Routine sets you free

Original source of the Rockefeller habits
John D. Rockefeller

This is the second in a series of blog articles profiling the Rockefeller habits and “Scaling Up, both by Verne Harnish.

The Rockefeller Habits is a checklist of the 10 core habits or “routines” that John D. Rockefeller put into practice across his business – the routines that allowed him to build the business empire that is his legacy.

These routines have also served many of the most successful people in the 100 years since Rockefeller. This list was compiled in the ’90s by Verne Harnish and became the title for his first book, “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits“, the predecessor to his more recent book “Scaling Up“.

As your business grows you may already start to notice the pains of growth. How do you manage the chaos as you add new people, new partners, new services, new processes to your business?

The key is in routines – establishing habits across the organisation that complement your strategy and make strategy execution a lot easier for you. As Verne says ““Goals without routines are wishes; routines without goals are aimless.”

So what are these routines, these habits?

In summary:

  1. Your executive team is healthy and aligned
  2. Everyone is aligned with the #1 thing that needs to be accomplished this quarter to move your company forward
  3. Communication rhythm is established and information moves through the organization quickly
  4. Every facet of the organization has a person assigned with accountability for ensuring goals are met
  5. Ongoing employee input is collected to identify obstacles and opportunities
  6. Reporting and analysis of customer feedback data is as frequent and accurate as financial data
  7. Core values and purpose are “alive” in the organization
  8. Employees can articulate the key components of the company’s strategy accurately
  9. All employees can answer quantitatively whether they had a good day or week
  10. The company’s plans and performance are visible to everyone

“No rocket science here” – I hear you say. Yes, these are all obvious business disciplines that make good common sense – but does your business practice them?

Each of these Rockefeller habits is broken into 4 subtopics to make it easier to identify the opportunity for growth and the opportunity to remove waste from your business. For example:

But take the test – download the attached “Rockefeller checklist PDF” and be honest with yourself. Better yet, invite your management team colleagues to take the test with you.

Oh, and as I mentioned in the previous post – if you are interested in working with me on this journey of learning and implementation, please contact me.

Implementing the Rockefeller Habits

Does growing your business feel like you have a “tiger by the tail”?

I have recently returned from a few weeks in Sydney where a good friend introduced me to Scaling Up  and The Rockefeller Habits (Rockefeller habits checklist), by Verne Harnish.

Verne Harnish has created an impressive ecosystem of tools, templates, processes and services to support rapidly growing businesses, with a clear focus on common sense. The core of this ecosystem comprises four “Scaling Up “pillars”:

  • leading the people that are engaged in the business – including not only customers but all stakeholders: employees, vendors, investors;
  • setting a clear strategy for the business – one that is frequently reviewed and renewed but steering the business towards a “big, hairy, auditious goal”;
  • ability to execute against that strategy – with a focus on prioritisation, frequent measurement (daily) and rhythm (also daily);
  • a focus on cash – to ensure the growth of the business continues to have the cash required to feed the growth.

The Scaling Up tools and templates are not rocket science, and are very similar to tools and templates we have probably all seen and used in the past. The difference here is the approach – simple and pragmatic, eliminating the “fluff”, focussing on the core elements needed for a business to grow without being “eaten by the tiger”, and supported by guidance from the Scaling Up book or through “the Gazelles” coaching network.

In the following posts I will focus some of the elements of this Scaling Up ecosystem:

  1. The Rockefeller Habits – the main attributes of execution that every business needs in order to manage and flourish in a growth environment
  2. The Scaling Up book – which serves as a “user manual” for the operating model of your business

Meanwhile, I would recommend you test your business with the Rockefeller Habits checklist. I also recommend, especially, reading the book, which is available from Amazon but also free as part of a Scribd subscription.

Oh, and of course if you are interested in working with me on this journey of learning and implementation, please contact me.