Leadership Explored: What Traction Really Means in a Successful Company (Part 2 of 3)

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In the previous part of this series, we examined what vision means for a successful business. To summarize, vision refers to the short- or long-term aspirations of an individual or company that are most easily achieved when made transparent and shared among team members, often via a vision statement. Having a clear vision helps galvanize the team toward achieving specific goals. But a clear vision alone won’t ensure success. This is where “traction” comes in.

What Does “Traction” Mean?

Before we begin, it’s helpful to note that “Traction” (as well as “Vision”) is a term denoting one of six key components used in the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) that holds a specific definition. To dive deeper into that, head over to the EOS® Worldwide website. Plus, you can learn more about how Leadership Resources can help you implement the EOS® management system at your company.

Here in this article, we’ll take a more general approach to traction.

Just as we did for unpacking vision, it helps to define the literal meaning of a word before diving into its figurative uses. Traction in the literal sense refers to something’s grip or adhesion to a surface to move it along. We often hear of tires with great traction, for instance, which can handle off-roading and rougher terrain. So, in a way, traction is another word for stickiness.

In terms of business development, traction actually has a couple of meanings, but they’re related. The first deals with how well a business is doing in the market. A company with several repeat customers and clients, a growing base, and steadily rising profits and value, is said to have high traction. They are “sticky,” reeling people in over and over again. Investors gravitate toward these companies because of their proven sales growth formula and foreseeable continued success.

But traction also has to do with how leaders keep their team on track, working toward a single vision. In this sense, the term deals with maintaining focus, holding staff members accountable, and encouraging consistent execution to reach goals. Whichever definition of traction you prefer, aiming to increase it is an important business growth strategy.

How Do Leaders Facilitate Traction?

Truly increasing traction in a company requires leaders to use all their leadership skills. Leaders must effectively communicate with their team an all accounts. The vision we described in part one must be made clear and tangible enough for the team to act on reaching toward it every day. Leaders must also motivate their team with reminders of where everyone is heading and why. To keep everyone on track, leaders must also give regular feedback to employees, letting them know when the team is clearly advancing in the right direction and when it’s veering off course.

The company must eventually adopt an organizational culture that breeds accountability. This way, leaders and team members can keep themselves and each other in check at all times. With a strong culture, the company’s mission and current vision will always be in front, clear as day. One misstep won’t drag the whole team off course. Rather, the team will correct the error together and continue onward.

Traction and Company Success

Traction is a crucial component of a company’s ongoing success. In short, it’s the way in which a company stays on the rails leading toward its vision. Without traction, the wheels will fly right off and the vehicle ceases to move or function. The more in sync leaders and team members are with one another, the more efficiently everyone will get there.

If you’re looking to find ways to keep your team on track, check out Leadership Resources. We have several tools for leaders to help them further their own success as leaders as well as the success of their companies. Contact us here to learn more.

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