If you have heard about EOS, you might have come across the term ‘Rock(s)’.
This isn’t a geological phenomenon, or a stumbling block on your path to success.
Let me explain: quite simply, ‘Rocks’ are priorities.
Rocks got their name from a simple science experiment made popular by Dr Stephen R Covey.
If you search for rocks, pebbles and sand online, 22,500,000 results come up. Here is one of my favourite videos explaining the theory.
It is a time management for your life, and it works for businesses too.
The idea is that the rocks are your main priorities. The gravel represents your day to day responsibilities. The sand represents interruptions, and the water is everything else you get hit with during your work day.
Video: Setting smart priorities
Your objective is to get them all to fit in a glass jar. If you put the sand in first, then the pebbles and then the rocks, the rocks don’t fit. However, if you put the rocks in first, then the pebbles, and finally the sand, the pebbles and sand will filter down between the rocks, and it all fits in the same size jar.
The point is, if you don’t prioritise your rocks, and work on the most important things first, you will not get them done.
When you implement EOS, Rocks are set by the leadership team of a business at their Quarterly meeting. They are a way of clarifying and giving weight to the most important things which must be accomplished over the next 90 days.
Each task is given to a single person to own who is responsible for ensuring it gets done.
If leadership teams work with the attitude that everything is important, the result is that the less important, low impact tasks get done. The advantage of setting Rocks is that it helps keep people focused on their main priorities, and makes work manageable.
The rule of thumb is to set between three and seven Rocks at the start of every three months. Any fewer, and the company might lose its drive and momentum; any more, and there’s a risk of confusion.
Guest post: Setting company Rocks
Avoiding confusion is also one of the key rules for setting “Smart” Rocks.
SMART Rocks are:
Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
Achievable (agreed, attainable)
Realistic (relevant, resourced, results-based)
Timely (have a deadline).
Using the SMART method to set your Rocks involves establishing the deliverable (preferably with a number), making sure it’s realistic, deciding how you’ll know it is complete and determining a due date.
That might seem like a lot to think about, but by using SMART Rocks, leadership teams can make sure they are prioritising and predicting what they can achieve in the next 90 days.
Finally, setting SMART Rocks is motivational and visible for your team. Rocks are a sticky term – people like to own them and feel a sense of accomplishment when they’re completed.
EOS matches the 90 day Rock cycle to your financial year, so setting Smart Rocks helps you to achieve your quarterly revenue and profit goal. It’s how you make your quarterly numbers.