it on your own, the Greyhound bus version. You can maybe eventually get to your location. Sometimes you’re going to end up somewhere totally off track across the country. Or you can take the private jet version, and this is just catered experience – get you there far faster, and have a much more enjoyable experience along the way.

Tom Conlon:

I think in my experience I had heard about the book for quite a while and finally picked it up, read it. I actually picked it up, read a lot of it, then put it down for six months, and then read it again. Then when I finished it, I was really excited to bring it back to my team, and I made the mistake of doing it secretly. I didn’t say, “Hey, we’re rolling out EOS.” I was like, “Hey, let’s do our core values…”

Tom Conlon:

I started picking pieces out of it, so it wasn’t successful. Ultimately, that’s why we found you as our captain to help us and lead us through how to do it. I think that’s the other thing, too, is that it’s really helpful to have an implementer be the outside party. Maybe you can talk about that a little bit. Because I struggled, being like, “Oh, hey, there’s this thing that I want to bring in and I’m not totally sure about it, but let’s try it.” For us, it was better to be like, okay, this guy knows it and he’s going to bring it to us.

Ben Berman:

Yeah. I think there are two parts to what you just said. The first is what often happens where people pick it up and they put some of the pieces together, and it works moderately. I mean, each piece in its own right, is very helpful. Certainly, there is stuff you can pick up in the book, but it’s like building a car where if you don’t have all the components. You might have three wheels, but the engine doesn’t work, or you have the engine, but the axles aren’t turning correctly. So, it doesn’t work unless it all goes together, and that kind of piecemeal approach is part of the reason why so many people come running to implementers even after they self-implemented.

Ben Berman:

I’d say at least 40% of my clients have tried to start it on their own or done some kind of startups, so we encourage it. Part number two is the one that you’ve experienced. It’s impossible to really fix a system that you’re a part of yourself, because you never can really be seen as objective, no matter how much you mean well. We say it’s like heart surgery. In theory, you could do it on yourself. Better to leave it to a professional. If you want to get success, the best companies, the best athletes, the best performers in the world all have coaches. So it’s having that guide on the outside who’s going to help you go to the place faster, even if they’re not the creative genius that you might have in your company.

Tom Conlon:

Right, right. What kind of businesses is this for, in terms of size and scale?

Ben Berman:

Yeah. So, it’s really funny because there’s a sweet spot right around a million in revenue and up, but I mean, we’ve worked with companies that have been literally one person, zero revenue, all the way up to billion dollar companies. So, it runs the gamut, which is ironic because we always talk about niches and niching down. And we’ll get to that, I’m sure, later in the conversation. But for us it’s really about this: do you want to get to somewhere that you’re not quite sure how to get to?

Ben Berman:

Are you appreciative, respectful, committed, willing to be vulnerable, willing to actually do the work? It’s not so much work, but for us, just as we went through for you… and I’m sure you’ll share… it’s about really getting down to the psychographic of people who want to get to another place in their business and want help doing so. Maybe you want to get to a hundred million dollars. Great. That’s perfectly fine. We can help you do that. In some cases, that might be businesses and leadership teams that just want to have less on their plate. They want the business to control them less.

Ben Berman:

So, it runs the gamut as far as reasons, but as long as that appreciative, respectful, want help, trying to get to the next level… those pieces are there, EOS works pretty well. I mean, we have a running joke that says EOS works in businesses that have people in them. So, I know we’re headed to an age of robotics, but we’ve worked from everyone, like I said, from very, very small companies, multi-billion dollar companies, to even two country bands and a rock band whose roadies use it because they’ve got to make sure the pyrotechnic don’t go off at the wrong time. It’s about really managing human energy, and that’s what we’re all about here.

Tom Conlon:

I mean, I think I’ve definitely spoken to a construction company that I think was a $30 million a year business and they were running it… and I think they were even running it in their subdivisions. You know what I mean? They were running it and then their units were running it, which is cool, but I’ve also spoken to people who are a team of two. Maybe it’s a solopreneur and his partner are running a family law office and they’re a little skeptical. I’m not sure it’s going to work with a leadership team of one, but if you can have that other person to work with and go through the meetings and the system with, I think two is fine.

Ben Berman:

Yeah. Well, it’s funny. I do a fair amount of advising and mentoring other EOS implementers, both at the implementation and of course the biz dev side of things. We run our businesses as one with fractional support all over the place. We run our businesses on EOS. It’s the only way to be successful. So, we are the case studies, but, Tom, you were not a huge business when you started, and you operate extremely, extremely well with the team you have.

Tom Conlon:

Yeah. I mean, we were seven when we started with you. We went down to six during the dark ages about a year ago, actually. Right? The first…

Ben Berman:

With the pandemic? Yeah.

