Near-term priorities are known as ‘rocks’ in many companies who use the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)®. When helping our clients get focused in their business, we help them to set ‘Rocks.’ Rocks are the three to seven most important near-term priorities they need to execute in the next 90 days. These tasks should be essential to the business and to your success in making real progress toward annual goals, the three-year picture of your business, and your long-term vision.
We’ve all done it. We make a ‘to-do’ list and it ends up looking more like a novel! Most leadership teams come up with a list of 15-20 objectives they want to accomplish. It’s impossible for any team to focus on 20 deliverables. The key is to whittle the list down to the top three to seven most important items for the next 90 days.
You should know with absolute certainty when your top three to seven items are completed. Here are two examples of Rocks, one well written and one not:
“Open up a new market for our printing business.” (poorly defined Rock)
“Call on three prospects in this market segment whom we have never met and give them a presentation on our digital printing capabilities, with the goal of securing one new customer.” (well defined Rock)
Your Rocks must be definitive and achievable.
Stick with it.
Once you have your ‘Rocks,’ stay committed to seeing them through. Don’t let yourselves get distracted by the next new thing or the latest fire drill. Keep a laser focus on your top items and get them done. Remember: you already know these tasks will help reach your long-term goals. If you don’t stick to your near-term goals (your Rocks), you’ll never accomplish your long-term priorities.
Two caveats: 1) Be prepared for emergencies. Unforeseen situations arise frequently in business. That’s why it’s critical to keep focused on a small number of short-term priorities, so you have enough bandwidth to deal with unexpected situations, and 2) Establish an individual ‘owner’ and specific date for each priority. Ownership = accountability. A goal without a delivery date is merely fantasy!
If you establish your ‘Rocks’ every quarter – each with an owner and due date – you will get great traction in your business and, ultimately, realize your vision.