The Entrepreneurial Operating System from Both Sides

In this episode of The Faces of Business, Ali Wendt, EOS Implementer and Business Coach, Wake Consulting, discusses her experience with the entrepreneurial operating system (EOS), how it impacted her family’s business, and how it inspired her to begin coaching others to implement EOS in their businesses.

In this episode of The Faces of Business, Ali Wendt, EOS Implementer and Business Coach, Wake Consulting, discusses her experience with the entrepreneurial operating system (EOS), how it impacted her family’s business, and how it inspired her to begin coaching others to implement EOS in their businesses.

Ali brings a unique perspective to EOS implementation because she went through the EOS implementation in her family’s business and saw firsthand how the changes enabled a doubling of growth and many other benefits. After nearly two decades with her family’s business, her experience with EOS, and her desire to help others, she launched her EOS Implementation business.

Ali brings this real-world experience to the companies where she helps clarify their goals and implement the EOS system to enable their success.

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Damon is enthusiastic to open the Livestream and so is Ali. After a warm-up discussion of on the summer vacation, Damon is eager to know Ali’s family business background as he believes it’s a compelling story that might help people better understand her journey.

Ali hails from the Minnesota-Wisconsin region but moved to Salt Lake about a year ago, where she and her family decided to settle. Her family has been involved in a Minneapolis-St. Paul-based human services organization, which her grandmother, a recovered alcoholic, started in their own home.

This organization supported adults with mental illness, chemical dependency, and homelessness. Following her grandmother’s passing, her father took the reins, and the family, including Ali, her sister, mother, husband, brother, and cousins, played significant roles in running the organization.

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At Damon’s request, Ali reveals that she worked in her family’s business for about 16 years, and their journey with EOS began roughly nine years into her tenure. Her father, the CEO, introduced EOS after attending a conference.

Initially met with some skepticism, they later implemented EOS.

Their motivation for adopting EOS was multi-faceted. First, her father had initiated succession planning about a decade before he planned to exit the business to preserve the family legacy. EOS played a crucial role in systematizing their operations and converting tribal knowledge into documented, transferable processes.

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External factors also played a role. Minnesota’s government invested heavily in homelessness solutions, creating an opportunity for their organization to expand its impact. They set a goal to double their organization’s size within a decade, starting at $6 million in revenue and 50 team members.

Damon requests Ali to talk about the lessons she has learned during her EOS journey within the family business.
“We learned so much,” exclaims the guest. She even likens it to an unearned business degree. Operating in a people-centric service industry, she successfully managed workforce. Ali’s journey has not been short of challenges with initial training “being thrown into the deep end.”

Similarly, she couldn’t compete with higher-paying jobs in the human services industry, so she needed to find ways to attract and retain talent beyond offering competitive salaries. This led her to build a strong company culture and adding value to employees’ lives in ways that extended beyond their paychecks.

Damon reflects on the difficulty of managing a younger workforce where many may not stay due to issues like training, not feeling part of the mission or a lack of understanding about the company’s values.

Ironically, within her family business, family dynamics emerged as the toughest part. Although they “were not super dysfunctional family,” these dynamics still presented difficulties. One major challenge they faced was during the EOS implementation process, precisely when they had to redefine organizational roles and responsibilities. The

During this process, significant changes occurred. Ali’s husband, initially part of the leadership team, was no longer on it. Her mother’s role was reassessed, and there was a competition for a specific seat between Ali and someone else. Additionally, they had two non-family members in similar roles, and they had to choose between them. They were assessing roles every day.

The presence of an EOS implementer was crucial during these challenging discussions. This facilitator helped create a safe and respectful environment for open dialogue, pushing everyone to address the tough questions and ensuring that all relevant issues were discussed. Ultimately, while hard, these conversations were necessary for the company’s benefit.

Damon, curious, queries whether there was an improvement in clarity and sense-making within the organization in the aftermath of this transformation.

“Absolutely, yes!” acknowledges Ali. In her view, without the structured EOS accountability process, the alternative would have likely been a more painful and prolonged period of discomfort and inefficiency within the organization. As Minnesotans, they “were known to be very passive.” They might have delayed addressing issues for months despite everyone recognizing the problems.

Damon then steers the conversation to Ali’s father and asks if he was aware of the extent of the challenges they would face when making these changes.

Ali believes her father likely didn’t anticipate the extent of the challenges they would face during the EOS implementation. While EOS helped them establish systems and processes, the management of people proved to be their most considerable challenge during the implementation.

