Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, Verne Harnish (Ashburn: Gazelles, 2002)
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Mastering the Rockefeller Habits Synopsis
Author Verne Harnish dives into the three key Rockefeller habits in his book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. The three habits are priorities, real-time data, and rhythm. Readers learn the importance of building out these three habits to overcome the barriers to growth. This includes planning for a long-term vision (10-25 years) as well as the next 90 days while identifying and focusing on the top five priorities. Foregone is the in-between time, which will adjust as leaders leverage their rhythm to align priorities and resolve issues.
Habit #1 – Priorities
Companies that focus on their priorities tend to excel. Companies may have multiple priorities; however, if it is important for leaders to prioritize, they should identify what the top five priorities of the company are and pick one to focus on. These priorities should be evaluated every year and quarter.
To align an organization around the top priority, leaders need to weave that priority into daily business. Adopting a theme for each month or quarter is one way to do this. For example, one theme may be “Zero defects” or “Operational excellence.” Both of these communicate a clear priority in concise terms. Then, build these themes into the various touchpoints in an organization. This can include creating and displaying themed posters in public spaces, discussing the theme at daily and weekly meetings. When discussing team objectives, leaders should be sure to relate them back to the theme.
Habit #2 – Realtime data
The second Rockefeller habit is real-time data. The data needs to speak to things that are happening within the organization as well as the market. Additionally, the data should be available and reviewed daily and weekly as a pulse check. Finally, employees need to have at least one daily or weekly metric to review. This will allow them to understand their performance and ensure alignment with the organization’s objectives.
Habit #3 – Rhythm
Rhythm is the frequency and cadence in which a business reviews its priorities and goals. It serves as a way to keep all team members informed, aligned, and accountable. Meetings and check-ins scheduled at the daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly frequency allow for the team members to communicate frequently about updates and issues. Develop a one-page strategic plan to outline the key goals and accountabilities for the organization.
Other Key Ideas – Mastering Growth
To defeat the barriers to growth, leaders must be able to master the following: delegating to others, implementing systems and structures, and predicting with data. It is impossible for leadership teams to make all the decisions for the organization with consensus. Thus, leaders must be able to trust one another and delegate decision-making. This enables efficient use of resources and time, thus making the team more productive. Additionally, organizations need to ensure there are proper systems and structures in place as it grows. As companies grow in revenue, customers, and employees, complexity will grow as well. Complexity leads to miscommunication, which can lead to inefficiencies and destroy productivity. Systems allow for an organization to handle complexity by creating outlining processes and creating clear boundaries. Finally, organizations need to leverage data to allow for predictability. By being able to predict certain outcomes of decisions, leaders can make better decisions.
- The three Rockefeller habits are priorities, real-time data, and rhythm.
- Senior leaders in organizations should create a one-page strategic plan that is to be reviewed by the organization regularly (as part of their rhythm) to ensure alignment and track progress.
- At most, an organization should focus on no more than five key priorities.
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits Author: Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is one of the founding participants of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO). He is also the founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive coaching firm focused on helping organizations scale. He is the chair of MIT’s leadership program, Birthing of Giants, and is known for his many speaking engagements.
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