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Mastering the Rockefeller Habits

by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

As a management consultant, trusted advisor and coach to those I am privileged to serve, I help guide my Clients in designing their path to a better future.

As an outsider specializing in helping companies build their People, Teams, Leaders, and Moats (sustainable competitive advantage), it seems obvious to me what an organization must do. An organization must hard-code into its very DNA—its culture—the mindset to continuously improve, to question everything, allow no sacred cows, be radically candid in pursuing perfection, and consciously choose their hard consciously.

Why it’s important to master the Rockefeller Habits

Ensuring you have the right people doing the right things right is hard. Suffering the consequences of poor hiring outcomes and the associated productivity and morale hits is hard. Choose your hard.

Building a winning executive team where team members understand one another’s differences, priorities, and styles is hard. Lost productivity due to the friction of team members failing to understand and respect one another is hard. Choose your hard.

Ensuring every team member is aligned with the #1 thing that needs to be accomplished this quarter to move the company forward is hard. Having team members leak productivity because they are unclear about what is most important right now is hard. Choose your hard.

Frequently capturing, analyzing, and reporting Customer feedback is hard. Finding new Customers to replace lost Customers is hard. Choose your hard.

Identifying ways to improve continuously and to create and drive value is hard. Going out of business is hard. Choose your hard.

This is hard work, and as with everything in life, there are tradeoffs. Choose your hard.

The current United States economy is arguably currently in or about to enter a recession. Unfortunately, few of us have the appropriate appreciation for economic history—particularly economic history involving the Fed fighting inflation. The bad news is many of us will be forced to stare into the abyss of uncertainty and forced change because we were unwilling to do what it took to better position ourselves.

Two facts you must remember.

  • People are beautiful, complex, comfort-seeking creatures. And— 
  • Organizations, particularly businesses, have a need to evolve and thrive—not just survive. A competitor is in a garage somewhere developing a better widget.

There is good news… The Scaling Up methodology stands on the shoulders of past and present giants like Rockefeller, Drucker, and Collins. In short, Scaling Up works for those willing to put in the hard work, willing to follow the process, and willing to make the difficult choices that must be made. The Scaling Up Methodology is proven to work.

Right now is the perfect time to begin a new habit of continuously sharpening your axe.

"Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."
-Abraham Lincoln

How to master the Rockefeller Habits

If you are unfamiliar with the Rockefeller Habits, I suggest you read them carefully and ask yourself, “Where can we improve?” 

What do you believe to be your greatest growth opportunity?

What do you believe to be the lever that will unleash improved productivity and friction reduction?

If you have not focused on the first Rockefeller Habit - The executive team is healthy and aligned, I suggest you do so. Your executive team is healthy and aligned, or it isn’t. There is no middle ground here. And this is the first Rockefeller Habit for a reason. Nothing else matters unless your executive team is healthy and aligned. All problems start at the head. What you focus on at the top—the unnecessary frictions and lost time at the top will absolutely manifest throughout your entire organization. 

Begin with getting your executive team healthy and aligned. I recommend a two-day offsite Five Dysfunctions of a Team Workshop / Retreat for your executive team. The diagnostics and process work. And do not stop here. After the initial two-day workshop, you must meet quarterly for a half to a full day to continuously improve and keep your Executive team healthy and aligned. 

Get your purpose and values laid out. Ensure everyone within your organization is aligned around the one thing that matters. 

And then identify the next best use of your executive team’s time and energy. Identify the low-hanging fruit from the Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up Methodology. Realize there will be many instances of one step forward with two or three steps back. The Scaling Up Methodology will not be for everyone. Good people will come and go. 

Get your executive team on a power reading list. Read Scaling Up by Verne Harnish and Principles by Ray Dalio

Set your sights on the initial Scaling Up journey taking 24-36 months.

3 quick tips to jumpstart your efforts

  1. Read Scaling Up and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. 
  2. Schedule and hold The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Workshop over two days and discuss the hard things that need discussing. Lay out a high-level game plan. 
  3. Complete the Scaling Up Survey to identify your company’s strengths and growth opportunities. 

Read Scaling up and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. This is where you begin. And it is not enough for you to read these powerful books. Every single team member on your executive team must read it as well. 

Schedule and hold The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Workshop. We are experienced, outside, and well-versed in the Scaling Up Methodology. Expect two full days to build vulnerability-based trust and discuss the hard things that need to be discussed. 

Begin the Scaling Up Journey by completing the Scaling Up Assessment to identify your company’s growth opportunities. 

The way out is through. Do not wait for a crisis to force you and your company to make the hard choices. Choose your hard by implementing the Scaling Up Methodology today. 

Let’s schedule a time to dialogue.