Tom Conlon:

Yeah, we went down to six during that time and now we’re actually up to 10 people, but our leadership team is four. Our leadership team was more than half the company and now is almost half the company, but for me it’s just about getting the right people on that team. We were a leadership team of three, but then we hired somebody who came from another company that was running EOS. So, we were like, what? Are we going to not let this guy participate in our meetings and show us how it’s done, bring a new brand new perspective to it? So, yeah, we’ve been running it great with an overall team of 10 and leadership team of four.

Ben Berman:

Yeah, and he’s been an awesome addition and that’s typical, but what you were saying before with the subdivisions, is… the idea behind EOS is not for it to sit in the ivory tower of the leadership team. Eventually, everyone gets involved and that’s the magic behind it.

Tom Conlon:

Yeah, and we’ve been rolling out the state of the company since pretty early on. I think probably a little after we started with you, we started rolling that out on a quarterly basis and that’s been great. I think the people who are not in the leadership team, but know that we have a 90 minute meeting once a week, love seeing what comes out of what we’ve been working on and what they’re going to be working on, and where the company is headed. So, that’s always a really great time to rally everyone around what we’re doing and where we’re going.

Ben Berman:

Yeah, and for listeners or viewers who aren’t familiar with the state of the company, it’s talking about where you’ve been, celebrating those wins, and discovering where you’re going so that everyone understands how they fit and where we are right now. Tom, I wonder… you even had, in your case, some pretty skeptical creatives and developers in the beginning. I’m just curious to hear about it, because I know the story about how that ended up. I think there were some surprises, if I remember correctly, at how well people took to it.

Tom Conlon:

Well, I think that’s one thing I want to talk about. So, when reading Traction and reading more about EOS, it’s clearly and purposefully a templated system for running a successful business, right? So, in a creative business, we are skeptical by nature of anything template. So, for me, that means we’re not going to grab a WordPress theme off the shelf and just stick your pictures in it and call it a day. We’re also not going to take a logo design from our shelf of logo designs and just tweak it a little bit.

Tom Conlon:

So, when it came to EOS, it was like, okay, wow. There’s definitely some very strict guidelines and guardrails in terms of how we do things and the tools that we use. I was skeptical. You know what I mean? We’re a creative agency. Shouldn’t we be super creative? So, that was my own skepticism. I’d love to hear what you’ve encountered in working with other creative agencies — if you’ve heard that skepticism, too, and how it was netted out?

Ben Berman:

Yeah, all the time, and for better or for worse. There have been a high concentration of different businesses that I’ve worked with… probably because it’s in the New York area, there are a lot of creatives. Yeah, literally, every time, I can say that that’s a question that comes up, and I find it actually… I want to get your perspective on it, but I find it actually becomes liberating for two reasons. One is, your job is to be creative in the work. Your job is to do amazing, like what you just said. If anyone hasn’t seen what North Street is able to create, I mean, you’ve got to go and check out the stuff they’re able to do.

Ben Berman:

This is not off the shelf. It is truly fantastic, fantastic work across the board, and it has its own flavor, and it’s beautiful. It brings an experience. We do that same thing with EOS, right? It’s sort of like yes, there’s this template, but within it, the whole reason for an implementer is this is not something that you can just pull off the shelf. There are going to be nuances that are going to be specific to everyone’s organization. So, they’re going to be things that have been tested out at this point, hundreds of thousands of times, over hundreds of thousands of meetings and tens of thousands of companies.

Ben Berman:

Certainly many, many creative agencies where it’s been field tested, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel on how to run the company. Right? There’s certain things… no matter how creative you are, you’re not going to walk around on your hands just for the sake of doing so. There are things that we do that are uniform that help us be more efficient, right? It is simply more efficient to walk using our legs. At the same time, there’s flexibility within it where it actually gives you a sandbox, basically, where you know what you do best and you’re able to play in that space. As a company, you’re able to unify that energy so that people are able to be really, really creative and really, really effective, without necessarily breaking the system or doing things that are not going to be effective for the business. So, Tom, you’ve done such an amazing job figuring out not just the work type that you’re great at, but also who you work with. I’d love to hear your perspective to that regard.

Tom Conlon:

Yeah. I think that the thing that I’ve been saying lately is that we’re a creative business. We do creative work, but why try to figure out a creative, completely unique, new way of running a business? There’s a tried and true way of running a business and EOS, it’s a system for making sure you’ve got the right people in your company, making sure that you’re targeting the right market, that you’re profitable. Sort of like the Business 101 things that you don’t learn as an entrepreneur, you know what I mean? As an entrepreneur, you just start running your business and then all of a sudden, you’re not running your business. You’re just working, right?

Ben Berman:

Right.

