As a business owner just beginning to implement EOS®, you might think the concept of Rocks seems pretty simple. Unfortunately, “simple” doesn’t always mean “easy.” I’ve always thought of Rocks like skiing. Seems easy in concept, difficult in practice, and especially difficult to truly master!
Rocks serve as building blocks to achieving your 10-Year Target™, so creating the best Rocks gets you closer to those goals. These represent the major leaps your company takes in the exact amount of time your people’s attention spans last. So we’d better do them correctly, right?
When you implement EOS, every team in your company, starting with the leadership team, sets Rocks during their quarterly meetings.
Every person in a company should have three to seven personal Rocks that drive toward company-level Rocks. They should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely). Rocks identify the most important actions to accomplish over the next 90 days to advance longer-term goals. Each Rock should have a specific owner and a clear articulation of how it furthers larger company goals. But sometimes Rocks can go off track.
Bring Me a Rock
What can happen if you set weak Rocks? Imagine this…
The boss sits in his office, demanding his team bring him some vague deliverable (we’ll call it a Rock). In this case, he needs a rock — a literal rock! — to break an old window that is obstructing his view. Thinking everyone is on the same page, a manager and her team create a Rock to bring the boss a rock.
Everybody on the team scrambles to bring what they think their manager wants.
Sometimes they work together, but usually they argue over their interpretations of the unclear communications. One by one, the team members deliver their rocks. Some bring precious gemstones. Some bring big boulders too massive to move. One even brings a sock.
Each thinks they did a terrific job, but clearly they missed the mark. The boss banishes them from his office.
Total failure, total disappointment.
The manager could’ve saved all this frustration and wasted time and energy with some clear explanation.
In your Rock setting, make absolutely sure you know your specific victory condition: What makes it done? Be able to explain its importance and what needs to happen to achieve it.
Not Rocking Your Rocks
I’ve had a few clients over the years do well in nearly every aspect of implementing EOS in their businesses. But some, despite their success, just seemed to have trouble with their Rocks. They did a decent job of setting SMART Rocks, but each quarter they’d only get about half done. It happened enough times that we had to ask: Why?
Sometimes we can tell that Rocks feel off track. But without interim milestones as early warning of a potential problem, we just carry on until the next quarterly meeting. Smart, ambitious teams often assure themselves that “this week, with a little extra focus and work,” they’ll get their Rocks back on track. One week turns to two, then to five, then to a missed Rock at the end of the quarter. Suddenly we have a problem with multiple missed Rocks that didn’t magically catch up.
Identify the Issue: Missed Rocks
Rocks that begin to go off track should always find their way onto the Level 10 Meeting™ Issues List to IDS™ (Identify, Discuss, and Solve). If a Rock is missed (or not done by the deadline), it goes as an IDS item for the quarterly.
The entire team has to help solve this problem and determine if the Rock needs adjusting. Through this process, we identify the issue, discuss solutions, and determine how to solve the problem forever.
My teams who have gone from “OK” Rock completion to crushing Rocks have a few things in common. Apart from learning to build in interim milestones and IDS potential problems immediately, they learned to relentlessly pursue completing Rocks. They devote time in their day to ensure that Rocks don’t just get done, they get “Done Done.”
They also uncovered that while each Rock had one owner, they had to consider all the people responsible for completing it. Sometimes those people had responsibilities for many, many Rocks, making their jobs completely unmanageable.
Only you can determine the right Rocks for your company. But a Professional EOS Implementer® can help guide you to set the best ones.
Remember: A great Rock is a Rock that actually gets DONE!