My EOS clients love Rocks. They cringe when we prioritize them, fear when they are asked to own them, may be cursing inside when they are held to doing them, but rejoice when they complete them.
I define Rocks as not urgent but important projects that require more than a couple of hours of focused effort, and that cannot be accomplished the night before they are due. A typical Rock would take at least 8-10 hours of concentrated work or more and it is outside the scope of business-as-usual. Examples include: hiring a C-level executive, implementing a software system, launching a new product, finding acquisition targets, etc.
I sometimes demonstrate Stephen Covey’s Rock, Pebble, Sand analogy to audiences to make the point that if we start our days working our rocks, we end up getting our pebbles (urgent and important tasks) done too and can squeeze time in for sand (interruptions, distractions and other fun but “unproductive” activities) too.
EOS clients love Rocks. Recently, I conducted two back to back sessions with a tech service company in Maryland, whose leaders showed withdrawal symptoms after we decided to wait a couple of weeks with setting a new set of Rocks.
So why are Rocks so popular?
Rocks invoke competitive spirit and our human desire to accomplish meaningful objectives. When everyone on a team commits to accomplishing Rocks, there is reciprocity in play. Who can afford to let their team down?
Rocks add up too. A leadership of 5 executives can accomplish 60 rocks a year if everyone just completes 3 each quarter. Can you imagine the impact of killing sixty important projects a year?
Rocks sound simple but they can be tricky to set. People sometimes realize that there is an issue to be solved before rocks can be actioned. Rocks must also be made Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound (“SMART”), otherwise you end up not knowing what you had committed to in the first place.