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Asked a question 2 years ago

I’m trying to develop of “rubric” to translate parts of the EOS Model for use within the Federal Government, specifically, the Dept. of the Navy. Has any such work been done by the EOS team? For example, the accountability chart’s three functions of: 1) sales/marketing, 2) operations, and 3) finance, does not necessarily port to the operational military/defense world. From our view, operations is not providing a service or manufacturing product (that is done in the organize, train and equip aspect of Title 10 USC), but actually performing the military/warfighter missions. And, the finance part is not managing a P&L, but ensuring that appropriated dollars and authorized tasks are executed according to statute – there is no profit to be made, but the intent is to do the most with the dollars made available.

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Hi Doug,

It's a great question. We resist clients breaking away from EOS purity, but only so that it is done only in the right circumstances.  Clearly the structure of the DOD is outside the norm and, frankly, the target market for EOS.  That said, you are not alone in wanting to "translate" EOS to a specific application.  I know of a group that is doing this specifically for Law Firms.

For you (and in general), it is more important to begin you A/C by making certain your leadership team has representation from the functions that S/M, Ops, and Finance have in yours or any organization:

  • Sales & Marketing: we usually tee this up by asking what parts of the organization are in charge of finding new customers and helping decide to do business with you.  When I work with non-profits, this may mean recruiting volunteers, finding sponsorship partners or identifying planned gifts.  When I work with other Government organizations this might include outreach to stakeholders or other sort of on-boarding activities. For some of my retail clients, this seat is just Marketing because operations does all the selling.  Think of this generally as the input to the machine.
  • Operations: This tends to be the easiest one to translate for everyone but for an organization that is primarily about operations, you are more likely to have more than one seat here.  I imagine my Implementer colleagues will have plenty of nuggets on structuring operations.
  • Finance: This seat is really more about managing the assets, capital and cashflows than profit. I know DOD has roles for both the Chief Finance Officer (CFO Act of 1990) and the Chief Human Capital Officer.  Their roles might be your best guidance for what belongs in this seat - or to divide it into two seats to match the hierarchy. Profit (or the equivalent in any organization) is everyone's job. We track Revenue and Margin on the V/TO every quarter but for non-profit and government organizations this can be translated to whatever measures you have for your "coin of the realm" and financial success. Usually I see margin translated to some sort of financial efficiency or compliance number.  As with everything on the V/TO, the most important part is making certain that all the elements are understandable by everyone in the organization so they can most easily sort out how to contribute to the success metrics.

I hope that helps. The 3 seats model is offered as a starting point for organizations to make certain all those functions have an appropriate seat at the table.  After that, the special nature of every organization is what drives the "right structure" conversation.


I know of a few government agencies that have applied EOS Tools and principles in their organizations. While EOS was built for privately held entrepreneurial companies, it is really just a system for helping teams of people get clear and aligned on a Vision/Plan and then execute well (with discipline and accountability) to achieve it. 

Your specific question is a common one - and we actually ENCOURAGE our clients to customize those "major functions" for their own unique organizations. So creating an Accountability Chart for the DOD that doesn't have S/M, Ops and Finance as the major functions is 100% recommended. 

That said, there may be other sticking points that make EOS a less than ideal fit for the DOD or any other organization that is not a privately held, entrepreneurial company. If you'd like to discuss further I'd be happy to chat with you in more detail.