Worst Ways to Complete a Rock

Mike Kotsis EOS - Entrepreneurial Operating System Leave a Comment

direction signpost | GPS Worst Practices for Rocks

Ever find your team struggling to get your rocks done each quarter? What’s worse is when everything seems to be on track 80 precent of the way – then suddenly, the rock is off track. The end of the quarter comes, and it’s not done.

The next quarter, you’ve still got your original rock to complete, but now you have another three or four new rocks to do as well.

Often, it’s not just one person on the team who struggles. It’s several team members. And that’s a sign that your organization is following some worst practices for completing rocks.

Here are some of the most common worst practices for completing rocks – and some tips to get you back on track.

How to Not Complete a Rock

When my clients have run into this issue, they usually report the rock as being on track throughout the quarter. But something happens at the end and it quickly derails and stays not done.

Usually the problem boils down to one common practice: not setting milestones. While milestones aren’t required, those that do it tend to have a higher completion rate. Otherwise, the rock often becomes bigger than expected, or you get started on it too late and run out of time.

I’ve found the solution that has the biggest impact is using the EOS® Getting What You Want (GWYW) Tool. The GWYW Tool helps you plan out your progress and set milestones by beginning at the end. Here’s how it works.

The Getting What You Want Tool

Once a rock is set, start at the rock’s deadline. Identify the key milestones between now and the due date. Depending on the nature of the rock, you could have weekly milestones, biweekly milestones, or even just a couple milestones.

Working backwards from the rock’s due date, write down each milestone, the milestone’s due date, and what you need to have completed. When you’ve documented all of your milestones, review them and make sure they are realistic and attainable.

Also think through the steps you’ll need to take to meet each milestone. Who will you need to talk to or collaborate with? What will you need to delegate, and who will you need to keep accountable? What resources will you need?

This is exercise is important for every team, and for each team member, to do. Now you’ll be able to come back to your weekly Level 10 Meetings™ and honestly report whether your rocks are on track or off track, based on the milestones you set.

If you’re off-track according to your milestone schedule, drop it down and IDS it so the team can help identify the root cause – and, more importantly, how they can help get it back on track. Rocks are your most important use of time for the 90-day period!

Using the GWYW Tool has helped my clients’ teams to dramatically improve their rock completion, and it has ensured that conversations happen before it’s too late and they run out of time.

Other Worst Practices to Avoid

Maybe your problem isn’t milestones. There are many other worst practices to avoid when completing your rocks. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Take on too many rocks. Don’t take on more than three to seven rocks – although people with three rocks tend to get all of them completed, while those with seven often complete fewer than three. Doing more rocks doesn’t mean you get more done.
  • Get started late. Ninety days seems like a lot of time to complete a rock, but the time passes quickly. If you don’t get started right away, you’ll likely find yourself playing catch-up throughout your rock.
  • Not checking in. Make sure you ask each person about their rocks during your weekly Level 10 Meeting. If a rock is off track, drop it down to the Issues list and IDS it.
  • Not creating SMART rocks. One of the most common pitfalls is creating unclear rocks. Be very specific – otherwise you might end up completing the wrong rock, or getting confused about expectations. Make sure your rocks are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
  • Not defining what’s in your control. A lot of people set rocks that are dependent on outside people. But to the degree that you rely on outside factors, your rock will be outside of your control. Define what’s in your control, to the best of your ability.
  • The integrator isn’t stepping up and driving the team to 80%+ rock completion. The integrator is accountable for the entire team an overall 80% completion rate of rocks. If your team isn’t completing 80%+ most of the time then either the integrator isn’t challenging the rocks when they are being set to make sure they are crystal clear, or the integrator isn’t challenging the rock progress at the proper pace throughout the quarter during weekly level 10’s and 555 quarterly conversations – or worst yet, the integrator isn’t doing either of these!

Get Your Rocks Rolling

If your leadership team struggles to complete your quarterly rocks, chances are you’re following one or more of these worst practices. IDS the situation, and start using the GWYW Tool. You’ll see a noticeable difference at the end of your next quarter, when your rocks are due.

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