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Why Rocks Rock!


Rocks are just priorities — the three to seven most important things you must accomplish in the next 90 days.

Company Rocks are priorities for the company, departmental Rocks are priorities for your department, and individual Rocks are priorities for you or another individual. As simple as that sounds, it’s easy to overcomplicate Rocks.


There is no magic formula for what constitutes a Rock — it’s simply a priority that will take longer than seven days (those action items are to-dos) and up to ninety days to complete.

Here are a few common questions about Rocks, with corresponding answers.

  • Is that really a Rock? It’ll get done either way. 

    • If it’s one of the three to seven most important things for the company, department, team, or yourself this quarter, it’s a Rock. "It’s gonna get done anyway" means you are going to devote time to it as a priority but don’t want to write it down and keep yourself on-track each week in front of your peers. That’s a mistake that often leads to teams and leaders overcommitting.

  • Is that really a Rock? I mean, isn’t it just (fill in a name)’s job to have a 95% CSAT rating this quarter? 

    • If getting it done this quarter is one of the three to seven most important things for the company, team, department, or you, it’s a Rock. Now if quarter after quarter, you need to make someone’s job a Rock because consistent success isn’t yet baked into your organizational DNA, you likely have a People, Process, or Vision Component issue. But if it’s a priority and setting that priority as a Rock will help ensure you get it done, it’s a Rock.

  • That’s not a (company, departmental, team) Rock — I’m going to do it myself. 

    • If it’s one of the three to seven most important things for the company, department, or team, it’s a company, department, or team Rock regardless of who participates. Some company Rocks require the whole leadership team, while others are completed by an individual. Do not complete a departmental Rock on your own unless it was specifically assigned to you.

Rocks are a subset of SMART goals -- those goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Instead of setting a goal like "increase sales this year," you set a smaller, more specific goal.


The team's Rocks are agreed upon at the beginning of each quarter, and then checked up on a weekly basis so that you can see where you are either “On Track”, where you need to be, or if you are “Off track” and can then vector resources to get it back “On track”. At the end of the 90 days, the goals are either achieved or they are not. There is no sliding time line, no wishy washy idea that these are things that need to be done "eventually" or "soon." They are time limited so that they become strong priorities. 

Speaking of checking in on a weekly basis, there is a name for the weekly meeting: Level 10 Meeting

A Level 10 Meeting has a specific and pre-established agenda, with no variation. If other things need to be discussed, then a different meeting should take place. The Level 10 Meeting is reserved for ONLY Rock progress. The agenda can be found here. 

If you are, or are becoming, a meeting manager or agenda manager, more details about the agenda topics and how to run a Level 10 Meeting can be found in Traction (2011) starting on page 176 with "The Meeting Pulse." Page 198 ends the section on the Level 10 Meeting.

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