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Focus on Essentials—What NOT to Take


As a former backpacker, I was taught, “backpacking is the art of knowing what NOT to take.” Think about that for a moment—it is about focusing on the essentials because the remainder will not achieve your desired outcome.

The Appalachian Trail is 2,200 miles long, and we were fastidious about what NOT to take. We did not want our backpacks to weigh more than 60 pounds at any given time; one criterion was that every item in our packs had to serve at least two purposes.

EOS®is about knowing what NOT to take; only we describe it as the entrepreneurial 80/20 rule. In short, the rule asserts that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.

I encourage leadership teams to focus on the essentials that will drive the results they want to get from their business. One of the first concepts we discuss is the ability of a leadership team to simplify everything in their company. As companies grow it is not uncommon to build complexity. Perhaps to make sure nothing gets missed, or to ensure everything gets done the way we want it to get done. Leaders must master the skill of reducing complexity and obsess about simplicity. If leaders approach complexity as the enemy, it will really help them get clear about what they have to do.

The EOS Foundational Tools™ are all designed to help you simplify everything:

  • Accountability Chart: creates absolute clarity around what needs to get done
  • V/TO™: a 2-page strategic plan that focuses everyone on the company vision
  • Rock Sheet: the 3 – 7 priorities for the next 90 days
  • Level 10 Meeting™: 90 minutes weekly to work “on” the business and solve issues
  • Scorecard: 5 – 15 activity-based, leading numbers that get you the results you want

Notice the numbers associated with the tools—a 2-page strategic plan, not the 50 page, bound document; 3 to 7 priorities, not 45; 90 minute focused meeting, not 3 hours; and 5 to 15 leading numbers, not 25 lagging numbers.

Remember, it is all about knowing what NOT to take. If you need help figuring that out, you can chat about it with me. The consult form below is your direct ticket to good advice from someone who knows EOS®and has walked in your shoes. It’s tougher than you think to simplify—but complicating business processes makes them less likely to be followed. So let’s focus on the 20%, leave the 80% behind, and use the essentials to move your business forward.



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