Tips for Writing Great Rocks

Circle of rocks

Everyone who runs a company on EOS® struggles with how to set Rocks at the start of their journey. If you are having issues with setting your quarterly priorities, take heart – you are not alone! And it is not as difficult as it may seem at first.

What is a Rock?

The most important thing to remember is the definition of a Rock. A Rock is one of the three to seven most important things you must get done in the next 90 days. If you need a refresher, re-read Chapter 8 (pg. 170-176) in “Traction®, Get a Grip on Your Business” or Chapter 5 (pg. 79-90) in “What the Heck is EOS?”.

The key to writing great Rocks is to make them S.M.A.R.T. That is an acronym for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

If you write a Rock that misses even one of these key attributes, you will be at great risk for not achieving your goals. As an example, below is a Rock I set a while back in my EOS Coaching Department Quarterly:

“Revise and improve our Proven Process for recruiting new EOS implementers, gain approval of the team, and roll out the new process to the other coaches.”

How to Make Your Rocks SMART

Specific

As Steven Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.” Start by naming a specific result you want to be true by the end of the quarter.

The way I phrased my Rock was very specific. It could have been shortened to “Revise and roll out new Proven Process,” but I find it is easier for me to start with a complicated statement and then simplify it. You may need to do it the other way around – make it simple first, and then detail what it means. Specify your Rock in the way that works best for you, make sure the bottom line is as specific as it can possibly be.

Measurable

Overall, a Rock is measurable if you can easily call it “done” or “not done” at the end of the quarter. You must be able to clearly state how you will know whether it has been achieved at the end of the quarter. In my example, if I produced a new document, but didn’t get it rolled out to the rest of the coaching team and train others on it, the Rock would be incomplete (stay tuned, more on incomplete rocks later).

Attainable

A Rock must be something you actually have the capacity to achieve. For example, if you want to increase your sales volume by 25%, but you don’t have enough salespeople to do it, you shouldn’t write a Rock around increasing sales by an unachievable amount. Instead, you should set a Rock to hire the new people you need to achieve the sales goals you want.

Realistic

This is where many of us get in trouble! It is why I didn’t achieve my Rock. I overestimated my ability and underestimated the time it would take. I should have adjusted my ambitions to “Revise Proven Process” for the quarter, and tackled the “Get final approval, roll out Proven Process” portion a Rock for the following quarter.

Many goal-setting gurus will say you have to set goals beyond your comfort zone to achieve great things, and there is a lot of truth in that. But in setting Rocks, you must also be realistic and not try to do more than is actually possible in one quarter.

Timely

“T” is last in the acronym, but it is actually the first thing you need to make your Rock. A Rock cannot be SMART if it doesn’t have a deadline.

Remember that Rocks are the top priorities for the next 90 days. If there is something you want to do, but it is not time to do it now, put it on your Long-Term Issues List and consider it next quarter.

Rock Failure

When a Rock fails, 99% of the time it will be because it was not truly SMART. If you don’t achieve a Rock, don’t beat yourself up. Just analyze which of these attributes your Rock didn’t have, and then correct your course going forward. With just a little practice, you can write great Rocks every quarter!

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