Damon thinks being clear is an act of kindness. Knowing what is expected enables employees to grow confidently without fear of not meeting expectations, facing reprimands, or job insecurity.

Damon asks about the company’s progress and outcomes following the implementation of EOS, specifically in terms of the benefits Ali observed.

In response, Ali highlights their remarkable success after implementing EOS, doubling their size in less than five years with $12 million in revenue and 170 team members. They expanded from five to thirteen locations in the St. Paul Minneapolis area.

This growth was driven by improved accountability and role alignment among their team, fostering synergy and making the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic more manageable.

Talking about her personal life, Ali reveals that her life took a significant turn when her husband passed away five years ago. She met her current husband, Jeff, who led a church in Minnesota. After introducing Jeff to the book “Traction” and witnessing his positive response, Ali joined the church staff, initiating a self-implementation of EOS.

They later realized they could apply EOS principles to their personal lives, given their busy household with seven kids.

Before parting, Ali asserts that she and her husband find it great serve entrepreneurs, recognizing them as heroes who navigate challenging and often isolating journeys. Witnessing the relief and newfound clarity in entrepreneurs is what fuels their passion for serving and encouraging others to excel.

The conversation ends with Damon thanking Ali for her time.

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Damon Pistulka, Ali Wendt

Damon Pistulka 00:01
All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And I am very excited for our guests today, because I have ally went with me today is a professional EOS implementer. And we’re gonna out the Entrepreneurial Operating system if people are that before or EOS from both sides, because Ali has experienced that being an implementer in their family office, and now she’s helping people doing it in their businesses. Welcome, Ali.

Ali Wendt 00:38
Thank you, thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here today.

Damon Pistulka 00:43
It’s gonna be fun. It’s gonna be fun. Yeah. So, Ali, we were talking beforehand. And this is a big week for you. A big week for the kids are back to school

Ali Wendt 00:58
kids are back to school.

Damon Pistulka 01:04
I remember those days, and it’s just like, you just want to sit back and just look around the house and realize that there’s not going to be stuff piling up. At least.

Ali Wendt 01:16
I like by the end of the summer, I was just like, at my wit’s end, because you’re trying to live in both worlds. You know, like, for three months of like family life and kids and trying to keep work afloat. And it was just like, I can’t do this anymore. So

Damon Pistulka 01:32
and then they go back to school. They’re back.

Ali Wendt 01:35
They’re happy. They’re having so much fun. It’s good for everyone.

Damon Pistulka 01:40
Friends, good stuff. Good. Because they get tired of us as well.

Ali Wendt 01:44
Yep. And each other, like the kids need to separate?

Damon Pistulka 01:50
Yes, that’s a good point. Yeah. Well, Ellie, it’s gonna it’s gonna be great to talk to you today, because you are unique. And there’s a lot of Eos implementers. And there are a lot of them that have implemented and help them implement Eos, the entrepreneur operating system and other companies. I don’t know how many of them come from a family business, where you implemented the EOS system and row that saw that how that helped that business, and then went out to do what you’re doing.

Ali Wendt 02:25
Yeah. Yep. It’s it’s rare. For sure. Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 02:28
Yeah. So let’s talk about I mean, you this talk about your family business. And, well, let’s talk about your background and family business. And then then we can work into this and do that, because it’s really it’s I think it’s a good story. To let people understand that about you.

Ali Wendt 02:47
Yeah. Yeah. So Well, I came from Minnesota, Wisconsin area, actually just moved to Salt Lake about a year ago. So we’ve already decided we’re not going back to Minnesota. So we love it here. But so the family business was back in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and we were human services organization. And we served adults with mental illness, chemical dependency and homelessness. And this was, this was started by my grandmother, she was actually an alcoholic, and went through treatment many times, finally became sober and then wanted to give back to the sober community. And so started halfway home. She actually started it in their home. And so my dad, I’ll talk about it, and it’s fun to hear from him. But he talks about, like, how he or she would just fill up all the rooms in their home and he would like get kind of moved around to different rooms within the home and she’d be like, Hey, you got to move. I’m gonna fill that room. And so he’s like, I eventually found my myself living in the attic. Because she had just filled it all up then. Um, anyways, so that’s how it all started. And when she passed away, my dad took the company over and eventually it was me and my sister, my mom, dad, husband, brother, and cousins. All of us a bunch of us.

