How to Develop a Strong Plan for the Quarter Using Rockefeller Habits

By Patrick Thean

Q1 is over.  I like to think of every quarter as a 13 week race.  The only way to have a great year is to have 4 great quarters, one at a time.  The only way to have a great quarter is to have a great week 13 times.  So let's take stock.  How was Q1 for you? Here are some questions to help you assess your quarter and plan an even stronger quarter:

  • Did we achieve our goals for the quarter that just ended?
  • Are we on track to achieve our goals for the year?
  • What adjustments can we make to ensure the next quarter is even better?  
  • Did we have any bright spots that worked well that we can scale across the company?
  • Do we have to face some brutal facts and adjust for priorities that might have fallen behind?  Red or yellow priorities?

Companies that Master the 3 Rockefeller Habits tend to have good, strong quarters.  Verne Harnish wrote about these habits in his book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits.  

Habit 1:  Priorities - We all have priorities.  But do we have the right ones?  Are our priorities aligned with the rest of our team?  Do our priorities help us as a company to improve an aspect of our company? Do we have a Main Thing to focus our energy as a team?  There is so much power when your team is focused to move a major big rock forward together.   

Bottom line:  When you plan for the next quarter, figure out what single major rock would do the most to help you achieve your plan for the year.  Then, have each team member discuss and come out with no more than three priorities to push on that rock together as a team.  

Habit 2:  Data -  Do you have one or two key performance indicators that will help you to drive results?  Even better, can you come up with one KPI (Key performance indicator) to drive execution and teamwork to move the single major rock that the team is focused on for the quarter?  Start with the result you want.  Then ask what it takes to achieve the result.  Ask this same question a few times, peel the onion back, and you will discover that there is a leading indicator that you can push on.  A Leading Indicator is a KPI that drives you towards achieving the result. It has to be something you can influence, and push on.  

Bottom line:  Implement the data habit with a Leading Indicator that helps you to predict and then drive the results that you want for the quarter.  

Habit 3:  Rhythm - Results come from consistent execution with a good cadance or rhythm. Remember that a quarter only has 13 weeks.  If you've set your priorities in the first week, that means you only have 12 weeks to execute, observe, and make any adjustments you need to succeed.  You need a Rhythm of Weekly Meetings to review progress.  Review how the team is doing, and then ask if we need to make any adjustments to have a great quarter.  Remember to look for 2 types of adjustments.  

 (1) Bright spots that are working well.  Scale these across the company.  This adjustment will help accelerate your progress towards results.  

 (2) Priorities that are Red or Yellow.  These are not going too well.  Why wait till week 8 or 9 to solve the problem and get unstuck when you can discuss solutions in week 3 or 4?  These are the adjustments to get you back on course.  Have corrective action plans and get back on track. 

Bottom line:  Use a weekly rhythm and be watchful.  Look for the adjustments that your team can make to either accelerate or get back on track to have a great quarter.   Get back to basics as you plan your next quarter.  Plan with these 3 habits in mind.  Better yet, take it to the next level with visual dashboards and red-yellow-green success criteria for your priorities and KPIs.  

 Master these Rockefeller Habits and execute without drama using dashboards.    

 Download my book for free to help you execute with less drama.


One page strategic plan





Patrick Thean


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images