Getting Rocks Right

Michael Erath
Michael Erath

Founder & Lead Guide at Next Level Growth

Setting great Rocks is one of the most difficult and misunderstood elements of the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®), but getting them right is the difference maker to ensure you achieve your business goals. 

Set them SMART

Often Rocks get defined in terms that are unclear, unrealistic, or reflect someone being saddled with an impossible amount of work. Great Rocks should always be written in a way they are clear, concise, and SMART – meaning they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Make sure you are being realistic in terms of the Rock owner’s ability to get them done in the context of both their overall workload and the broader capacity within the company to assist with whatever support role is necessary to ensure success. Never forget, if you have the right Rocks, less is more to get the most important priorities done in a high-quality fashion.

Agree on what “Done” looks like. 

We so often see Rocks that are statements of desire rather than real, tangible projects that can be achieved within the given timeframes. Look hard at the Rock description and evaluate as a team whether it’s clear how you will know whether the ROCK is done or not done. If the finish line is not clearly defined, the outcome will not be either.

Make them count for the long-term.

Great Rocks are not designed to simply be a definition of what should happen in a quarter. They are initiatives that can be completed within the quarter that should make a lasting impact on the business going forward. Otherwise, your Rocks are really just a description of someone doing their job.

Don’t confuse Rocks and Goals.

Rocks are clear actions to be taken, not goals to be achieved.  It’s easy to confuse these but the differences are night and day. Goals are WHAT you are looking to achieve, while Rocks are HOW you will get there. Poorly written Rocks take the form of statements like “Close $1 Million in new sales this quarter” which is really a goal without a clear sense of action. Rocks should be written to achieve this goal, and might look more like “Create and deploy a new sales process to increase sales productivity” or “staff, train and deploy 3 new salespeople.”

Always build milestones.

What separates a Rock from a To Do in EOS® is the level of effort, time, and complexity required to achieve it. If you set a Rock that does not require milestones to complete it’s probably not really a Rock at all. Set them and make sure your Integrator agrees and hold everyone accountable for staying on track. Without clear milestones it very difficult to know when your off-track and the result is often end-of-quarter surprises.

Setting better Rocks is often the difference between success and failure with EOS®, so when it comes to defining them spend the time to get them right.

Next Steps

Written by Scott Elser
Entrepreneurial Operating System® and EOS® are registered trademarks of EOS Worldwide, LLC. Next Level Growth is not affiliated with EOS Worldwide, LLC.