Damon Pistulka 04:18
Wow. Wow. Yeah, that’s it. That’s pretty cool that your grandmother started in one she wants she found sobriety was able to help other people.

Ali Wendt 04:33
Yeah, it’s I mean, it was just like became her absolute passion. She, I mean, her life was just ravaged. And it’s interesting because my mom has the same experience with her mom growing up with her mom being an alcoholic as well. And so just understanding just how that really can destroy families and how are you dumped dividends when people are able to to really find the support that they need to lead a sober life and yeah, so she identified just a lot of ways that are reasons why, you know, people weren’t able to stay sober. And she wanted to be a part of kind of fixing that. And really helping people. So, so that was started.

Damon Pistulka 05:23
That is awesome. That’s awesome. So good. So you, so your grandmother passes your family takes over the business, you’re working in the business. And you you get introduced to us, let’s talk about why, why, why consider it? What were some of the things that were going on? And what really brought you guys to that?

Ali Wendt 05:51
Yeah, yeah. So, um, I was there for about 16 years total. And I think about nine years into my time there is when my dad had gone to a conference, and he was our CEO. And, and EOS became our visionary at the time, and like any good visionary, does, they go out and bring in new ideas. And so he, he had heard about EOS and brought this to the team, and we’re kind of all like, okay, you know, I roles, like, there’s another new thing that, you know, yeah, we’ll see, we’ll see if it catches and, um, but anyways, so he brought in an implementer. And really, we started to gain understanding on what, what it all meant, and why we needed this in our organization. But one of the things was, my dad started succession planning very early, at least 10 years prior to when he wanted to exit the business. And I mean, he did this because this was a legacy thing for him. I mean, my grandma started that company, there was no way he wanted it to just kind of crumble once he passed it on. And so he worked really hard to make sure that he can pass it on well, and so EOS was just one of the pieces of that strategy. And the way that we would say it is really, we had to take what was tribal knowledge, and make it into, you know, transferable knowledge, there was so much that was not documented. And, um, you know, we weren’t doing things with much of a method, it was just kind of, like, recreate the wheel all the time, you know, and it wasn’t something that was scalable or sustainable unnecessarily. Um, and so he saw that, and he knew that was something that we needed to work on. And then another thing was in Minnesota, around that time, the governor had mandated that ending homelessness in Minnesota. And so there were a lot of funds being poured into this mandate to end homelessness. But the the state, and the counties were just needing providers that would serve this population. And so for us were like, we see that there’s really great need here. And we want to be an answer to that. And so the dream was at that time, right, about the time that we started implementing, that we were going to double our organization within 10 years. So at that time, we were about 6 million in revenue, and about 50 team members, which was still pretty healthy and strong. Yeah, human services organization, but we knew that we could do more. So that was kind of the reasoning and the impetus of of all of it.

Damon Pistulka 08:52
Yeah. So your, your father, the CEO, wanted to make sure that the succession plan 10 years ahead, which I get to commend them for doing. That’s very rare that someone takes that time. That far, I had to really think about it and do something like EOS to, to ensure that as you said, tribal knowledge becomes transferable knowledge that will help the business to endure beyond this generation. And that’s, that’s really cool. So as you were starting down the road with EOS and the family business, what were some of the things you learned,

Ali Wendt 09:33
oh, gosh, we learned so much. It was like getting the business degree that I never got. Um, so I mean, a huge aspect of it because we’re in a people industry is service industry and so people are truly our greatest asset in an organization like that, but managing people is so tough and understanding and how to really develop them. And you know, most of our team were kids that were like, this is their first job out of college, right? And so they’re learning how to really just kind of basic job skills, and we’re trying to develop them up. And so just how to do all of that how to really build a strong and healthy culture, how to really engage people and kind of get them from just thinking like an employee to thinking like an owner, right? Yeah, um, that was one of the greatest things that we learned was how to successfully really build our team in a in a strong way.

Damon Pistulka 10:46
Well, yeah, and like you said, if a lot of your people working there were young, you weren’t bringing people in that had established work history that kind of knew how things happen in this industry, and blah, blah, blah. So as a family business, and coming up, like, I mean, honestly, most smaller businesses like this, the size, you don’t have a ton of documentation, you don’t have a ton of measures for someone, or well written job descriptions, or even any at all. So I’m, so I’m sure that it was hard for you at that point to, to hire people and train them well, and keep the keep the best people because it wasn’t laid out well enough.