Tom Conlon:

You’re doing the work, and then all of a sudden… for me, it was seven years later. I’m like, I’ve got to figure something out, because all I’m doing is designing and building websites. I need to run a business. So, for me, it was like, yeah, I don’t need to be creative and invent my own way of running a successful business. I can be creative in the work, and like you said, it’s liberating. I want a system that’s like: ‘here’s how to run your weekly meeting, here’s how to hire people, here’s how to go after your target market.’ All that stuff. I’m going to be creative in the work, but give me a system for how to run a business as a person who didn’t go to business school and is just figuring this stuff out. Yeah, I’ll take your system and I’ll run with it, and I’ll love it.

Ben Berman:

Yeah, it’s funny. Even as you say that, we have teams that are of the highest business school pedigree, and what’s nice about the system is it’s ability to be flexible. Sometimes I wish I could show just a panoramic of all the different client types and people who are such stark raving fans, but it’s not to say that it’s just this stuffy business school stuff. Included in this is how are we rewarding and recognizing our people, right? How are we helping people get excited about milestones? Because the creative journey is not linear and is not necessarily, okay, we’re just going to get huge wins every eight seconds.

Ben Berman:

It’s helping recognize the progress along the way, so the team is galvanized and excited, and also making sure you’re doing the right work. In your case, I get such a kick out of the work that we’ve done as far as customer personas, or as we call it target market. When you think about who you work with, and you’re really deliberate about that piece, that’s another thing that just makes your life better because you’re able to understand it’s because of the work you do. You are a great marketers, thinkers. You’re great at design. But when you have to take your own medicine, it becomes harder. So, having an outside person helps facilitate a conversation.

Ben Berman:

You’re now in a position to say, who do we really love working with? So, like I said before, virtually anyone with a business could benefit from EOS. That doesn’t mean I want to work with anyone who has a business. There are psychographic things. As opposed to going in with a wide flashlight mentality, we narrow it down to laser focus, whether it be in the work itself or in the actual people and companies we go after to work with. I’d love to hear your perspective because I’ve seen it be quite successful.

Tom Conlon:

I think the two interesting parts about that are through EOS, we defined our core values, and I really like the way that EOS lays that out in the book. That was actually the one thing that I did bring from the book. We’ve since refined them with you, but the idea is you get the top performers — quality versus quantity. You take the best people in your organization and you write on a whiteboard, what are the characteristics that they imbue, and what are the things that make them great?

Tom Conlon:

You write all of those adjectives on the board and you do that for everybody. Then you circle them and you put them into groups, and then you cancel out duplicates or synonyms. Then all of a sudden, you narrow it down to… we came up with six, and these are the values that define the people who are really great here. Therefore, this defines us. And I think that that was a really interesting revelation, right? You talk about core values and people are like, “Oh, right. I’m just going to come up with this stuff off the top of my head.” A lot of stuff people come up with are either aspirational or it’s table stakes, right? It’s like, “Oh, we’re going to always tell the truth.”

Tom Conlon:

If you’re not doing that already, you shouldn’t be in business. Or it’s super aspirational and it doesn’t describe who they are today. If that’s not who you are, then that’s not who you are. You know? So, there was that one piece where it’s defining your core values, and that’s how we hire. That means that who we are looking for is someone who embodies all of these core values. It’s how we filter people… and it’s how we filter clients as well, right?

Ben Berman:

Right.

Tom Conlon:

So, it’s a people thing. It’s people, whether they’re working for us or we’re working for them. If I get on a call with you and I don’t know, you blew me off three times. Then when we finally connect and you don’t strike me as the type of person who listens or puts yourself in other people’s shoes. (Empathy is one of our core values.) Then it’s not going to work, right? If all of a sudden… if you’re already X’d off of two of our core values, then I can already tell you that this relationship is just not going to work, so let’s save ourselves a bunch of time.

Tom Conlon:

So, that goes into… so, that’s related to the target market stuff you were asking about, which is, yeah. Okay, so through EOS, we were able to define… and we already had this down, but it made us refine it, the types of businesses that we want to target, and that we’re most qualified to target, which for us is financial services, professional services and construction, right? Those are the types of businesses that we market to, because we’d done a lot of work in that field, and we really like working with those folks.

Tom Conlon:

But when you get into actually developing the user personas for the customer inside of that business, it goes back to the core values. So, if I look at all of the psychographics stuff we did, where it’s like, okay, the CEO or CMO of one of these financial services companies or law firms say… it’s like, the person that I’m describing is a person that embodies our core values and that I’d want to work with, right? So, it’s all related.

