Impressions on "Traction"

A couple of thoughts after finishing this book by Gino Wickman

Last updated on 10 August 2022. Created on 2 December 2021.

I have mixed feelings about this book and none of them related to the fact that it was a mandatory reading.

The mixed feelings come from the fact that it seems a book written to help the people and the company behind it to sell their services. It's not pushy in any way. It's subtle but I still felt it.

Ignoring that, here's what I think.

  1. It's useless if you read it once from start to finish and put it in the bookshelf. I've chosen to read it from top to bottom, make some notes here and there and then restart it. While restarting it, I will pause at certain points and perform various suggested actions. Some of these actions might take a while. When they are done I will resume the book.

  2. It's useful for both people that are new to leading and management but also for those who have been doing this for a while. The book reveals that after using this EOS system for a while you learn to prioritize outstanding issues or dismiss them. The key thing here is dismissing stuff I think. This long list of things that "we should do some day" adds unnecessary pressure. It also creates this feeling of not having enough time. So learning to dismiss things is valuable. How are going to do that? By knowing what is truly important.

After you prioritize things, all your energy will be focused on a couple of items. This creates progress and momentum.

Sure there will be bumps on the road. Stretching too thin by adding too many items on the focused list. Or miscalculating the effort required. But as long as, individually and as a group you learn and adapt, then things will be fine.

  1. The importance of finding the right people. This translates into:
  • taking the time when recruiting somebody. The higher the role, the more time is needed both for finding the right fit and for convincing that person.
  • firing somebody is just as important. Having people misaligned with the company values should be dismissed. The sooner, the better.
  • being cheap with a person already in your team will cost you much more in the long run.
  1. Structured meetings are good for everybody.

I used to think that meetings are useless. Waste of time. We don't need them, and we shouldn't have them. That's extreme. The other side of extreme is inviting everybody into all meetings. So common sense and best practice tells me this:

  • invite the minimum number of people necessary for that meeting.
  • have a clear topic and goal for the meeting.
  • communicate any information needed prior to the meeting.
  • if you think you need 1 hour, schedule 50 minutes.

After finishing the book, the process seems quite simple. Then why isn't everybody doing it? The devil is in the details I'm sure. First, lack of practice. Also, let's not forget that this is the business of working with people. Which is not easy. Nevertheless, the book and the accompanying website offers you the basic tools needed to go through each step in the process.

It will take time. It will take a lot of it if the team is not disciplined. This is where, most likely, their services would be useful. Keep track of things, keeping things organized and everybody accountable.

Which, in the end, feels like it's the ultimate goal, right? Define where we want to go. Create a plan of how to get there. And then making sure each and every person is clear on what they need to do, how to do it and be responsible for the outcome.

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