The Smarter Way Forward, Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond
By Linda Maclachlan
We decided to share some inside “secret sauce” with our audience. At Entara, our tagline is not just a marketing phrase; it’s the way we classify, organize, and execute work in front of us. It’s also the practical way we engage with our clients in developing and executing a roadmap to the future.
It’s a principle rooted in the Entrepreneurs Operating System (EOS) model. For those not familiar with EOS, it’s a business methodology that brings simplicity, organization, accountability, and ultimately traction to a company on their journey into the future.
One of the key operating principles of EOS is categorizing all ideas, projects, goals, requirements, and problems to be solved into one of three buckets:
- Starting with a 5-year horizon, what will the world look like? What does our organization look like? What technology will we need to have in practice then? Etc.
- As we paint the picture of where we are headed in the next five years, what are the goals we need to achieve in the coming year to stay on course? What new systems need to be delivered? What changes need to occur in the organization? What problems need to be solved once and for all?
- Then finally, to achieve our yearly goals, what needs to happen this quarter to stay on track?
We call these three buckets Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, and it’s part of our everyday language at Entara.
It’s so simple, yet so powerful. And it works.
At Entara, we have plenty of those “beyond” projects, and they are listed on our own roadmap to the future so we never lose sight of the journey we are on ourselves. In our disciplined quarterly meetings, they are reviewed one by one, and we can decide to take any of these actions to each project based on insights and work done since the last quarterly meeting:
- Move it to “tomorrow,” meaning it is now on the docket for the coming year.
- Keep it in “beyond,” either as is or with some tweaks.
- Remove it altogether.
We also have clear, measurable goals and projects for this year, our “tomorrow.” And finally, we have those goals and projects that are right in front of us for this quarter, our “today.”
As life happens, and new issues arise and new ideas are generated between quarters, the temptation is always there to chase every squirrel, resulting in many projects in process with few completed, otherwise known as chaos. Most of us have experienced environments like this, and it’s a losing battle. Morale goes down, there are not enough resources, and too often the projects have not been thoroughly analyzed before beginning the work. Of course, the real problem with squirrel-chasing is that the journey stops, and the promised business benefits of all the “work” being done aren’t there. Our disciplined process stops that vicious cycle. Now, the response to that great idea is, “Fantastic! Let’s add it to the Beyond,” knowing it will be discussed by the leadership team in less than 90 days from today, and 90 days goes by quickly.
I went to Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Business, and I am grateful for what I learned there, the people I met, and the experiences I’ve had as a direct result. Entara would not exist today without that experience. However, the older I get, the more convinced I am that da Vinci was right: Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
We’ve been using this simple EOS model internally for over three years with great success, and we are now embedding some of its crucial elements into the way we engage with clients as part of our standard, ongoing roadmapping process:
- Where do we need to be in 5 years? (Beyond.)
- Where do we need to be by the end of this year? (Tomorrow.)
- Where do we need to be the end of this quarter? (Today.)
One last point on the specifics of what goes on the roadmap: Keeping simplification projects on the docket for every “today” and “tomorrow” provides the space needed to journey with a steady foot into the “beyond,” where just as da Vinci realized, the power of the future lies in the art of taking our progressively complex world and finding the simplest solutions. No organization, no department, and no person can keep adding without subtracting and condensing at some point.
By following this super simple process, it’s magical how the “beyond” continuously evolves into “tomorrow,” and the “tomorrow” evolves into “today,” pointing the best way forward for all, along with measurable success.
To the journey!
The Smarter Way Forward
Today, Tomorrow and Beyond