Is That Really a Rock?


Rocks are just priorities — the three to seven most important things you must accomplish in the next 90 days.

Company Rocks are priorities for the company, departmental Rocks are priorities for your department, and individual Rocks are priorities for you or another individual. As simple as that sounds, it’s easy to overcomplicate Rocks.

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There is no magic formula for what constitutes a Rock — it’s simply a priority that will take longer than seven days (those action items are to-dos) and up to ninety days to complete.

Here are a few questions I get asked often in sessions, with corresponding answers.

  • Is that really a Rock? It’ll get done either way. If it’s one of the three to seven most important things for the company, department, team, or yourself this quarter, it’s a Rock. ”It’s gonna get done anyway” means you are going to devote time to it as a priority but don’t want to write it down and keep yourself on-track each week in front of your peers. That’s a mistake that often leads to teams and leaders overcommitting.
  • Is that really a Rock? I mean, isn’t it (fill in a name) ’s job to sell $1.5 million worth of stuff this quarter? If getting it done this quarter is one of the three to seven most important things for the company, team, department, or you, it’s a Rock. Now if quarter after quarter, you need to make someone’s job a Rock because consistent success isn’t yet baked into your organizational DNA, you likely have a People, Process, or Vision Component issue. But if it’s a priority and setting that priority as a Rock will help ensure you get it done, it’s a Rock.
  • That’s not a (company, departmental, team) Rock — I’m going to do it myself. If it’s one of the three to seven most important things for the company, department, or team, it’s a company, department, or team Rock regardless of who participates. Some company Rocks require the whole leadership team, while others are completed by an individual.

Remember, setting Rocks is an activity that occurs every ninety days in your Quarterly Planning Sessions, and your Rocks are due on the date of your next Quarterly Planning Session. Once you’ve set your Rocks, help your team stay on track by following the Level 10 Meeting™ agenda in your weekly leadership team and departmental meetings.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 12, 2017

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What has been your biggest struggle in identifying Rocks? Let us know!

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