“Rocks,” “Level 10,” “V/TO,” and “Right Person, Right Seat.” A new language and way of doing business has taken hold at PHC and it is all part of an effort to further enhance its operations.
Whether they realize it or not, every organization has an operating system -- a way that human energy is guided to solve problems, prioritize, communicate, and lead. An effective and efficient system is important because it helps employees achieve goals and put the organization’s vision and mission into action.
With an ambitious strategic plan and a big vision to be advocates and leaders for the humanities in PA, PHC wanted to prioritize next steps, clarify roles, and identify the changes needed to achieve its mission. Core to that is culture -- determining how the organization works together and what it most values.
After carefully evaluating its own internal needs, PHC’s leadership team turned to the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS) for a reboot. EOS provides industry-tested concepts, practical tools, and coach-led learning modules that help all employees accomplish meaningful and rewarding work to the best of their abilities. These new resources are especially important to PHC as a statewide organization leading complex tasks in partnership with communities across the state, as well as administering numerous emergency relief grants and educational programs.
“It is teaching us how to organize our human energy around priorities to help things move forward,” said Brandon Woods, PHC’s Operations Manager. “The goal of EOS is to get everyone rowing in the same direction.”
An organization-wide implementation of EOS does not happen overnight and starts with undergoing an in-depth journey with a trained consultant. For that, PHC connected with Monica Justice, Certified EOS Implementer® with The Allele Group, who worked pro bono with senior staff members virtually throughout 2020.
Justice says EOS accomplishes three main things:
- Helps leaders align on their vision for the organization and have that vision shared by the entire team.
- Provides tools that support focus, discipline, and accountability so the right stuff is always getting done to move the vision forward.
- Fosters a high-performing, fun-loving team who share the same core values.
Part of the EOS training focused on identifying, planning, and executing PHC’s highest priorities projects -- called “Rocks.” Rocks are assessed within 90-day timeframes and answer the question, ‘What is most important right now?’ Longer term goals are set at the 1, 3, and 10 year marks.
Senior staff also worked with Justice to better structure their meetings and created a set of core values to help guide day-to-day operations.
“Since beginning to implement EOS, I've observed the PHC leadership team gain greater clarity on their roles, improve their ability to predict and execute on their plans through quarterly Rock setting, and work through issues together as a team,” said Justice.
The EOS model involves six key components that are progressively strengthened in order for an organization to improve its performance: vision, people, data, issues, process, and traction.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, these six components, and the developed core values, snapped into action as senior staff worked as a team to set goals and marshall PHC’s resources to address the emerging crisis.
“It was really special for me, as their Implementer, to see the core values get more dialed in over time as the PHC team navigated COVID19,” said Justice. “They say it takes a crisis for you to see what people are really made of.”
The EOS system arrived just in time to support two new major initiatives starting in 2021: an organizational equity journey with Promoting Good LCC and a strategic rebranding with Paragraph Inc.
“It is exciting to watch us increase traction on our key priorities,” said Laurie Zierer, PHC’s executive director. “PHC has always performed at a high level but EOS is giving us the tools to accomplish even more as we support people-centered humanities projects throughout the state of Pennsylvania.”
EOS will be rolled out to all PHC staff and board members throughout 2021.