One of the most powerful tools in the EOS® toolkit is the V/TO – the Vision/Traction Organizer™. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s worth getting to know. So, what is the V/TO?
Simply put, the V/TO is a simplified strategic plan, similar to the one that many organizations create to get a startup loan. The difference is that the traditional plan submitted to a bank is typically 50 pages long, or more, while the V/TO is only two pages.
It’s a more practical version that describes your vision for the organization in simple terms and forms a plan for executing on that vision.
The V/TO template consists of eight questions that the organization’s leadership team answers. Here’s my take on those questions:
1. What are your Core Values?
A lot of companies develop lofty core value statements designed to impress their customers. But your V\TO Core Value statement should be more internally focused. It’s about your culture, defining who you are as an organization. It’s not about what will attract customers. Instead, it’s about the organization’s identity. How do we do our jobs? How do we interact with each other? What’s important to us?
2. What is your Core Focus?
What are you great at? What’s your passion? Your core focus is your niche, the thing that you plan to excel at. I recently asked one of my clients, “What excites you? Why do you come to work each day?” Their response: “To make our customers feel vacation-happy.” That’s the type of statement we’re going for here – something that speaks to the very heart of your organization’s purpose and inspires your team.
3. What is your 10-year target?
This is a big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG) for your organization. It’s the ideal – in a perfect world, where will you be 5, 10, or even 20 years from now.
4. What is your (high level) marketing strategy?
The marketing strategy is all about drawing a mental image of your ideal customer and figuring out how to connect with them. What are the demographic, geographic, and psychographic (what they value) qualities that define your ideal customer? What are your Three Uniques – three characteristics that, when combined, set you apart from your competitors. Your Three Uniques will resonate with your ideal customer, making you the clear choice.
5. What is your 3-year picture?
Now we start to bring your lofty 10-year target down to the ground. If you’re going to hit your 10-year target, where do you need to be 3 years from now? Give it some life by creating a picture of what it’ll look like so it’s inspiring and easy for everyone to begin to conceptualize and get excited about.
6. What is your 1-year plan?
If you’re going to achieve your 3-year picture, what do you need to accomplish in the next year? Here you’ll get specific with 3 to 7 goals that you want your company to achieve. Why only 3 to 7? Because if everything is important, nothing is important!
7. What are your Rocks (quarterly priorities)?
Your rocks are the final break down, setting up action items that relate to your 1-year plan, but this time, in 90-day increments. What tasks do you need to complete in the next 90 days to be on track for your 1-year plan? Setting “Rocks” every 90 days helps to keep you and your team focused on your goals for the year.
8. What are the issues getting in the way of achieving all of this?
The last - but definitely not least - question asks what will prevent you from achieving your goals. What will stop you from making your plans become a reality? Take a hard look at your organization. Envision where you want it to go and identify the issues that will stand in your way. These are hurdles that you’ll work to eliminate in order to clear the path to success.
Once you’re completed your V/TO, it’s crucial that you share it with your entire team. We’ve all heard the cliches about rowing in the same direction but think of it this way. Your leadership team is rowing your organization’s boat, and all the other staff members are sitting in the boat cheering you on. Is that enough? Will you be able to achieve your goals that way? Maybe, but…
Sharing your V/TO is about recruiting rowers. Every team member who starts rowing brings you closer to your goals. It’s not enough to be in the boat. We need everyone rowing. That creates synergy!
So, share your V/TO early and frequently. Keep reminding everyone what the goals are and how you plan to achieve them. Get them excited about your vision, and they’ll be rowing right alongside you.
About the Author
Kirsten Smith, founder of Made to Thrive Consulting, is a business management strategist and EOS Implementer®. She has over 20 years Business Development and Management experience with small and large organizations alike, including those listed among the Fortune 500. She is both a business professional and motivational speaker covering a range of topics including attitude change, effective sales techniques, customer service excellence, and personality profiling. Her passion is helping entrepreneurs and leaders be the very best version of themselves and to do more than just survive … THRIVE!
Contact Kirsten at email@example.com.
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