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Gino Wickman's "Get a Grip" and "Traction" -- Strategic Planning at MinistryCPA

Each November, MinistryCPA professionals set a course for their next year by revisiting the firm’s long-term and annual strategies. Concepts introduced by Gino Wickman in his companion books Traction and Get a Grip contribute significantly to the design of MinistryCPA’s system for vision and growth.

Wickman’s primary tool for his Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is his Vision/Traction Organizer (V/TO). His model seeks to depict an organization’s answers to eight questions in one or two pages (discussed and illustrated within pages in Traction).


  1. What are your Core Values? (pp 35-45)
  2. What is your Core Focus? (pp 46-52)
  3. What is your 10-Year Target? (pp 52-54)
  4. What is your Marketing Strategy? (pp 55-65)
  5. What is your Three-Year Picture? (pp 66-68)
  6. What is your One-Year Plan? (pp 68-69)
  7. What are your Quarterly Rocks? (p 70)
  8. What are your Issues? (pp 70-71)

You will want to read Wickman’s books for yourself, but the MinistryCPA team has a few observations to share.

·       The concepts introduced in Traction are fully illustrated in the follow-up book, Get a Grip. But a client who first introduced MinistryCPA to Wickman’s ideas suggested we read them in reverse order, an effective recommendation.

·       Core Values aren’t something a team can make up. Instead, they are identified as pre-existing and then appreciated and consistently followed. MinistryCPA professionals instinctively knew, but needed to identify, that its people already practiced uncompromising integrity, possessed “wired to serve” DNA, and sought to live as hungry, (people) smart and humble servants (as taught by the Bible prophet Micah (chapter 6, verse 8)).

·       A team’s Core Focus is also identified, rather than manufactured. A firm’s reason for being and niche serve as anchors for holding a team in place when the winds and waves of fads and misaligned ventures might put it in peril.

·       The point of Wickman’s 10-Year Target is not necessarily locked in on 3,650 days—he’s seen a range from 5- to 20-years work well. The point is to agree on a “larger-than-life goal that everyone is working toward.”

·       The Marketing Strategy section led the MinistryCPA to develop actionable objectives—describe your ideal customer in terms of demographics, geographics and psychographics; identify your “uniques”; articulate your product/service delivery process; and determine whether you can incorporate a guarantee.

·       Wickman’s Three-Year Picture, One-Year Plan, Quarterly Rocks, and Issues guidance lead his followers to implement their BHAGs (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals) in actional steps and accountability.

MinistryCPA has incorporated aspects in Wickman’s EOS into its annual “Playbook” with gratifying success. If we’ve piqued your interest, we suggest that your team read and understand Wickman’s vocabulary, then complete his “Organizational Checkup” in Traction on pages 10 and 11. We did and found that we had a cohesive team that has a variety of perspectives but is on the same page when it comes to Vision.




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