Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) for nonprofits

The City Mission has about 80 individuals on staff who care for men, women and children experiencing homelessness and in crisis.

The work at the mission is fast-paced and challenging — very rarely are two days the same. Because of this, I believe it is critical as the leader to create clarity and eliminate confusion on where we are headed as an organization and how we plan to get there together. Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is the tool helping us achieve exactly that — clarity of our mission and vision, and how we will move forward as a team.

In an organization where the bottom line is people and their futures, I need to ensure everyone is clear on their roles and the impact they have on the organization. How will we know we are succeeding? In social services, this is often measured by the progress of our program participants.

In the Bible, Proverbs 29 says, “Where there is no vision, the people have no sense of direction.” We must all be rowing in the same direction to achieve success for the residents in our programs. EOS is the tool helping us achieve that.

EOS was designed with the for-profit company in mind, but when I read the EOS manual (Traction), I knew this was what we needed at The City Mission. There was incredible purpose and value in our work, but we required more discipline in how we operated as an organization. I shared the book with my leadership team and hired an EOS consultant to walk us through every step.

EOS is a set of tools designed to help identify the core values of an organization and ultimately align all people and efforts with achieving short- and long-range targets based on the core focus and niche of the organization. In short, it helps get everyone focused on doing the right work.

Through these tools, we defined our core values (how we behave), our mission (who we are), our niche (what makes us unique) and our vision (a series of 10-, three- and one-year goals to achieve). Along with these goals, we made a list of issues that might hinder us. From there, we set priorities for what issues must be solved every 90 days.

The leadership team practiced using this new operating system for about nine months before sharing it with the staff. Although the process was much slower than I anticipated, I learned to be patient and pay attention to what the staff were saying as they learned the system. I slowed the process down and we took our time to ensure everyone understood the new system.

We are now in our third year of using EOS, and it has already made a huge difference. Every department understands its role and our plans for success.

There is more clarity and less confusion among the staff, which has played a big part in the services we offer our residents. Clarity, unification and forward movement among our staff result in higher quality care and progress for residents of The City Mission.

Over the past 20 years, Linda Uveges has served in a variety of roles at The City Mission, becoming CEO in 2021. 

Linda Uveges



Connect On Social Media