Can I run my company without an operating system?

Sure you can. That's how most companies operate in the early days. If the company is fortunate enough to grow, it becomes more complex over time. There are more people to coordinate, more products/services to deliver, more external partnerships to manage. There are more problems to solve. There is more competition for resources. This complexity makes it harder for any individual to call the shots. When multiple people start to call the shots, assurances need to be in place to make sure everyone is working from the same playbook. That is the role of the operating system.

How do I know if it is time to implement an operating system?

The basic responsibility of an operating system is to define the way a company will operate. Arguably, all companies would benefit from such definition. However, putting in place an operating system and committing to following it is an investment. A growing company typically encounters a period where growth has slowed or growth is still happening but it's just harder than it needs to be. These are signs that it is time to make the investment.

Do companies ever implement an operating system proactively, i.e. before they feel the pain of not having one?

Yes, often when the company is on the cusp of a significant strategic investment. Examples include expansion of the leadership team and embarking on the pursuit of rapid growth through from new markets, new products/services, and/or acquisitions.

Are tools available that provide the framework for an operating system?

Yes. The most common frameworks are EOS and Scaling Up, targeting small to medium size organizations. Alternatively, many companies develop their own operating system. There are pros and cons to any of these options.

Is Glue And Oil a certified implementer of EOS or Scaling Up?

No. We are aligned with the principles of these methodologies but have decided to remain independent. Each of our clients has unique needs that often call for unique approaches. If EOS or Scaling Up are a good fit for our clients, then we can help with the implementation. If another approach is better then we help construct and implement that approach.

What if I just have one glaring and critical need to address as quickly as possible?

The operating system concepts also apply to a segment of an organization. For instance, if the marketing function or operations needs an overhaul, the challenge can be tackled by applying the same principles as would be used for developing an operating system for the entire organization.