Mastering the 10 Rockefeller Habits
Updated: Sep 16
Mastering the 10 Rockefeller Habits is a foundational technique for any business preparing to
You may have heard of the Rockefeller Habits, but if you have not, the concept is explained in great detail in Verne Harnish’s 2002 book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. Many business coaches teach this method for one very good reason – it works.
What are the Rockefeller Habits?
Essentially, the 10 Rockefeller Habits (watch the video) are meant to provide a framework for your company’s operating system. . That, is these are best practices that will surely yield great results for your company.
Essentially, there are three pillars to the habits:
Priorities: Have the leaders identified their top 3-5 priorities for the year and top 3-5 for the quarter, and a clear #1 priority? Does everyone in the company have their own priorities? And, are their priorities aligned with the company’s priorities? Priorities matter because you'll make quicker progress by focusing everyone's energies on the same areas.
Data: Is the company getting sufficient feedback on a daily and weekly basis beyond the financial and sales indicators to provide the leadership team with insights on how the company is doing, what employees want, and what customers and the market are demanding. This will also help you predict better.
Rhythm: Does the company have an effective rhythm of well-organized daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual meetings to maintain alignment and drive accountability
If you speak to leaders of some of the world’s most successful companies, they will all tell you that in terms of scaling up, mastering the Rockefeller Habits is a life-altering endeavor. In every client I have ever helped put these into place, the business markedly improved.
The Ten Rockefeller Habits
As outlined in Harnish’s book, here are the ten Rockefeller habits, with a brief explanation of each step:
1. The executive team is healthy and aligned.
This habit looks at how well the leadership team understands each other. This includes their differences as well as where they come together. Weekly strategy meetings are essential, as is ongoing education. All members of the team must contribute and be able to engage in healthy debate.
2. Everyone is aligned with the #1 thing that needs to be accomplished this quarter to move the company forward.
Identify three to five priorities that support the #1 thing. Each quarter, wins must be celebrated so that everybody in the company knows.
3. Communication flow is instituted, and data moves through the organization quickly and accurately.
Employees engage in brief daily huddles. Teams meet weekly, and all management meets for a day each month to learn, resolve, and set the stage for the coming month.
4. Every aspect of the daily business has an assigned person who is accountable for the goals.
The right people are doing the right things. Each stakeholder has a financial line item assigned to them, and each process has one person who is responsible for that thing. If the company lacks internal expertise on a capability, one is assigned in an advisory capacity.
5. Solicit employee input to identify problems and opportunities.
Each manager and member of the leadership team has one employee with whom they have a conversation with each week. These insights are then shared at weekly meetings of the executive team. Middle management is accountable for resolving such discussions.
6. Report and analyze customer feedback as frequently and meticulously as financial data.
Each manager and executive have, at minimum, one conversation with an end-user each week. Insights are shared at weekly team meetings. Every employee is tasked with collecting customer feedback, and mid-management is again responsible for resolving these issues.
7. Core values and purpose are active throughout the organization.
The company’s core values and purpose are illustrated and communicated throughout the organization. Feedback, whether positive or negative, is based on these principles. All processes, including hiring, onboarding, and recognition/promotion, align with the collective focus. Action is taken to strengthen the core values.
8. Employees can communicate key strategic components accurately.
These components include BHAG (big hairy audacious goal), ideal customer profiles, brand ideals and KPIs, and the company’s elevator pitch – something every employee should be able to relay clearly and accurately.
9. All employees can quantify whether they have had a good day or week.
Every day or week, every employee reports on one or two KPIs. Each will have one KPI that supports the company’s #1 goal for that period. In addition, each employee has three to five of their own KPIs that also line up with organizational goals. All employees and middle management have a mentor or a peer coach to whom they answer for any changes in behavior or deviation from the course.
10. The company’s plans and performance are visible to everyone.
Weekly meetings are held, either physically or virtually, to keep the collective focus aligned. A central location, or a situation room, should be established for that purpose. The core values, purpose, and priorities are posted throughout the company so that every employee is aware of the goals and progress towards them. Scoreboards are posted to display progress towards achieving KPIs and other critical milestones. A system is in place to track and manage priorities and KPIs.
Before you deep dive
Every company is different, so how you execute these steps should reflect your company and its culture. The important thing is to take action. You will also need a few things in place before you begin.
For example, you should have an effective business management system already in place.
Additionally, your employees should understand your system and how it contributes to your success as well as the bigger picture.
For a deeper dive into the Rockefeller Habits, I recommend you reach the book Scaling Up: Mastering the Rockefeller Habits 2.0 by Verne Harnish and the team at Gazelles. When you are ready to get some help with implementing the Rock Habits and our 4 Decision frameworks into your company, give me a call.
Schedule a call today to schedule a complimentary conversation to learn more.