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Rockefeller Habits Checklist – PART 2

Is Your Business On The Path To Sustainable Growth?

In the previous edition of this magazine, Verne Harnish introduced the first five Rockefeller Success Habits.  These included improving your executive team, aligning your company’s goals to the No. 1 thing that has to be accomplished each quarter, establishing proper internal communication, accountability for your goals, and collecting employee input.  This time, Verne lays out the next five habits and how you can implement them.  Continue your improvement by reading more.


Aligned Reporting and Analysis of Customer Feedback Data is as Frequent and Accurate as Financial Data

We implore all executives and middle managers to have a “4 Questions” (4Q) conversation with at least one end user each week.  Particularly in business-to-business situations, you may have to bypass your distribution channels and purchasing agents (with permission) and talk directly with those benefiting from your products and services.  The 4Q conversation refers to the four questions that we suggest leaders ask customers in person (not on a survey):

  1. How are you doing?
  2. What’s going on in your industry/neighborhood?
  3. What do you hear about our competitors?
  4. How are we doing?

The key is to get them to talk about their favorite subject: themselves! The first question will give you an understanding of their current situation.  What are their pain points? What are their priorities for the coming year?

The second question offers insight into industry trends in general.  What are the newest changes or technologies? Who is buying whom in the industry? And if you are talking with consumers, what are they and their neighbors thinking/feeling/talking about?

The third query is probably the most important because it can help you cut through your own biases.

Only after you’ve asked your customers these three questions should you ask about their reactions to your offerings if they haven’t shared already.  Remember, this call is about them, not you!


Core Values and Purpose Are “Alive” in the Organization

This habit will give you a baseline for current and future decisions including hiring, sharing praise, and giving constructive criticism.  I like to think of core values and purpose as being “alive” in an organization.

Having a purpose (a much better way to say “mission”) gives your company the critical “why” behind all that it does.  Your purpose needs to be more than just making money.


Employees Can Articulate the Key Components of the Company’s Strategy Accurately

Does everyone in your organization know your brand strategy including your three main brand promises? If everyone on your team can’t share your “elevator pitch” when asked, then you might need to work on your team’s alignment.


All Employees Can Answer Quantitatively Whether They Had a Good Day or Week

Every member of the team, from the senior leadership to staffers, needs to be able to objectively answer the question, “Did I have a great day or week?” But here’s the key: Each person must report on one or two KPIs weekly.

If they can’t, then it might mean that they are not clear on their priorities and their KPIs.  In order to move forward together, everyone must be aligned.  Think of your organization as if it were a machine.  In order for the machine to work flawlessly, all parts must work well and work together.

Some companies use a whiteboard that gets updated daily or weekly (and discussed at meetings), and some print charts from spreadsheets and post them on the wall.  Others have dashboard systems to automatically generate live data.  You will succeed only if every team member in your company looks at the information and makes adjustments or decisions based on their weekly KPIs.


The Company’s Plans and Performance are Visible to Everyone

Even if you’re seated in the nosebleed section of a stadium and can barely see the action on the field, you can always see the score.  And now that everything has gone mobile, the real-time digital scoreboards should be the standard by which we monitor our own company performance.

At a minimum, have your metrics, goals, and plans visible in a place where you host the various weekly meetings (i.e., establish a “situation room” for weekly meetings, whether they’re physical or virtual.  In the case of a virtual meeting, the “room” might be a particular conference line.).

At some point, when the company is bigger than 50 employees and expanding into multiple locations, keeping track of all the cascading priorities, metrics, and data can become an Excel spreadsheet nightmare.  And as a growing company must continue to upgrade its accounting, CRM, and operational systems, it is important to have a system in place for tracking and managing the cascading priorities and KPIs.

Having a single place to house all of this very important data makes your business run more efficiently, and your team as a whole will have much greater transparency and alignment to the big company objectives that you set.

The end goal is to keep the output from the growth tools top of mind, like the score of your favorite individual athlete or team.


While the habits are listed in no particular order and you can start with whichever you want, we give our clients one rule: they must start with Rockefeller Habit No. 1—the executive team is healthy and aligned.

It is nearly impossible to implement any of the other habits without checking off Habit No. 1 first.  Once that is realized and your team is ready to go (i.e., they can fight without killing each other), pick one or two habits each quarter and work on those.

Start with the habits that will have the most immediate benefits, and over the next 24–36 months, you will get through all 10 habits.  Outside of Rockefeller Habit No. 1, the order is up to you.

This isn’t a one-time thing but a process that will make your journey easier.  As the company scales up, you can continue to refresh the habits.

To download your copy of the Rockefeller Habits Checklist, visit today.

Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), with over 13,000 members worldwide, and chaired for 15 years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” held at MIT, a program in which he still teaches today.

Founder and CEO of Scaling Up, a global executive education and coaching company with over 200 partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scaleup.

Interested in learning more ways to enhance your company’s success? View IT Radix’s Momentum NJ magazine in its entirety here!