Ali Wendt 11:40
No training was like throwing you into the deep end, and you’ll figure it out as you go, right. Like, there were a lot of people that were part of the organization that had stories like that, that’s the way their training went before, we really kind of buckled down and worked on how to, you know, document these core processes like onboarding a new, new team member. And so yes, there was a lot that we that we did in, in solidifying our processes. And one thing, too, was, you know, as human services, we weren’t, we weren’t able to be competitive when it comes to highly paying people. And, you know, competing with other industries, and they want to come and work and do really difficult work here for less money, and then they can probably get working at a grocery store sometimes. And so, we really had to figure out like, how do we draw people in? How do we engage them and retain them beyond just being able to pay top dollar. And so a huge part of it was, again, kind of back to just building up that culture. And yeah, finding ways to really add value to people’s lives beyond just the paycheck that we’re giving them. Yeah,

Damon Pistulka 13:07
that’s huge. That’s, that’s huge. And it’s, it’s challenging, because like you said, in the Human Services business, it’s not something where you can pay, you know, Silicon Valley Tech, Tech prices to everybody. So you really have to figure out how to how to how to show people what we’re really doing beyond the dollars that make it fulfilling, and help them achieve their life goals through that. Yeah. So cool. So cool. I never thought about how that the challenge of that many younger people in your workforce, it had to be really, really tough, because you were probably at that point, hiring a lot of people and only a few could stay because either for training or they didn’t feel a part of it, or it didn’t really understand because, you know, us starts with mission vision values. And and if you don’t feel that, you have to, you know, that feeling part that you get from the mission, vision and values to really understand what the company stands for. People leave

Ali Wendt 14:13
Oh, absolutely. And I mean, it seems obvious like oh, when you’re working in human services, like you’re helping people, you’re you’re really serving and, and so it seems obvious, like, oh, well, that’s why people are there, right. But when, when you’re working, and doing really tough work, like day in and day out, like they were, you had to be so intentional, continually reminding them this is why we’re here. This is the impact that you’re making. Because, you know, they don’t necessarily see it every day. Sometimes they’re just getting yelled at by clients and the clients aren’t happy and it doesn’t feel like you know, they’re making any positive impact and that’s that’s real life, right? That’s working with people And so I mean, that was one thing that ELS just really taught us is like, how to continually draw the team back in and just be reminding them and talking to them about the vision and the mission and the impact that we’re having. And just encouraging them and recognizing them. Like, these are things that when you’re getting so busy running your business and trying to manage everything, we all know we should be doing them. But we really don’t start some of the first things that we, we lose sight of Yeah, in the whirlwind of managing the business. And so that was a huge, huge game changer for us in really building up our culture is, is just following that cadence and having that system for building. Yeah, our team.

Damon Pistulka 15:58
Yeah. That’s, that’s pretty incredible. So when, what do you think? I mean, because there’s, there’s a lot of work, there’s, there’s a lot of work to us. So that is, there’s no, there’s no one to sugarcoat it. There’s a lot of work to do in implementing in a company. What do you think was the toughest part for you guys in the business?

Ali Wendt 16:22
So the toughest part, truly was kind of the family dynamics? Within the business, it was weird. We’re really healthy family. I’ll just say that, like, we’re not super dysfunctional. Sometimes when you talk about family business, people are like, oof, ya know how that is? And it was like, No, we weren’t, we were yelling at each other wasn’t, it wasn’t highly dysfunctional, but it still is really tough. I’m working with family. So right after that one of the really difficult things that we went through is, you know, part of the the implementation process with EOS is to go over your accountability chart, which is basically your org chart, really figuring out like, not what are the current seats or roles that we have in the organization, but what are the seats or roles that we really should have, strategically that serves the organization, and is going to put us on a path to grow. And so the exercise that you go through, is basically like, Hey, we’re all in this room, we’re gonna create the accountability chart, you’re all now fired from your jobs, okay? You’re your board of directors, you no longer are the CEO, you’re no longer the president, like, you don’t have jobs, we’re going to create an accountability chart that serves the company, not you people in this room. And so we’re like, okay, so we go about starting to build it. My husband was in the room, he was a part of the leadership team, at the beginning of the day, but then his role was still in the company. But no longer part of the leadership team, we really realized, it didn’t really make sense for him to be on the team. And then my mom’s seat, she actually didn’t really want, and I wanted it. And we kind of had a little bit of a bake off of like, who is the right person for this seat? We had another. We had two other people that weren’t part of the family, but close family friends that worked with us. They were both kind of business development. And it was like, well, we don’t need to. So one of you is gone. So there were some major changes being made two roles to our leadership team. We ended the day and my husband, my mom and my previous youth pastors, you know, part of our company are no longer part of the leadership team. And it was like, wow, things just got really real. But the thing was, Is my mom bless her so much. She’s always supportive and just supporting my dad and whatever they’re doing, right. And so she started as HR because that was a need and just kind of continued in there and grew along with the role but eventually, I mean, it was like, that wasn’t where her heart was. She was really wanting to be home actually watching the grandkids. And it’s like, so often those things happen where maybe an organization outgrow someone or you know, we just have someone on the team because they’re married to another person on the team. And it was, it’s so tough to have those conversations when we’re all family members. You’re sitting across the table from us and having an implementer there to help facilitate kind of make it a safe, you know, just safe environment and help move us through that conversation in a really healthy way, respectful way, but like, kind of have to carry some of that burden of like asking the really tough questions and pushing where she saw like, Okay. Seems like seems like someone’s not saying something here. You know, like, let’s, let’s get that last 10% out on the table, we wouldn’t have had those conversations without her there. And it, obviously is what served the company and what was needed. So

