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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Morris

Synergizing Team Performance: A Deep Dive into EOS and Lencioni's Virtues

Business Owner Insight to Action

What's your biggest challenge in your business today? 

My hunch is you'll say something related to your PEOPLE. Whether it's retaining your talent, hiring the right people, keeping them engaged and productive, or dealing with all their demands, the human resources challenges never seem to cease. 

Why? Because we're dealing with human beings, who can be unpredictable at best. Logic and emotion don't always mesh well together. The psycho-social behaviors of our employees will probably always throw us off kilter, because there will always be nuances to consider. 

However, I have found two influential frameworks that stand out for their innovative approaches that enhance team performance and organizational success: the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) and Pat Lencioni's Ideal Team Player virtues. If you aren't already using one of them or are only using one of them, please read on. 

Both models offer compelling insights into building effective teams and managing performance, yet they approach these goals from different angles. I thought it might help to delve into the EOS framework, particularly its "Get It, Want It, Capacity to Do It" (GWC) method, and compare it with Lencioni's virtues of being Humble, Hungry, and Smart, to uncover how these models can be harmoniously integrated or distinctly applied within organizations.

I learned the EOS GWC framework in my role with a company that self-implemented the system. I integrated Lencioni's Humble, Hungry, and Smart model into my consulting practice after learning about it during my Working Genius certification. Spoiler Alert! I see the benefits of combining the systems together. But before I get ahead of myself, let me walk you through the attributes of each model so you can judge them for yourself.

The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)

EOS is a comprehensive business management system designed to empower businesses to achieve greater clarity, control, and success. It is structured around six key components: Vision, People, Data, Issues, Process, and Traction, with a strong emphasis on aligning the entire organization towards a unified vision and executing that vision with discipline and accountability.

A critical aspect of EOS's People component is the GWC method, which stands for "Get It, Want It, and Capacity to Do It." This method is a straightforward yet powerful tool for assessing whether an individual is the right fit for a specific role within the organization:

  • Get It: Understanding the role, its responsibilities, and the broader context within which it operates.

  • Want It: Having a genuine desire to perform the role and take on its responsibilities.

  • Capacity to Do It: Possessing the necessary skills, knowledge, and mental and physical capacity to fulfill the role effectively.

The GWC method is instrumental in ensuring that team members are not only competent but also committed and aligned with their roles, which is crucial for achieving optimal performance and organizational growth. When paired with how an employee demonstrates the company's CORE VALUES, you get a pretty solid read on whether the person is a good fit or not for their role and the culture.

Pat Lencioni's Ideal Team Player

Pat Lencioni's model, outlined in his book The Ideal Team Player, focuses on the personal virtues that make someone a valuable team member. According to Lencioni, the three indispensable virtues are:

  • Humble: Lacking excessive ego or concerns about status, quick to acknowledge the contributions of others, and prioritizing team success over individual recognition.

  • Hungry: Exhibiting a strong work ethic, self-motivation, and a relentless pursuit of team goals and personal development.

  • Smart (about people): Demonstrating emotional intelligence, particularly in understanding group dynamics and effectively interacting with team members.

Lencioni argues that the synergy of these three virtues accelerates the process of building high-performing teams, as individuals who embody these traits naturally contribute to a positive, productive, and cohesive team environment.

Comparing and Contrasting EOS and Lencioni's Model

While both EOS and Lencioni's model aim to enhance team performance and organizational success, they approach these objectives from different perspectives. EOS's GWC method is more role-specific, focusing on aligning individuals' capabilities and desires with the demands of their positions. It provides a clear framework for evaluating and managing performance based on role fit, which is essential for operational efficiency and effectiveness.

On the other hand, Lencioni's virtues of being Humble, Hungry, and Smart (about people) are more individual-centric, emphasizing the inherent qualities that make someone a valuable team player regardless of their specific role. These virtues foster a culture of teamwork, collaboration, and mutual respect, which are foundational for achieving collective success.

Best of Both Worlds: Integrating EOS and Lencioni's Model

As the leader of your business, you don't have to choose between EOS and Lencioni's model; instead, you can integrate both frameworks to leverage their complementary strengths. Here's why I like the models together:

  • Ensure Role Fit: By using the GWC method, small businesses can assess the fit of their team members within their roles, ensuring that individuals are well-suited to their responsibilities and have the necessary skills and motivation to excel.

  • Cultivate Teamwork: By fostering the HHS virtues within their teams, small businesses can create a culture of collaboration, mutual respect, and shared success, which can help reduce turnover rates and improve employee engagement.

  • Balance Structural and Interpersonal Solutions: By combining the GWC method and HHS virtues, small businesses can address both the structural and interpersonal aspects of their teams, ensuring that their organizations are not only efficient and effective but also cohesive and supportive.

This integrated approach enables you to optimize both the structural and cultural aspects of your teams, leading to improved performance, higher employee satisfaction, and greater organizational success.

Both the EOS framework and Pat Lencioni's Ideal Team Player virtues offer valuable insights into building and managing high-performing teams. By understanding and applying the principles of the GWC method alongside the virtues of being Humble, Hungry, and Smart, you can create an environment where your team members are not only well-suited to their roles but also deeply committed to their teams and the collective success of the organization.

Want some help in determining the right solution for your organization? Set up a call and we'll talk through the options.


Julie Edge Ph.D., is chief strategist and founder of Inside Edge Solutions LLC, a boutique strategy coaching and consulting firm serving business owners seeking less chaos and complication in their business and more thriving in their life—both personally and professionally. Connect with Julie on LinkedIn at @drjulieedge

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