From Chaos to Clarity:  Our Journey to transitioning Kisner’s Hair Company to ‘Running on EOS’

Just a few years ago, Kisner’s Hair Company, under the leadership of Denny, was like many small to mid-sized businesses – vibrant in creativity, passionate about their craft, yet navigating through a labyrinth of operational chaos. They had a vision, a dedicated team, and a compelling product, but a lack of structure left them, in Denny’s own words, “driving blind.” Enter the transformative power of Gino Wickman’s EOS Traction methodology.

Initial Struggles

Despite the talent and dedication brimming within Kisner’s Hair Company, the business was struggling to find its footing. Decisions were often made based on hunches, without adequate data to back them. The roles and responsibilities of team members were blurred, leading to inefficiencies. Most critically, Denny felt that the team was not aligned towards a common vision. Something needed to change, and Denny found his answer in the EOS Traction model.

The Power of Vision

Drawing from Wickman’s book, “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business,” Denny started the transformation by focusing on the company’s Vision. He conducted a series of workshops to define and articulate the company’s long-term goals, its core values, and its unique value proposition. By the end of the process, everyone in the team had a clear understanding of the company’s direction and what it stood for.

Building the Right Team

The People component of EOS became Kisner’s next focus. They needed to ensure they had the right people in the right seats. Denny, along with his leadership team, conducted a skills and values inventory of the team, matching people’s capabilities and passions with the needs of the company. This helped in better delegation, improved performance, and higher job satisfaction among the team members.

Data-Driven Decision-Making

Next, Denny implemented the Data component of EOS Traction. He identified a set of key metrics – a scorecard – that would give an accurate pulse on the business. This allowed the leadership team to make informed, objective decisions and enabled them to address issues before they became problems.

Addressing Issues Head-On

Speaking of Issues, Denny found the Issues-Solving Track (IDS) from EOS to be a game-changer. This system, which stands for Identify, Discuss, and Solve, became the cornerstone of their meetings, ensuring that all problems were addressed and nothing was swept under the rug.

Streamlining Processes

To ensure scalability and consistency, Denny worked on the Process component of EOS. This involved identifying and documenting the core business processes and ensuring everyone was trained and proficient in these processes. This eliminated confusion and enhanced efficiency across the organization.

Gaining Traction

Finally, Denny worked on the last but pivotal component of EOS – Traction. With the vision, people, data, issues, and processes in place, he started focusing on the disciplined execution of their day-to-day operations. Regular weekly meetings were introduced to keep everyone accountable and maintain the momentum towards their shared vision.

Transitioning to EOS Traction wasn’t an overnight journey for Kisner’s Hair Company, but the transformation was profound. Today, the company is not just surviving but thriving, with a dedicated and aligned team, efficient processes, and a robust data-driven strategy. More than anything, Denny’s story is a testament to the power of a clear vision and the right system in driving business success.

What interesting projects are you working on? What new products are you releasing? Share a brief description and then include a link to a web page or blog post.


From Garage Barber to Serial Entrepreneur: A Journey of Vision and Transformation

My journey began with a simple question to my dad: “Can I go to barber school instead of college?” Despite his initial reluctance, I was able to articulate my vision even at the age of 19. I transformed my parents’ garage into a neighborhood barber shop, and with a marketing strategy of “Bring a Friend, Get a Free haircut,” I worked tirelessly. I’d put in long hours at Tony’s Barber Shop on Crain Highway in Glen Burnie, Maryland, from 8 am to 8 pm, and then cut hair in my parents’ garage from 8:30 pm until midnight. This work ethic became a part of me, driving me well into my mid-30s.

As I gained life experience and the desire to decentralize myself, I envisioned a future where I could educate, elevate, and empower the leaders of our company, paving the way for salon ownership. My journey toward decentralization began during the challenging times of COVID-19. I approached my long-time friend and co-worker, Melissa Lindsay, about becoming partners in Kisner’s Hair Company. Melissa purchased 10% of our Glen Burnie location and entered into a 70/30 partnership for our Canton location. I structured the deal to minimize her upfront financial burden, allowing her to make manageable monthly payments over 60 months. We kept her business loan in-house, ensuring the lowest legally allowed interest rate. And thus, Kisner’s Canton was born.

Operating two salons simultaneously posed new challenges. I realized I needed education in leadership, so I invested in the Enneagram to gain a better understanding of our team members and foster improved communication and empathy. Following Enneagram training, we hired an EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) implementer. Over eight months, we embarked on a journey to deconstruct and rebuild the inner workings of our salon company. I discovered areas where I excelled, such as addressing significant issues, crafting a vision, problem-solving, and developing systems. However, daily operations were not my strong suit.

With the guidance of our implementer, Shannon Roberts, and the support of Summit Salon Business Center, we defined our core values, identified our leadership team, and began working on our “Rocks” – our 90-day goals. Today, we convene weekly to “IDS” (Identify, Discuss, and Solve) all our “Issues,” and we each take on “To-Dos.” This journey of transformation from a garage barber to a salon leader has been marked by vision, resilience, and a commitment to our core values. It’s a journey that continues, driven by the EOS system and our unwavering dedication to our purpose of educating, elevating, and empowering from the inside out.

Share this:

2 thoughts on “From Chaos to Clarity:  Our Journey to transitioning Kisner’s Hair Company to ‘Running on EOS’”

  1. Wow Denny I’ve watched your growth and have been in admiration of you and your team ! We have met at Summit my name is Tina I own A do or Dye salon and have been struggling since Covid .I would love to have lunch and hear more about this .

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *