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Is That Really a Rock?

Written by Mike Paton on October 16, 2017

EOS Leadership Team EOS Accountability Rocks

Rocks are just priorities — the 3 to 7 most important things you must accomplish in the next ninety days. Company rocks are priorities for the company, departmental rocks are priorities for your department, and individual rocks are priorities for you or another individual. As simple as that sounds, it’s easy to overcomplicate rocks.


There is no magic formula for what constitutes a rock it’s simply a priority that will take longer than 7 days (those action items are To-Dos) and up to ninety days to complete.

Here are a few questions I get asked often in sessions, with corresponding answers.

  • Is that really a rock? It’ll get done either way. If it’s one of the 3 to 7 most important things for the company, department, team or yourself this quarter, it’s a rock. ”It’s gonna get done anyway” means you are going to devote time to it as a priority but don’t want to write it down and keep yourself on-track each week in front of your peers. That’s a mistake that often leads to teams and leaders overcommitting.

  • Is that really a rock? I mean, isn’t it (fill in a name) ’s job to sell $1.5 million worth of stuff this quarter? If getting it done this quarter is one of the 3 to 7 most important things for the company, team, department or you, it’s a rock. Now if quarter after quarter, you need to make someone’s job a rock because consistent success isn’t yet baked into your organizational DNA, you likely have a People, Process, or Vision Issue. But if it’s a priority and setting that priority as a rock will help ensure you get it done, it’s a rock.

  • That’s not a (company, departmental, team) rock — I’m going to do it myself. If it’s one of the 3 to 7 most important things for the company, department or team, it’s a company, department or team rock regardless of who participates. Some company rocks require the whole leadership team, while others are completed by an individual.

Remember, setting rocks is an activity that occurs every ninety days in your Quarterly Planning Sessions, and your rocks are due on the date of your next Quarterly Planning Session. Once you’ve set your rocks, help your team stay on track by following the Level 10 Meeting™ agenda in your weekly leadership team and departmental meetings.

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 This post originally appeared on the EOS Worldwide Blog on December 8, 2011.


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