EOS-run companies live by their quarterly Rocks. It’s in their DNA. Perhaps you’re not familiar with the term or you’re not clear of the true meaning.
Rocks are simply 90-day priorities that yield a BIG impact when completed. The key is to consistently pick the right Rocks and get them done. But this may not be as easy as it sounds.
Why do Rocks Sometimes Feel Like Boulders?
I have found that clients get better at the Rock process over time, but it can be challenging early on. There are typically three reasons clients get stuck:
- Their Rocks aren’t clear enough, i.e. no consensus on what “done” looks like
- They fail to delegate tasks, confusing “ownership” with “doing”
- They don’t break down the Rocks into bite-size milestones
Clearly Defining Rocks
Poorly worded Rocks will typically lead to lackluster results or worse, no results. For example, a Rock stated as “have a successful trade show” provides a general concept but no clarity and consensus around what success is.
A better way to articulate this could be something like “hold 10 or more key-account meetings and obtain 100 or more new warm leads at the XYZ trade show.”
Articulating it this way validates clear impact with no murkiness of what “done” looks like!
If, for example, they only achieved 8 key account meetings and/or obtained 90 leads, this Rock would officially be not done. 90% done is not done. This level of clarity helps raise accountability by eliminating grey areas.
Rocks Can Be Collaborative
Rocks have clear ownership, but that doesn’t mean you must complete them in a vacuum. In fact, it’s common to involve several people to complete each Rock, but only one person will own the final results.
This can open up the opportunity to delegate portions of responsibility to others. Remember, you can delegate tasks but you can’t delegate ownership. Successful completion of your Rocks always sits squarely on the Rock owner.
If you typically do most of the work, then you may not be comfortable with delegating. It’s important to understand that delegation is not a luxury; it’s a critical management/leadership skill that you must embrace and master to help you honor and focus your time most effectively.
Breaking Down your Rocks
Sometimes the sheer magnitude of a Rock is enough to freeze you in your tracks! Not all Rocks feel this big, but when they do it’s important to come up with a strategy to help you manage them. One way to do this is to set some milestones for yourself. For example, since Rocks are 90-day goals, you can easily break them down into 30-day increments, i.e. three milestones prior to the final Rock completion.
I had a client identify a Rock as “create the annual budgeting process and complete the 2018 company budget.” It was a 2-part Rock with lots of impact! Here’s how a milestone breakdown could look:
- 30 Days: Complete the first draft of the budget and distribute it to Leadership Team for input
- 60 Days: Complete the second draft of the budget and develop the first draft of the Budget SOP
- 90 Days: Final/approved budget and SOP
If the 30-day milestone is not met, it should be reported as “off-track” in the weekly Level 10 meeting and put up as an issue that needs attention and resolve.
Well thought out Rocks with clear impact ensure consistent progress towards reaching your Vision – one quarter at a time. But remember, you can get help completing them and come up with a strategy to manage those BIG Rocks.
Do that and you may find your Rocks start feeling more like pebbles!