Damon Pistulka 20:48
that’s incredible. I’m so glad you shared that. Because, you know, when when you think about it, and you can go through accountability and building out the company accountability, like you said, everyone’s fired, we’re starting over, and we’re gonna make it make it new and what the company needs, what serves the company. Your your story of how it changed the dynamics in your company is very powerful, because it was it was family members. Yeah. And, and not not having a role. And then in some not having a role in the leadership team after the meetings over is even more powerful. So. Wow. So do you think once you did that, right, there’s the challenges of going through that? And obviously, it was not obviously, it’d be it was good for the business. We’ll explain that later. But do you think it was easier than not right away? But a week, two weeks, three weeks later? Did things make more sense because of this new accountability and how people were were and what they were doing?

Ali Wendt 22:01
Absolutely, yes. Yeah. And so I think about what the alternative would have been, and it would, it probably would have gotten a lot more painful before we would have been willing to have those conversations. Yeah, I’m in. So I mean, especially we’re Minnesotans, like we’re Minnesota Nice. Like, we were known to be very passive. And so it’s like, human nature, or Minnesotans like we’d rather just go through months and months of discomfort and pain, and like, everyone knows, this isn’t working. Before we talk about it, you know, and it’s, that makes no sense. And that’s, that’s why it’s so helpful to have someone really guiding you through the process and holding you accountable to the process into having the right conversations. But yes, absolutely. It it. Like, I took over my mom’s role and completely flourished. And in, built that up, and she was so happy, she actually had an interior design degree, and kind of moved into the facilities role in doing just that, which you loved. And it was absolutely the right move on on every part. And everyone saw that it took a little while for the emotions to resolve. But everyone thought that

Damon Pistulka 23:36
Well, I think about it being in other family businesses is that that is I mean, it’s common, it’s common, somebody’s somebody’s child just gets out of business school, well, they’re going to be part of the business in this role, even if the business doesn’t really need it. Or maybe they’re not suited for a role, but they’re, they’re put in that role. And this really helps you align that with the you go back again, though, you go back again to your father’s desire to make this business something’s gonna last far beyond his generation. And the the forethought and the wisdom in that knowing that was gonna be challenging than you think. Oh, say first of all, do you think he knew it was gonna be this challenging?

Ali Wendt 24:27
I don’t think he necessarily expected that No. No, cuz I think you’re when when you’re looking at ELS at the start. I think you’re thinking like we’re gonna get some really good systems and processes in, in that all is absolutely true. Do Absolutely. Um, but what is every entrepreneurs biggest issue? It’s people. Like, I mean, everyone we talked to, it’s like, it’s either getting the right people on the US or managing people, like people are our greatest asset, like within any organization, but they’re also usually the greatest challenge. And that was the thing that was probably, well, by far our most challenging within the implementation process, and it wasn’t just with our leadership team, and, you know, those hard conversations we had, and we ended up having quite a bit of turnover, due to the EOS implementation. I mean, it wasn’t like, people weren’t citing that and saying it, but we knew, you know, because we were shifting, we were changing, we’re still the same company. But all of a sudden, they’re like, Wait, I don’t like being held accountable.

