I’ve been following Justin Jackson for a while now, got the chance to do a quick interview with him on SlopeFillers, and have since thoroughly enjoyed his and Jon’s story as they’ve built Transister.fm.
His Saturday morning newsletter asked what books everyone had not just read recently, but purchased.
And rather than a cursory tweet, I figured I’d check the “write a blog post this week” box off my list and talk about a book I bought a few weeks ago that I’ve since recommended to nearly a dozen people and has changed the way I think about running a business.
The Other Traction
There are a lot of books by this same name. But to be clear, the one I am referring to is by Gino Wickman that has some form of cover like this one.
Here’s the thing. In business, it’s not super difficult to identify what you need to do. A quiet afternoon walk can usually tease out what is wrong and why it’s important. Things like:
- We need to move faster to keep up with competitors.
- We need to clearer goals so we can align our work to what matters.
- We need better metrics to know if what we’re doing is working.
- We need fewer meetings because they’re taking too much time.
The challenge comes in knowing how to do these things.
And not just do one, but do all in a way that they all work in unison rather than against each other. How to weave them into a sort of operating system for your business.
My Status Quo
I work for a company called Inntopia. We make ecommerce and CRM software for resorts.
Our company is full of honest-to-goodness great people. Smart people. People trying their absolute best to make things happen.
But despite all those best efforts, we feel stuck. We move slow. We lose sign of our goals. We easily fall behind where we need to be and don’t realize it until too late. We find ourselves in the same meetings talking about the same thing every month, quarter, year, and beyond.
Why I Love Traction
Before reading this book, I had a list of 10-12 things I knew we needed to fix. I had the what and why.
What Traction did is outline a simple, clear framework for how to do all those things. One-by-one, Traction checked each item off the list. And it wasn’t just “you need a vision” like typical business books, it was:
“Yes, you need a vision. And here’s how to create one that you can actually use: set aside two hours with your senior team, print this off, everyone needs to come prepared with X, Y, Z. Start by…”
In other words, it provided the how as well.
I’ve since learned that two of the companies I admire most I’ve since learned use Traction. Is it a perfect system? Probably not. But is it significantly better than most leaders can come up with even if they’re doing their absolute best? I think so.
I learn by doing. Between mistakes, successes, and ongoing experiments, here's the latest.