Confused About Rocks & Sand? - Michael Synk - #GetInSynk

When I start working with new clients, especially those do-it-yourselfers who are already using a “strategy system” like Gazelles’ One Page Strategic Plan or Traction/EOS, there is often what I call Rock & Sand confusion.

Here’s what I observe: they are diligently working hard on moving about 27 rocks at the same time and getting incremental growth as they are moving them. As a Gazelles/Rockefeller Habits Adviser, I’m all in favor of each person on the management or leadership team having a Rock that applies to their specific areas of responsibility. However, I’m certainly not in favor of an organization  having more than two company-wide Rocks at a time. Really, I prefer only one at a time.

Less is more. So, let’s clear this up.

Rocks are major initiatives or projects that move the company forward substantially in the next 90 days. It’s usually cross functional or cross departmental. This means it has a bit of complexity and requires focus by more than one or two people to move it. The following criteria should be applied, “Failure to move the Rock is not an option.

Just last week, I was doing some “naked coaching” with a prospect. I challenged him about his 15 Rocks he was trying to move. While discussing, it was apparent that there was one Rock that if successfully moved in the next 60 days, it would unlock the door to solutions to so many other challenges. The question became, “Why isn’t everyone focused on moving this Rock”?

Stopping him in his tracks is not what I anticipated, but it’s what happened. He had an epiphany about Rocks. Over the next day and a half, he reworked the focus of his entire team. He and four others would drop everything else and work exclusively on this Rock. This would continue until they achieved the successful outcome. The rest of the team would “hold down the fort” on everything else. This meant that they would focus on the Sand. They would keep everything else going until the Rock was moved.

No other duties for those focusing on the Rock. Everyone else was handling the Sand.

Have you a better understanding of Rock and Sand now?