Damon Pistulka 25:50
This, this is, this is a part, this is a part that that a lot of business owners, excuse me struggle with in the first place, because they themselves don’t like that pressure of being held accountable. But the benefits of it are so huge as your organization grows, because not everybody even knows what success looks like to them on a daily basis. So so my, my idea might be, I have to do this level of output in the company, and then I, the company might really need me to do this level of output just to be baseline. And, and if you come back, and this is happening, and happens to normally happens in businesses don’t have that now you come back, and this person thinks they’re they’re working really hard, they’ve been doing this for a lot of years, they’re, you know, they’re gonna be happy everything else, and the company exists, and that doesn’t, that doesn’t fly all the time with the people.

Ali Wendt 26:48
No, no, it doesn’t. And it’s really, really tough, because some of those are like your long standing employees that that have really grown with the company. But, um, you know, one thing that is just like core to EOS is having a growth mindset. And the whole system is built off of that. And the whole system is intended to help organizations continue to grow. And so that’s one thing that, you know, as you’re implementing, and as you’re really bringing your whole organization online with this system, those individuals who are not growth oriented, they don’t have that growth mindset. They’re likely not going to come along for the ride. And I think that’s essentially what happens with, with some people there, they’re there and they cut it for a while, but the job, the job grows, and they’re not growing along with it. And we have to be honest, like that’s holding our organization back.

Damon Pistulka 27:58
Yeah, yeah. And at the end of the day, you know, if you’re going to create a culture that’s going to engage, and retain and provide great careers for the people that are there and develop a culture where we’re really we are trying to grow, we’re trying to be better, better every minute of every day together. Those people don’t fit in that know. Yeah, yeah. It’s so cool. That’s so cool. And the other thing, and it’s funny, because I had this very conversation early this morning with with a CEO. It’s when you get to a certain point, because you guys are at 50 employees at that time. You just can’t keep adding people in this tribal knowledge. It doesn’t work anymore. It’s not you and me and in a car or driving around with four or five of us anymore, it’s enough people that you can have people that absolutely do not know what they’re doing and doing things wrong and not only wrong, but a lot of things not nearly enough wrong, you know, and just think of the possibilities and it only compounds as you add more people to that. So the US system by the accountability and down into the position or the roles is so critical because then Damon knows at the end of the day if Damon was if Damon’s the janitor and Damon ants and I, I use this example because it’s simple for me. I if I’m supposed to be empty and 12 trash cans every day, and sweeping these rooms every day, and that’s all I need to know. If I knew that I go home I’ve done my job.

Ali Wendt 29:39
Yep. Yes. It’s great. And that’s what like, you know, holding people accountable. There’s, there’s a lot of people that feel uncomfortable with it because it doesn’t feel kind and what we try to tell people is like, No, that is the kindest thing you can do. just kind is being clear for people to understand where, you know, where they, they, where they’re at in the organization, like, are they doing a good job? It’s, it’s interesting, like so many people live in fear in their job. They feel like at any point, they might be called to the office and let go. Because there’s so much ambiguity about like, Am I doing my job well, and my meeting expectations, and I really honestly cannot believe how many organizations that you know, we talk to that don’t have a clear people management system. And it’s like, if you think about that, that’s not kind to, to allow your people to live in this, this fear of like, how am I doing? And when might I lose my job?

Damon Pistulka 31:00
Yeah. When you said so well, I so it’s that you said it so well, being clear as kind, because when you know, that you went home, you said, living in fear to living in fear of not meeting expectations, being called that office being let go. But if I know that I’m supposed to do this every day, and I do it every day, I’m meeting expectations. I know that nobody has to tell me. I know. And that, like you said, it eliminates that fear. Yeah.

Ali Wendt 31:36
Yeah. So I mean, your team has so much more security. And then, you know, when you were talking to it’s like, so many people, like they’re not they want to grow, they want to be improving, you know, the customer experience, or whatever it is, they throw more people at problems, but like you were saying, like, if you have a bunch of people that aren’t quite doing their job, or know what’s expected of them, and then we’re just adding and compounding that issue with more people. Like we’re not solving the issue. So that’s what I love about EOS is like, there’s really, this equal focus on like, people and process, like, process is absolutely needed to get what we need to get out of our people. But people are still like, the most valuable aspect of our organization. And so there’s this really healthy balance of both things.

