In our work with growth companies implementing the Scaling Up Business Operating system, one of the biggest hurdles that our clients face is how they decide on the critical Rocks for the quarter and year in their businesses. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of “Rocks”, check out this video from Stephen Covey.  Prioritization of initiatives is critical for success. Successful companies don’t just “do a lot of things”, rather, they accomplish the most important things. Here are 4 tips for identifying your company Rocks.

1. Don’t conflate an Outcome with a Priority.

We see this a lot when we work with companies at the onset when we ask for their current priorities. Often, we see something like  “Grow New Customers by 15%” or “Reduce average hiring time by 7 days”. These are the outcomes – not the priorities.  They are a great place to start but our priorities and Company Rocks should be actions that we take – and presumably accomplish – to achieve the ultimate goal.  You have to ask yourself the question “HOW will we increase sales by 15%?” or “Where will we find time to reduce the hiring cycle?”.  And how do we make this happen? See point two.

2. Use Data to inform your Priorities.

Whenever you have a strategic planning session, it is vital to have access to as much customer, sales and marketing, and employee data as possible. By reviewing data and using it to correlate success and failure, we give our organizations a much greater chance of accomplishing our Rocks and thereby achieving ultimate success.  Sticking with our growth of sales example, we want to start with questions such as, What are the sources of our newest customers?  Why are they staying or buying from us?  Do we have NPS (Net Promoter Score) data?  Do we have google analytics data on how our customers are finding us?  What web pages are driving conversions? Perhaps through this data review, we find that blogs are driving to a landing page that is converting 3x more than any google ad. We might then devise a Rock to have consistent blogs once a week. Or perhaps we determine that our industry is converting social media ads and we are not engaged in that medium.  A Rock might be to establish a Facebook ad campaign. By using data, we determine what’s working and what’s not, and then establish initiatives that drive those goals.

3. Identify a specific Outcome and Assign one Owner.

We often say, if multiple people own something, no one owns it. When you determine a Rock for your organization, you must have one point of accountability and one owner. In most cases, of course, the owner will need help but the point here is to drive accountability and ensure there are no miscommunications about who is doing what.  We also want to have a Rock that we can answer “Will we definitively know if this has been accomplished?” so the Rock should either be a “Yes/No” or Metric driven – i.e. “Develop 5 Facebook ad campaigns in the Quarter to yield 300 qualified leads.”

4. Measure and Report Progress.

Hopefully you have a consistent meeting rhythm where your senior team is meeting at least weekly.  Quarterly Rocks should be discussed, as well as successes, failures, and what the team is learning.  Data should be reviewed that indicates if a Rock is on track where possible. If the owner needs help, the team should be providing feedback.  Remember that these Rocks are the most critical initiatives that the company has for growth so an organization should be focused on executing them.


If you’re interested in learning more about how a Coach can help you and your leadership team crush your goals and scale your business, please contact our team at align5 by clicking here. Or please take our Free Growth Assessment, which will evaluate the strength of your company based on four core business disciplines that must be in place before scaling successfully – People, Strategy, Execution and Cash.

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