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Book Review: Traction by Gino Wickman

Kiley Peters

Entrepreneurship, Resources

For years I've heard about Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman. Many business folks hold this book and it's Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) as the holy grail of entrepreneurship and small business ownership.

Now, this may not be a terribly popular opinion, but I feel it's a bit antiquated.

I think this Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) framework based on Vision, People, Data, Issues, Process, and Traction is validated and applicable to more traditional ways of doing business, but I have three fundamental beefs with the content presented in this book.

  1. Communication is lacking throughout the entire framework. Wickman does a great job of identifying and clarifying a lot of structure for entrepreneurs (and let's be real, we crave that shit), but what he forgets about is communication. The only communication mentioned in the book is a lot of leadership team meetings and a few all-company town halls. It's completely missing human communication.
  2. It bypasses the freelance and gig economy completely. If I had to guess, I would think this book was written mostly for businesses that had inventory or more traditional daily business operations. Which is all well and good, but it really misses a huge part of how many businesses and individuals are operating today. Now, this book was published in 2012, so it's almost a decade old, but I still think it's worth identifying that what has worked in the past isn't necessarily the same blueprint for the future.
  3. It forgets grace and gratitude. Now if you want to chastise me for bringing grace and gratitude into the world of entrepreneurship, you can show yourself out the door. But I really believe these two elements are essential to building a sustainable business and these are also lacking in this book. The grace to be gentle with yourself and the gratitude for the people and circumstances you find yourself surrounded by. This is a tough life, but it's an amazing life. I think Traction, as is, lacks the built-in reminders to not take these things for granted.

All that being said, the structures and core concepts presented in Traction are absolutely helpful in providing clarity on finding the right people, ensuring they're in the right places, and being intentional about your organization chart and responsibilities. But all in all, it begs the question: "what does today's entrepreneurial operating system look like?"

Glad you asked...more to come in the next few months on that...

Kiley Owner & CEO, Brainchild Studios

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