Ben Berman:

Right, right, and the two things that really… to pull out from there, from a core values perspective, I think, is one, is that whatever your company is, it’s unique, right? I mean, there’s a culture at every company, and we want to be really clear about this cultural code in the core values. We’re using those to hire, fire, review, reward, and it enables people to create a context. I love your core values, to be honest. One of yours is Moxie, right?

Ben Berman:

It enables you to have a conversation with someone who maybe is not showing Moxie, as you define it, or on your team, it doesn’t mean that they get the Scarlet letter and they’re gone, but there’s a shared understanding of, hey, here, this is what we’re about. Right? Empathy. Like you said, if you’re not showing empathy to your fellow teammates, to the clients, to everyone, you don’t fit in, in North Street, and frankly, you’re probably not a good client either.

Tom Conlon:

Right.

Ben Berman:

So, what I think is really cool though, is now that you’ve really figured out who your target market is, your three ‘uniques’ are tremendous. When we say three uniques, we say the things that North Street does that their competitors simply cannot. The three uniques are listening, getting it, and wowing. So, we listen, we get it, we wow.

Ben Berman:

To me, you’re able to simplify what makes you tremendous. So many agencies say certain things they do… they’re going to give you the highest quality work product, and they’re going to be fast, or they’re going to promise all these things, but what you’re able to do is hone down to what makes you different. People’s ears perk up when you can simplify it in that way. All your messaging, all your delivery, all your client experience is going to be around those same things, as opposed to saying, “Oh yeah, we’re 47 different things,” and then no one remembers any of them.

Tom Conlon:

Right. So for us, we listen. We actively ask for testimonials from clients after a project launches, and it’s funny. You look back at them and more than half of them just say, “They really listened to us. We would talk to them. They would listen to us.” It also means not really taking a request at face value, right? It’s like, okay, let me hear what you’re saying. Or hey, let me hear what you’re asking for, or what your angle is, and maybe what you’re saying is not how we get there, but I understand what you’re trying to do, right?

Tom Conlon:

So, that’s one of our three uniques. The other is, we get it. That just speaks to the fact that we work in your industry. You know? So, if I’m talking to somebody in the financial services or professional services world, this is what we do. We speak your language. You’re not going to have to give us a Financial Services for Dummies book on day one to get us caught up on how to speak the language. This is stuff that we do on a daily basis. So, we get it, and then we wow, which for us, that just speaks to the work that we do.

Tom Conlon:

We really pride ourselves on not creating stuff that you’ve seen on the internet a thousand times, right? I say this to prospective clients all the time, but there’s been this really disappointing trend in professional services design, where you sort of just do what the other guy is doing, or you take the template that everyone else is using and you put your stuff into it. We don’t do that. We’re going to create something completely custom, completely unique that we hope to add to our portfolio. We’re sort of circling around this, but one of my questions is this: how does EOS help creative agencies sell?

Ben Berman:

We’ve been talking about it, to some extent. There are a multitude of ways. So, the first thing, obviously, it’s about figuring out who your real target market is. Right? And that doesn’t mean anyone who will pay you. It means who do you best work with? Who are the companies? Where do they exist? Where do they live, right? For me, I work with clients all over the country because I’m able to go virtual. So, geographic is less important for me, but for some agencies, they want to be able to get into an office and not have expenses, and sit down with the people and go eye to eye.

Ben Berman:

First and foremost, who is your best possible company, and then who at the company are you going to be interfacing to make that sale? We actually build the list, right? We’re actually going to go and think out who they all are and where they are located. Whether it’s 50, 100 or 1,000 people, let’s get clear on who they are so that we can make sure that we’re networking and we’re communicating, and we’re able to help find our way through those best experience clients.

Ben Berman:

Because those best experience clients, those target market clients, are going to be the ones who are willing to pay you the most and be appreciative of the work. They are going to be the ones who understand the process and ultimately be elated when you deliver the work because you’re giving them something that is not just cookie cutter off the shelf, right? It’s not something that someone who’s just going price shopping is going to beat you at because they’re looking for a third of the price.

Ben Berman:

Their thing looks terrible and there’s no experience there, right? I mean, you could go online yourself and do it and it’d be even cheaper. So, that’s part one. Part two is what we said, the three uniques are differentiators, and this is your secret sauce, right? This is what makes you unique in the marketplace, and when we really get deep on what it is that you do better than everyone else you can simplify it.

Ben Berman:

Again, so for those who know, marketing is an exercise in simplification and repetition, right? Let’s boil it down to what we want them to hear, and let’s have them hear it throughout the time… the first time they see our website, when they’re in the pitch process, they’re hearing it again. Our leave-behinds are reminding them of it. So, there’s no way that they’re going to leave the conversation with us and not be totally clear.

Tom Conlon:

Right.

