Book Review

Get a Grip: An Entrepreneurial Fable by Gino Wickman and Mike Paton is a must read for any business owner focused on growth.

While it’s interesting for owners of companies of any size, it really hit home for me. Roundpeg is in a growth phase where sales are increasing, we are adding team members to meet demand and processes are starting to break down.

Get a Grip identifies the elements a business owner needs to address to move past the first growth plateau and gain traction in their business. The authors construct a fictional company and weave a story of their process through implementation of this model to make it easier to see how the model can be implemented in a real business.

The Model

While their efforts as fiction writers are less than stellar (their characters are one dimensional) the model itself is solid. The elements of the traction model include:

Vision – Where are you going? As you look forward one, five and ten years, what do you see in the future for your business? Vision is more than just sales volume. As you double or triple your sales you will face growth challenges. Creating a vision for your company focuses everyone in the same direction so they can work together to develop plans to address the challenges.

People  – You can’t do it alone. You need to surround yourself with great people and involve them in the process. Finding the right people isn’t easy. The recruiting process starts with more than a job description.

What are the values that are important to your organization? Think about the core skills, abilities and characteristics which make someone successful on your team. Look at people who have been successful and people who never quite fit.

When you understand your core values, you’ll have greater success bringing the right people on board. Once you do, involve them in the process of moving your team forward.

Data – There is an old saying- “What you measure matters.” Data helps you measure. It means paying attention to numbers which give you a sense of how the business is doing.

While revenue is important, it is a lagging indicator. For Roundpeg, we look at web traffic, downloads, calls and proposals. By focusing activity on those elements, the revenue takes care of itself.

Issues– How do you handle issues now? If you’re like most business owners, the crisis of the moment is what gets your attention. Part of this model is identifying all the issues and prioritizing them. Focus your attention and that of your team on solving just a few at a time. Develop lasting solutions to issues so you can move your attention onto something else.

Process – To grow or scale you need consistency and systems. A standard process makes it easier to on-board new employees and judge where you are in a project. Better systems are not more complicated. Simple procedures are the key because they are easier to implement and follow.

Traction – All of this planning is great in theory. The challenge is making it real. Stop talking about creating a process and do it.

This is not a one and done process. It takes continuous work, but it is possible. The authors lay out a clear road map of how to get from beginning to end. If the soft story of Carol and Victor is distracting, read “Traction,” another book by the same authors which outlines the model and leaves out the narrative.

Does it work? You’ll have to read the book and decide for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.