All Hands on Deck

Posted by Walt Brown on Jul 30, 2018 11:24:00 AM

Your Organizational Operating System is your disaster plan.

“All hands on deck.”

This saying has special meaning to me and it involves danger and lives. Having raced large sailboats 60+ feet long with 100 foot tall masts and 17 people on the crew, I’ve heard this phrase a few times. To me and my team, this did not mean “mad scramble”. It meant get up here, man your position, understand the issue, and pay attention so we can get everything under control as a team.

One prime directive was Do Not Leave Your Position unless someone is hurt or going overboard. If we just scrambled on to the next problem, even with the intention of helping, the whole situation would cascade into chaos. Like in kids soccer - when everyone runs to the ball, they leave the rest of the field wide open. In this case, we were dealing with loads in the tens of thousands of pounds and real life-or-death danger.

This phrase takes me to thinking of my clients and their Organizational Operating System: EOS.

In the face of a tough situation...

  • How would they communicate?
  • How would they prioritize?
  • How would they get the situation under control?
  • How would they get moving again?
  • Who was going to do what?

“The answer is in the tools” is what I always tell my clients…. and it applies in those situations.

The EOS Foundational Tools:

  • Vision / Traction Organizer = Back to the plan, reminder of your future.
  • Rocks = Back to your priorities.
  • Meeting Pulse = Back to addressing current hurdles and new priorities.
  • Accountability Chart = Back to who’s doing what. Use it to eliminate duplicate efforts.
  • Scorecard = Back to the basics. Reminder of important activities required to keep the boat moving.

Once these tools are in place, you can evaluate if you are running a Patient Organization. Use the VTO to ensure everyone on the boat knows where they are going and how they will get there. Use the accountability chart to confirm everyone knows their responsibilities. You don’t want your team jumping from task to task on the boat when it’s more beneficial for them to man their own position diligently. Does your team fully understand the importance of your rocks? Do your people feel that they: belong, believe, know what they’re accountable for and how they’re measured, heard, developed and balanced?

When you have an Organizational Operating System in place (EOS) and your people can answer yes to those 7 questions, you have a Patient Organization. When you have a Patient Organization, your team will be ready and fully able to handle the tough situations.

Next time you have a situation where you need “all hands on deck”, remember these tools and questions. Apply resources, understand who’s handling what, and align actions.

No, it will not be easy. But, it’s the place to start.



Topics: Believe, Accountable, Measured

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