Rockefeller Habits Scaling Up Your Business Execution

By Jessica Wishart

scaling up with rockefeller habits

dateTue, Jul 27, 2021 @ 11:04 AM

When companies are small, it’s not such a challenge to get things done. Maybe you have a meetingscaling up with rockefeller habits (where the whole company attends), you come up with an idea, and you go out there and do it. Everyone was there from the beginning, everyone understands the plan, and everyone does their part to get it done. That’s not to say there aren’t challenges with execution for small companies, but typically, if small companies do a good job hiring the right people, figuring out their strategy, and ensuring there is enough cash to run the business, then execution is something that can easily be managed. However, as your company grows and the people who come up with the ideas and plans are no longer the ones who are actually doing all the work, successfully executing the plan gets much more difficult.

As you scale up your business, you need to scale up your execution. For most companies, that means you need skills and systems in place to ensure the most important work gets done. Business growth guru Verne Harnish offers three questions in his book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits 2.0: Scaling Up to help you diagnose potential execution issues in your company.

Download the free One Page Strategic Plan Template or OPSP Template to help power your Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up.


Three Questions to Assess Execution Issues

  1. Is there excessive drama in the company?
  2. Is everyone working longer and harder, but that's in large part due to rework that’s not getting you anywhere?
  3. Is the company generating less than 3x industry average profitability?

If these questions ring true for you, it is time to upgrade your execution engine to help you continue to grow. Verne offers “10 fundamental habits that support the successful execution of your strategy” in his Rockefeller Habits Checklist (download here).

10 Essential Execution Habits with Helpful Resources

1. Align the Exec Team.

This one is all about getting healthy and on the same page as an executive team first. As they say, "The bottleneck is always at the top of the bottle." In order to get the entire team aligned, the executive team needs to be aligned. One of the greatest ways to do that is to develop a comprehensive One Page Strategic Plan - OPSP.


2. Each quarter, determine and focus on the #1 thing that must get done—and align the entire company around it.

Quarterly planning is key to successful execution. Many companies only plan annually. However, without a quarterly plan and theme, you miss the opportunity to be agile and respond to the changing environment and to achieve absolute focus on the most important thing to achieve in the next thirteen weeks.


3. Establish an effective meeting rhythm for communication and collaboration.

Meetings get a bad reputation as unproductive. However, without the right cadence of meetings, you won’t be able to effectively share timely information and solve problems as a team.

 team weekly meetings and accountability

4. Ensure all key functions, processes, results, and strategic initiatives have one clear, accountable owner.

Teams that lack accountability will inevitably struggle to achieve peak performance and execute plans successfully. Role and goal clarity are essential elements. It stands to reason that if no one owns it, it won’t get done.


5. Gather input from employees on an ongoing basis to uncover obstacles and opportunities.

As your company grows, your employees are closer to the customer. They have insights and information that can be invaluable as you make decisions on the direction of your company. If your employees know their feedback matters to company leaders, they will be more engaged in their work. Be intentional about collecting, sharing, and taking action on their feedback.  Scaling Up with Rockefeller Habits 2.0 is easier when you use a cloud based software system, like Rhythm, to keep your team aligned and engaged.

Download Free Rockefeller Habits Checklist

6. Report and analyze customer feedback on a weekly basis.

Without happy customers who are willing to refer you, you don’t have much. Seek out customer interactions, listen to the voice of your customer, and consider customer input when designing products and services and making strategic decisions.


7. Bring the company’s Core Values and Core Purpose to life.

It can be tempting to put a poster on the wall and call it a day, but Core Values and Purpose form the foundation of your company culture and should be evident in all aspects of your organization: hiring and firing decisions, on-boarding new team members, providing performance feedback, integrating an acquisition, and making decisions—big and small.


8. Employees understand key elements of the company’s strategyBHAG, Core Customer, and Brand Promise.

Your team needs to have a big picture vision of where your company is going, who you sell to, and what differentiates you in the marketplace. Being able to articulate your company’s strategy will help them make the right decisions without having to be micromanaged.

 clear priorities and kpis

9. Everyone is clear on their Rockefeller Rocks (Priorities) and KPIs and knows how they are doing each week.

Give the gift of clarity to each person in your company by asking them to report weekly on 1 or 2 KPIs that define success for their role and a handful of Priorities that are aligned to your Company’s quarterly plan. This way, they always know how they are doing and that they are working on the right things.


10. Plans and performance are visible and shared.

Verne recommends “scoreboards everywhere,” and we advocate for visible dashboards that are cascaded throughout the organization. Being able to see your goals and your progress enables you to pinpoint execution problems and make adjustments quickly, before it’s too late.


In addition to all the resources offered above, we’ve found that it takes more than new habits and skills to be successful as your company grows. While small companies might be able to pull off execution excellence with a spreadsheet and some emails, they will quickly outgrow these tools the larger and more complex they become. At Rhythm Systems, we have an ideal software solution for implementing each of the Rockefeller Habits and methodology. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

Download Free Rockefeller Habits Checklist

Looking for more help implementing the Rockefeller Habits? Check out our additional resources:

The Daily Huddle: A Key Component in Mastering the Rockefeller Habits

Comprehensive Guide to The Rockefeller Habits 2.0

4 Tips to Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and Your One-Page Strategic Plan

Build a Healthy Foundation by Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: 4 Key Decisions

Simple Do's and Don'ts for Implementing Rockefeller Habits

A Better Way to Implement Your One Page Strategic Plan 

7 Keys to Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and your One-Page Strategic Plan

Company Alignment: The CEO's Roadmap to Organizational Alignment

Mastering the Rockefeller Habits' One Page Strategic Plan (OPSP): "Where Do I Start?"

Jessica Wishart


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images