Advice and Insight for Entrepreneurs and Leadership Teams
Rocks are just priorities — the 3 to 7 most important things you must accomplish in the next ninety 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.
There is no magic formula for what constitutes a rock — it’s simply a priority that will take longer than 7 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.
When it comes to priorities, you may have heard the term ‘Rocks’, first popularized by Stephen Covey in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He defined Rocks as your most important priorities, the things you must get done before urgent things that come up as well as daily interruptions.
In a recent EOS® Quarterly Meeting, the leadership team was proud to report that they had completed each of the ten Rocks (key priorities) that they had committed to getting done. They had gotten close in previous quarters, always exceeding the goal of 80% completion but this was their first “100% quarter”. In fact, I’ve conducted hundreds of sessions with leadership teams over the years and none has ever completed all their Rocks. So, I asked the Integrator and his team, “What did you do differently this quarter to complete all your Rocks?”
Some leaders and managers have been tempted to deviate from the 5-minute rock review we teach in the weekly Level 10 Meeting™, desiring something more detailed than a simple, on track/off track, report. The concern that team members are inappropriately reporting rocks to be on track when they are not has lead some teams to create elaborate “rock crushing systems” that include breaking rocks down into smaller action steps, plotting those steps out across a timeline, tracking completion of those steps and reporting the progress in weekly meetings.