Ben Berman:

From there, we build a proven process, which is we actually map out for their purposes and for yours as well. What is the customer journey? What is the client journey? So, you’re able to take those things that you do uniquely and actually show “Hey, we’re not just saying it. We’re going to show you how you will experience these things at every step along the way.” It simplifies the project process because you’ve already set expectations. It closes deals because you’re already moving towards it. As soon as you’re in that meeting, you’re already moving towards the close.

Ben Berman:

People have a natural desire to keep moving forward when it comes to a process, and are able to actually express it in really beautiful creative terms. Especially for creative agencies that enable it to have that ‘aha’ effect, so they know you’re not practicing on them. They know you’re the real deal. We also have an optional guarantee, which is the second to last objection. Here’s our guarantee. We’re going to make sure it happens. So, for instance, in EOS, every session that we do is 100% guaranteed. We do not get paid a dime, unless we’ve delivered 110%, we like to say, of the value that we’ve promised.

Ben Berman:

So, it makes it really easy for agencies who were skeptical, to say, “Hey, this sounds really good. I want to take the dive, but I’m not sure it’s going to work with my team. Is my team really going to take to it? Is it really going to work for us? Well, let’s take away the financial risk and let’s go forward, because we know it will.” So, in the EOS perspective, that enables us to start the conversation. The piece that’s often missing, though, is beyond the marketing strategy… it’s the execution piece. It’s figuring out who’s going to be accountable, who’s going to own which piece of the process. How are you going to put the structure together, so you know what your pipeline looks like, and so you know how to move things forward? What activities are actually getting done?

Ben Berman:

It’s taking the financial or business rigor of analysis and cutting it down to the bare minimum that you need in order to be successful. It’s super easy and lightweight, and then putting it all together, so you know that the pieces are moving together. You have a marketing machine that works, a sales machine that works, and frankly, an operate or delivery team that works really well, so that you create more and more referrals just by the work that you do. So, we’re looking at sales from every step along the way. And Tom, I’m curious for you to speak to that.

Tom Conlon:

Well, there’s a lot there, Ben, so I will. First of all, I’d just say that the three uniques and the proven process are great pieces of marketing to put in your pitch decks or your intro decks, as well as on your website. I’d also say, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that the thing with the three uniques is that it’s three different, unique things that together are unique to you, right? So, I think that’s something that people might get intimidated by.

Tom Conlon:

You know what I mean? How am I going to come up with three things that only North Street does? And I would say that there’s only a fraction of businesses worldwide that could say that they do one thing that no other company on earth does, right? I think it’s a fool’s errand to go and find three different things. I think the idea of EOS is, okay, this is your recipe, right? These are the three things that together make North Street, or make your business completely unique.

Ben Berman:

That’s exactly right. So, in your example, maybe some others listen really well and maybe some others get it, and maybe some others provide really wow experiences, but very few, at least in your space, do the combination of the three that well. So, for us, you can go and look, and you can do strategic planning with someone else, and do vision, right. Or you could go and have an execution system that’ll help you get some more things done, and you can do team health exercises, but the reason why EOS is dominating across all the industries is because there is nothing else on the planet that gives you all three so excessively, right? The strategic planning involves getting everyone on board.

Ben Berman:

Tom, we’ve been through some really amazing things where two members of the team had some real tension and they’re great guys. I mean, they’re great people on your team. Kudos to you for using your core values, because core values are things that don’t just go up on the wall. You actually have to use, and even then, there’s friction sometimes, between different departments by design. We’ve been able to really go head to head and have really constructive conversations that started out uncomfortable, but ended up making the team that much more united and effective together.

Tom Conlon:

Yeah, and I think that’s one of the biggest things we’ve gotten out of EOS, is just this culture of open and honest communication. I think I went from being like, oh, I am the owner and I pay all these people to work here, but they could take it or leave it. It’s just a job. I think it’s helped me realize that these guys care. My team cares. They really do. They care about not just their own job, but they want to do what’s best for the company and what’s best for the clients, and so knowing that enables us to have super real conversations.

Tom Conlon:

We’ve actually got our L10 later today, and have some juicy topics on the agenda that I’m looking forward to. You know what I mean? There’s no longer this elephant in the room. Or, if there is tension, we’re able to address it and cut through it really quickly because it’s like — what are we even talking about here? We’re talking about improving the company and what’s best for you is what’s best for us, is what’s best for the business, the bottom line, and the client, right? So, yeah, that’s been one of the biggest things we’ve gotten out of it. I want to go back to the marketing stuff from before because you mentioned it, but you didn’t really explicitly say it, which is the scorecard, right?

Ben Berman:

Oh, yeah.