Damon Pistulka 32:38
Yeah. Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s so true. Because the process gives us consistency. And the people following the process with the training, and the the accountability, and all the things that EOS provides a system behind allows them to do the job really well. Yes. Yes, it facilitates it. Yeah. So let’s, we’re gonna we’re gonna talk just for a moment, and then we’re gonna, we’re gonna talk about today. But so you implement Eos, and you’re working on the process and things get humming. So what happened with the company after you guys implemented EOS and you started on down the road, and really seeing the benefits of it?

Ali Wendt 33:23
Well, so we it took us about two years to go through the implementation process. And we so we had that goal of doubling the organization in 10 years, and we ended up achieving that in less than five years. And so we were just like, blown away at ourselves. Yeah, um, and so we, we, we ended that goal at, you know, 12 million and about 170 team members in less than five years. And we, we really, were able to grow in scale at that point. So when we started implementing Eos, we had maybe about trying to think it was either it was five or six locations, serving our clients in the communities in St. Paul Minneapolis. And we were up to about 13. By the time that we, we hit that goal. And so there were so many ways that we grew and I don’t know, we were just blown away, honestly, and it would just it became fun. You talk about like, man, it’s uncomfortable. Like I don’t love being held accountable. And like, most of us, it is uncomfortable at points, but when everybody’s just really upping their game and it’s like why being held accountable, but everyone else is too. And so I’m now a part of this team. We’re like, oh, We’re all killing it. Like we’re kicking butt. And like, this is a team where we have amazing synergy. Because we’re all really well aligned with the roles that we’re in. Because we didn’t just get the role because we’re a family member, we got it because that is our true strength and unique ability. In this company, like, we, we just started having so much fun. And one of the times that we’re fast forwarding now, but one of the times we really saw that play out, was during COVID, COVID hits in work in human services, where it’s like, we’re serving people literally in person, you know, we we can’t shut down like we have to keep going. And there’s all this guidance coming out sometimes on a daily basis, changing on a daily basis, all the PPE that we had to be wearing or procedures to do. I mean, it was incredibly overwhelming. We had team members that were afraid, like, what’s going to happen if I go to work? And what if I get COVID and, and all of that. And so it was, it was a scary time. And it was a really difficult time to lead. But we had this team that was just like, we said over and over, it’s like a dream team, if you have to, unfortunately, navigate this level of challenge within our industry, like I would not want to do it with anyone else. And the only reason we had built a team like that is because we had truly like, gone through this accountability, chart exercise and got the right people in the right seats, and then continued developing the team in a big way.

Damon Pistulka 36:51
Yeah, so awesome. That’s awesome. Wow, if that’s not a powerful example of what getting the right people and the right things together will do. I don’t know what is. So great. You’re here, we’re through this and you go, Okay, it’s time for for I’m ready to be an EOS implementer. I think this what what was the decision that really said, hey, I want to do this?

Ali Wendt 37:20
Yeah. Well, I’m gonna make a really long story short. Um, but I was a part of the succession team for my family business, and I was all in. And then my life took a giant turn. My husband actually passed away. And this was five years ago now. Um, I stayed at the company for a while, but I just felt my life shifting. And I was like, everything that I assumed was going to happen to my future, and that the future that I was gonna build, and we were going to build together, that’s, that’s kind of poof, gone. And so I was just kind of really open, like, what’s next. Um, and so I ended up meeting, my husband, now, Jeff, and he actually, his wife had passed away too. So both widows and, um, we got married almost three years ago. And so I was still at the family business. He was leading a church in Minnesota, and we got married, and he assured my family like, I’m not stealing Ali from the business, like, she’s gonna stay there. I’m gonna do my thing. It’s all good. And then he was talking to me about, you know, challenges that they were having at the church. And I was like, you really need to read the book traction, just like you need this. Because I knew I’m like, we’ve been through all of this. I know the answer. So just read it. And he did. And he was like, Where has this been for the last 10 years? Oh, my word. And he actually ended up stealing me from the family business. And I came to work at the church and kind of did a self implementation. And so that’s kind of where he first encountered ELS. And then it was funny. One day, we were in the car and we’re like, Okay, we have seven kids. And like, only, you know, it was a small team at the church, only six employees there. If we know that we need like the EOS system at church, but we actually have more kids than we do team members. Like why don’t we not think we need this at home? Right? And so we just went all in. We’re like, we run our lives. I’m EOS. I mean, Jeff and I literally have like a level 10 meeting every Monday morning. Just nice. You truly worked in all industries and aspects of life. Let me tell you, but so then kind of next step of us building our family really blending together and looking at what’s next for for us together, we ended up moving out to Salt Lake. And so that was a bit of a fresh start career change. And we asked ourselves like, what do we want to do? And truly like our hearts our artists serve, and really encourage people and and help them do what they’ve been put on this earth to do more successfully. And so that was just the thing, right? Like, obviously EOS is the way to do that. So I became a professional EOS implementer. He’s the biggest EOS superfan you’ll ever meet. We drink orange Kool Aid, we love it. So that’s kind of how that all came about. Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 40:54
Well, unlike it, like I said, liking the title, I mean, you you’ve you’ve seen EOS from both sides. And like you said, in your family business, it made such a big difference in in the church, it made a big difference. And now and your family, too, and your family, which is super cool. And then and then just decided to go all in and help others do it out of that desire to serve. Awesome. So wow, Ally, it’s, it’s awesome. We’re getting to the point where we need that wind down. So I’ve got a couple couple questions yet. But what’s what’s the most fun about helping people implement ELS?

