Post #7 in a multi-part series from the excellent book Traction by Gino Wickman

The Traction Component


If you can accept the fact that you are going to make people a little uncomfortable, for a short time, the solution is actually straight-forward.

This are 2 world moving stops that require total commitment from the leadership team.  However, if you can withstand the discomfort for a couple of months they will actually appreciate the improved traction, accountability and solid results.   Especially if you tie their compensation (bonus) and/or employment review to the rocks.   Quickly, the discomfort isn’t that bad.  Or maybe you discover some people are in the wrong seat.

  • Everyone must set specific measurable priorities.   (Rocks)
  • You must meet better as an organization   (Meeting Pulse)

A combination of the Rocks and the Issues Solving Track are the recipe for making meeting more productive and less sucky.

Rocks are your big goals.  Your big issues.  The things you must get done to achieve your annual target.

Since science and experience has shown that people lose focus on specific goals about every 90 days, you have to set new rocks each quarter.   First you set the target for the year.  Then you break that target into 4 quarterly segments.   The Rocks are the biggest components for this quarter to compound into a great year.

Each quarter, everyone need Rocks!!!!!!   Set 3-7 (probably closer to 3) most important priorities over the next 90 days.   These are designed to keep everyone focused and allow us to work toward 1 year goals, in measurable chunks.

Having specific goals removes the need to assess intention.

Once per quarter, you sequester your leadership team.  Everyone meets for a full day, every 90 days.   In this meeting you will review vision and set rocks for next 90 days.  Write everything on a white board for next 90 days.   Discuss the most important 20-30 things.   Then talk about keep it, combine it,  or kill it.  Until you have 3-7.

Define each rock so it’s specific, dated, measurable and attainable.   Not open ended.   Clear.  No “work on…”

Create the Rock Sheet

On the sheet, assign who owns each rock.  Can only be 1 person.  Not multiple.  Put organization rocks at the top.  Below are the management teams individual rocks.

Integrate rocks into our weekly “Level 10” meetings.    Once priorities are set, you can’t add new because everyone has agreed.

In the weekly meetings, once per quarter (max 45 minutes) have a meeting where you go over the state of the company, go over successes, unveil the VTO, go over the rocks for coming quarter.  Sometimes people have to hear something 7 times to hear it the first time.

Then, each manager will meet with their team to set their rocks for the quarter.  Same process.   Each employee has their rocks (1-3) per quarter.  Should achieve 80% or better of rocks as done, to be great.

When you roll out your rocks, make sure you are completely committed to them.  Otherwise, commitment will fizzle.    No more than 3 rocks for people outside of leadership team.