Tom Conlon:

That’s another piece of it. That’s another piece of the marketing puzzle when it comes to helping creative businesses sell is that we’ve got a scorecard. I think we’re looking at 50 metrics a week but we’re going through it really quickly because we report on it ahead of time, ahead of the meeting. Our metrics are leading and lagging, right? So, it’s things that we’re reporting on that happen, but also things that speak to the future. So, for a new business, it’s how many new business meetings do I have?

Tom Conlon:

How much time am I spending on outreach per week? Because those things will lead to revenue. Whereas just reporting revenue is… we do it, but I like having a mix of both. You know what I mean? And our scorecard metrics also have things on it, like number of socials on the calendar. Number of one-on-one employee meetings on the calendar and stuff like that. So, yeah. Talk to me about scorecards a little bit and how you’re seeing creative agencies implement it.

Ben Berman:

So, just to clarify, across those many metrics, there are multiple scorecards. So, the idea is we’re boiling it down to (generally speaking) five to 15 mostly leading indicators. It’s not a dashboard. Dashboards tells you, here’s what happened, right? What we’re looking at is, what do we need to have happen in order to make sure that everything is on track.

Ben Berman:

It’s pretty simple. What gets measured gets done. And this is where it gets a little bit kooky sometimes, because you can think of it at a high level, but how are you going to do it for your sales team, if you have a sales team, or your marketing team, or on the dev team, or even certainly when it comes to creative? How do you add quantitative rigor to something that is so fluid, right? And what we’ve found is, by engaging team members to really help them define their own paths and get a sense, it all fits together. Right?

Ben Berman:

So, in layman’s terms, or in lay person’s terms, I would say it’s what we need to do every week in order to be successful across all the departments. Let’s make sure we’re tracking those things because if any of those things are off, if we’re not having those meetings with our employees or we’re not having the meetings with prospects or leads, down the line we’re going to feel that pain. An employee leaves, or we’re not able to close what we want to, or our pipeline is bare, but we want to catch it before we hit the iceberg.

Ben Berman:

So, that’s the magic of the scorecard piece. We’re able to take rocks and say, what are we focusing on this quarter above all else? We’re able to build process — and when I say process, I am not talking about the 500 page manuals that these big corporates create — so that we can all do it in a way that’s going to work for the entire team. Right? Then of course, with the accountability chart, it’s who is really accountable for what? Who owns what piece?

Ben Berman:

So, it all fits together. As we go down through the organization we have an accountable team who’s able to flex their creative muscle and make sure they’re doing things that are going to ultimately benefit the business, focus on the particular foci for the quarter, and of course, work together really, really well. So, I went off scorecard a little bit there, but it’s because that ‘aha’ moment is where it all fits together.

Ben Berman:

That’s where the thing really runs. We say 80% strong in the six key components, right? Vision, people, data, issues, process, and traction. It all fits together, and that’s why we give the books away for free so often because it helps get people excited and starting to do the right things. But it’s also connecting the different pieces in that electric system so that all the lights light up correctly together, and you’re able to adjust course if one seems to be off track.

Tom Conlon:

Cool. So, I have something fun and interesting coming up, and I’d love your perspective on it.

Ben Berman:

Sure.

Tom Conlon:

We’re a creative agency that runs EOS, and it looks like we’re about to start working with our first client who runs EOS, which is a law firm. I’m excited about it, but I would love to hear your perspective on what happens when two EOS companies get together?

Ben Berman:

Oh, cool. I mean, you’re teeing me up. Everyone knows it’s magic, right? Because you now have two well-oiled machines who understand each other. Part of the benefit of EOS, frankly, is it’s not like we’re creating such a new language, but there are terms that people use, and it enables people across industries to really collaborate. So, if you’re in a peer group or you even have a bunch of friends who are entrepreneurs, at this point, it’s spreading like such wildfire. We’re looking to, in the relatively near future, get to a hundred thousand companies running on EOS so chances are you’re going to run into some.

Ben Berman:

Two things happen. Number one is, companies that run on EOS like to work with other companies that run on EOS. Period. It’s why so many people are putting those badges on their website, because it shows, “Hey, we work well, and if you understand it, you already know,” right? You’re running it in your own company, you already know. So, it’s going to help you sell more, and then as far as the collaboration understanding, right? They know law really, really well, right? You know creative really, really well, but you speak the same language.

Ben Berman:

So, when you’re speaking about certain things, they get it, and you get it. In fact, even if you weren’t working together you’d be able to collaborate and share ideas, best practices, and learning’s that otherwise you’d be so caught up in the industry jargon it wouldn’t make sense. Right? KPIs and OKRs, and this and that. It’s like, we’re able to boil it down to the simplest thing. One of the things that we’re so proud of is it keeps it simple. So, it’s not like they’re going to speak legal-ease to you. Not that you wouldn’t understand it.