Ali Wendt 41:38
Um, I think honestly, it is. So one thing that we’ve just noticed talking to so many entrepreneurs, I think they’re like heroes. I love them they do. Just being an entrepreneur is is a really hard road. It’s a ton of risk that you’re taking on. It’s, it’s a giant struggle when you’re just starting out. And one thing that we’ve seen is just that people feel so like, isolated at times, and just like heavy and like they’re carrying a large weight. And so one of the things that like I think is most fun, is just seeing that relief that people get when they’re like, oh my gosh, we can solve that. Like, I don’t have to carry all of that. I don’t have to do this alone. You have a solution for this thing. You know, just the relief. I’m so that’s that’s kind of what like keeps us moving. It’s just, again, being able to encourage people and really serve them and help them do what they do best. And, yeah, that’s what’s most fun for us.

Damon Pistulka 42:58
Yeah, you you and Jeff Rana, a podcast here a while back and in you said, you the you’re showing them how to live while they’re still in their business, because so many people are just tied to their business and IT rules their day. And I think that’s a good way of explaining what ELLs will help people to do and I’m sure that that that feeling when they when they when they can take a vacation. They don’t feel like they don’t you know that the Gil? The the numerous phone calls and text messages and emails don’t know, keep them up. So they don’t have a vacation is a good feeling.

Ali Wendt 43:38
Yeah, I mean, it’s important. Like, that’s, that’s why entrepreneurs do what they do right to like, have control over their lives and to build a certain quality of life and to have that like independence and autonomy. And that’s what a lot of people lose in the process. And it’s like, well, let let us help you get that back. Or if you never had it, let us help you get it before you just want to throw your hands up and be like, I’m done. I’m out. Right. Yeah. So

Damon Pistulka 44:12
yeah, it’s so great. It’s so great. Yeah, we always say when we’re talking with people, and we’re like, okay, you know, we’re scaling our business. It is like listen, you got into this business because you want to do a you probably thought you could make more money be you wanted more freedom. And see you probably want to make a bigger impact. And you’re not really able to do much of that right now. Like you wanted. It’s great how people like yourself are helping them with implementing us and helping these these entrepreneurs really figure out ways to take their life back. Yeah, yeah. Well, Holly, thanks so much for being here today. If people want to get a hold do now you guys are in the Salt Lake City area. What’s the best way to get a hold of you guys?

Ali Wendt 44:57
Honestly, okay, I’m gonna I’m just You can find us on Facebook or Instagram. But that is not the best way. I’m not like I am an analog girl in the digital world, right? You can email me, I’d love to have a conversation with people and just bring it. I’m

Damon Pistulka 45:18
very good. Yes. Very good. All right. Well, Ali, thanks so much for being here today. And we were talking about the Entrepreneurial Operating System, both sides you shared how you implemented in your family business, how you helped your husband implemented in his church you guys have implemented in your family and now you’re helping other business owners and entrepreneurs do it. Thanks so much for being here today.

Ali Wendt 45:43
Well, thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Damon Pistulka 45:47
Awesome, awesome. Well, everyone else that was listening and deola Thanks for dropping in and having the comment everyone else that was listening and didn’t comment. We appreciate you being there listening in the cars working out whatever you’re doing. Have a great rest of your week. And we’ll be back again, Allie, hang out just for a moment and we’ll wrap up after we’re done.

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