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.

What is my “why”?

Last week I had an interesting meeting with the CEO of D11 Helsinki, Heikki Leskinen. We discussed several topics including the Millennial Board, and as part of that discussion Heikki asked me “what is my why?”.

An obvious question, one that I had tried to address in my first blog post. But being on the spot, being asked that question, and being the slow thinker that I am, I stumbled with my answer - and realised that I haven’t really defined my “why" well enough.

Why do I want to coach and mentor? Why do I want to help people improve their health and balance their lives? Why do I want to engage in change assignments and projects?
This called for some introversion and reflection. What excites me?

  • Grateful and positive feedback for a job well done? Yes!
  • Seeing people I like and love excel in their goals? Yes!
  • Being able to bring cohesion to teams and help get things organised? Yes!!
  • Innovation - engaging in the ways technology is changing the world and solving big and small problems? Yes!!!
  • Fixing things - applying tools and technology to solve problems? Yes, that too!

I remember when I was a kid - my bedroom was a "rats nest" of cables, connecting old bits of HiFi and TVs to try to make music sound good. What I loved was being able to address the challenge of making things work.

And when I was older I got involved with computers in 1971, and in 1975 had my first opportunity to be a programmer - and got a real buzz there from making things work with code, and that lasted for about 5 years until I was “promoted” to become a project manager and consultant, making things work between people and teams… and I suppose that sums up the rest of my career - making things work between people.

The Millennial Board creates some interesting opportunities, it serves to connect executives with young professionals to bring new insights and awareness. In their own words, it is "a global community of insightful young professionals. We help executives ask better questions and build a brighter future for their companies - and for all of us.”.

Simon Sinek

So, my “why”? Revised version: Making things work for people and between people!