Ben Berman:

You know it quite well, and it’s greater than the sum of its parts they understand how well you work and you understand how well they work. So, whether it’s in the sales process or actually in the implementation phase, there’s this synergistic flow that happens when you’re able to cut through all the nonsense noise and speak the same language.

Tom Conlon:

Yeah. I’m excited. I mean, it’s funny. It’s like they already know and have had a look under the hood of how we work, right? They know how we operate and what we value and the things we prioritize. And I, to a certain extent, know how they operate under the hood even though they’re still a prospective client. So it cuts through so much of the mystery, right? And the funny thing, too, is our proposal to them contains things like our proven process and our three uniques, and our core values. I just know that they’re reading it and they’re like, “Oh, my god. Yeah. We have these things, too.” So, it’s exciting.

Ben Berman:

Yeah, and it’s comforting, right? It’s comforting knowing that when people see how well it works, it’s comforting knowing, “Oh, yeah, they’ve got it under control.” This is the mark of a good business, right?

Tom Conlon:

Yeah.

Ben Berman:

Yeah, that’s terrific! I’m really excited. They’re probably going to be a good client because EOS tends to select for good people and people who fit your target market.

Tom Conlon:

Yeah, and they’ve been running it for a while, so I agree. If someone’s been running it for years, you know that it’s a certain type of company, a certain type of leader, right?

Ben Berman:

Right, right.

Tom Conlon:

So, I’m definitely excited about that one. All right. So, talk to me about implementation and where it starts. You know what I mean? So, let’s just say I’ve heard of the book, Traction. People are talking about it. I’ve spoken to a couple of entrepreneurs and half of them are running EOS. I remember, for me, I was at an event called ‘Nerve’ with the Entrepreneurs Organization, and it was really funny. I was sitting and there were hundreds of us there from the East coast, people who run their own businesses, all different sizes. I might’ve told you this, but I remember speaking to people that week and speaking to businesses way bigger than mine, $50 million businesses.

Tom Conlon:

I remember asking everybody, “So, what was the turning point in your company? What were the things that you did?” And it’s funny because people would be like, “Oh, yeah, we did this.” Or, “That was when we acquired whomever”… and then seriously, at least half of them said, “Oh, right, and then we started running EOS.” I was like, right. So, I’ve read the book. Great. Now, what? And that’s funny because that’s the same week I was introduced to you, through a mutual friend. And I thought, okay, I’m ready to go. This conversation has got me fired up. What do I do now?

Ben Berman:

Yeah, yeah, and I’m happy to answer. This is one of my favorite questions, but before I answer I’ll say that what’s so funny about that is the companies that are really successful, almost without fail, are really running on EOS, right? They’ve used an implementer. They’ve gone through the process that I’m about to describe, and not just read the book. So, when you start to see piecemeal, that’s where it starts to usually crumble. Running on EOS means working with implementers, someone like me, who’s really going to help guide your business.

Ben Berman:

So, first things first is you, you can always call me 212-517-1836. I’ll always take the call, and if I’m not there, I’ll get back to you quickly on ben.berman@eosworldwide. So, all right, you’re jacked up. You want to hear more. Then what happens? We’ll have a conversation, make sure that it seems like it’s a good fit. Then from there, we do something called the 90 minute meeting.

Ben Berman:

The idea here is, we want to make sure if we’re going to go forward — our time is our inventory, so we want to make sure that it’s going to be a really tremendous fit and you’re going to get everything you want out of it. So we will have a meeting, for free, where we invest our time and really take you through what the engagement looks like. Everything you could possibly imagine. Obviously, our proven process is involved, but from inception on day one all the way through the journey, what discuss what happens and what you’ll feel at different stages along the way.

Ben Berman:

And what I think you can speak to, Tom, is the experience levels up, right? Day one, it’s like, holy crap. I can’t believe what I’ve just learned. We’re going to go and put this into action. Then we have support and there are phone calls in between, and we’re making sure that we’re tightening the screws. Then we go to the next level. Oh, we’re looking at the vision. Now we’ve got the vision to go execute, and that’s super exciting. And what’s nice is the stuff that’s not really in the book, building that foundation in the beginning and bringing in all kinds of tools… team health, maximizing your cash flow, if you’re going to have a merger and acquisition, etc.

Ben Berman:

I mean, pretty much anything you can imagine in business, we have a tool for, but we’ve got to get the engine functioning. We’ve got to get the foundation built first, and then we build up from there. It would be like trying to pick out a chandelier before you even have the ceiling up on a house. It doesn’t make sense, right? It’s going to come crumbling to the ground. So, we actually take you through the full understanding of everything you need to know to move forward confidently, and everything you need to know throughout the experience. We say the journey, on average, is to go from “I know nothing about EOS,” to “I have a company that’s super strong in EOS.”

