Bakery owners Becky Palermo and Beth Fahey are big proponents of EOS.
It can be common nature to blame someone else for a specific problem at your bakery, but the productive course of action often starts with a bit of self-reflection. When it comes to guiding your employees in the right direction, are you being the best boss you can be?

As a bakery owner, managing your staff can be a more daunting task than keeping pace with production. Sisters Becky Palermo and Beth Fahey learned this valuable lesson time and again during the past 15 years owning Creative Cakes in Tinley Park, Illinois. So how did they successfully grow their business from $200,000 to $2 million annually?

It starts with defining your bakery’s core values and ensuring that every employee in your business knows and understands what is expected of them.

“Having the wrong person in the wrong seat — many of us live with this. Having the right person in the right seat is what’s important,” says Fahey. “Start with your vision. Where do you want your company to go?”

Creative Cakes worked with an implementer to define core values and even printed the values on staff shirts that employees wear at work.

To help identify your vision, Fahey suggests one way to start is identify your best employee and list specific traits you love about this person. Why are they such a stellar worker? Attitude? Talent? Dedication? Writing down desired core values helps you get started — and stay the course — in the right direction.

Say, for example, you assign five core values to your bakery. Then make a spreadsheet with core values listed on the top row and list all your employees in one column on the left side. Grade each employee on how they meet each core value with a plus or minus.

It’s also helpful to have three more columns on the right: Gets It. Wants It. Capacity to Do It. Rate each employee on whether they get it, want it, and have the capacity to do it with a checkmark in each column.

Known as the People Analyzer, this tool is part of a business model called the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), a spinoff of business author Gino Wickman, who wrote the best-selling book “Traction.” “The People Analyzer is a great tool,” Fahey says. “EOS is more about tasks under each job,” she continues. “Our bakery created an accountability chart. Not titles. Just jobs.”

Fahey is a big fan of the EOS 5-5-5™ structure, which cuts to the three most important expectations: employees possess your five core values, they have the skill set to perform in their five roles, and they are achieving five rocks every quarter.

“We don’t do annual reviews,” Fahey says. “We routinely have brief casual conversations about what’s working and not working. For their quarterly meeting, it’s a half-hour meeting off-site that is structured and scheduled.” Fahey warns that quarterly meetings alone are not enough. “It is important to know week to week that you’re watching the pulse of your business. If you only do it quarterly, it becomes too late to fix the problem.”