Ben Berman:

We say it’s about two years, but you’re going to feel massive jumps at every step along the way. First day, first month, first quarter and onward. What I’ve found is a lot of my clients stick around because even though they know EOS really well, just having an outside observer and facilitator brings that added value. We’re always trying to provide 10X more value than what’s expected. So the journey and what your expectation is, depending on your size, could last a year, two years, or possibly longer. We’ll get you up on the EOS side, but it’s the added kind of intangible effect that that just drives you forward and in many cases is why my clients have stuck around.

Tom Conlon:

Yeah. I’ll say that reading the book Traction is super inspirational, but it’s also super overwhelming.

Ben Berman:

Totally.

Tom Conlon:

I think until it gets to the last chapter you’re like, whoa, there’s a ton here. Then in the last chapter, he ties it together and it starts to demystify a little bit. But yeah, I think the important thing to understand is that you definitely can’t put everything into place all at once, because you’ll go insane. But there’s a methodology to starting here and getting all of these pieces built, then building on top of it, building on top of it, building on top of it. I think we’re at the point now where it’s probably been two years, right?

Tom Conlon:

But we still need you for our quarterlies and our yearly. It’s part referee, and it’s part coach. It’s also part, I don’t know, hype man.

Ben Berman:

Yeah. Certainly in my case. Not everyone’s that way, but I think you touched on an important point that often gets missed. People read the book, they get all excited and then they go, “Oh, crap. How the heck am I going to find the time to do this?” The nice thing is it’s just changing how you do certain things. In virtually all cases, we’re just changing it. Now, we’re going to take time to make sure that it’s right and we’re going to make the time investment in the process, but on a day-to-day level, it’s not like it’s this huge lift where you’re having to have a second job to just bring in EOS. This was built for busy entrepreneurs. That’s the whole point.

Ben Berman:

The whole point is, if you’re sitting around with time on your hands, there’s nothing going wrong and you’re good to go, EOS is probably not right for you. But if you’re busy and you’re trying to find more time in the day, or you want to get to a place that you’re not currently at, you’re probably going to be a perfect candidate for EOS. And what’s more, you’re going to enjoy how simple and easy it is to implement.

Tom Conlon:

Yeah. I’ll just add on to that — when you first read it, some businesses, especially maybe smaller ones, are like, “Wait, a 90 minute meeting once a week to just talk about the business? I don’t have time for that.” I have to say, if you’re not spending at least 90 minutes a week just with your leadership team talking about issues and opportunities, things that need to be fixed or improved — I don’t know what you’re doing, because it’s insane.

Ben Berman:

Right, and if you think about the structure of the meeting, you’re probably doing a lot of this stuff ad hoc anyway. So, that 90 minutes, the vast majority of that is solving issues. The worst thing to do is go to a meeting where it could have been an email, right? The pandemic has shown us that meme that went around in the beginning. We’ve learned what really could be emails. Meetings that are mostly reporting are a waste of time. Right?

Ben Berman:

What we’re looking to do is build the culture of ‘let’s get the issues on the table, let’s see where we’re at, and let’s make sure we’re measuring it and on track’ so we can continue to build the team and solve these things for good, not just swat it away. The gnat that is never going to go away if you don’t deal with the infestation, right? I’m with it 100%, as you can tell, because I’ve been on the other side and I’ve had it worked for me as a business owner as well.

Tom Conlon:

Nice, nice. All right, man. Well, you’re busy. I’m busy. Everyone watching this video are busy, so let’s get onto the next thing. Any parting words?

Ben Berman:

Yeah. My parting words are just that our passion is really to help, and that if you’re unsure, we love having introductory conversations. So, if you’re on the fence and maybe it’s not a budget thing, maybe it’s not a time thing, take the 15 minutes and make the call and we’ll tell you honestly if it’s a fit because, like I said, we have limited time inventory and we only want to work with great clients like Tom who are going to get great success, are committed, have Moxie, have empathy, are versatile, and are self-aware. I’m looking at his core values right now.

Ben Berman:

So, if you’re not sure, I would say reach out and we’ll find out quite honestly. And part of the appeal is we’ll turn people away if it’s not the right time. So, that would be my parting shot. My only other parting shot is for those of you who are seeing this through my network or the EOS network, if you haven’t gone and seen some of the work that North Street is capable of doing, and you fit that target market that Tom described, go, run! Do not walk to your phone, your computer, and go look them up because they are phenomenal. Of course, part of the reason they’re phenomenal is they’re running EOS.

Tom Conlon:

All right. Thanks buddy. This was awesome, and look forward to seeing you again soon.

Ben Berman:

Likewise, man. Thank you, and always a pleasure to help.

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