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 on four dimensions 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
  3. The Scaling Up tools and templates – free resources which complement the book
  4. The Gazelles Coaching network – a network of consultants available as “coaching partners” for a leadership team embarking on a “Scaling Up” journey.

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.

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!

How Zinzino is changing my life

In January this year, I "signed up" with Zinzino, a health business.

Zinzino's brand promise is to "Inspire Change in life" and I can state that Zinzino is changing my life. I feel fantastic!

Zinzino produces and sells high-quality health products. Their main product is Balance Oil, a blend of fish oil, olive oil and other additives designed to balance the ratio of Omega6:Omega3 in your body. The product is unique, not only in the blend of ingredients but also because it is supported by a Balance Test, a blood test that measures the quality of fats in your body before and after a 4-6 month treatment with balance oil.

Zinzino has now taken over 250,000 tests and I believe this is the largest test base of omega oil testing.

I started to take this oil in January and took my first test, and then the follow-up test in June. My Omega oil balance improved from over 20:1 (really bad) to 3.6:1 (really good) - and I can really feel the change in my mood, my energy levels and my health in general.

I also lost 15 kg weight, and have been able to wean myself off all the medication I had been taking for the typical disorders of a 65 year old man (hypertension, enlarged prostate etc).

Now I'm not saying that Balance Oil on its own did all this for me, but it an integral part of a process and it clearly works for me.

I also changed my diet a little. Having read the book "Wheat Belly" by William Davis MD, I stopped eating wheat products. This was easy for me as my wife is gluten intolerant so I just followed her lead. I know that wheat products have a high glycemic index so this change in diet probably contributed to my weight loss too. I also switched from my normal "no breakfast" to a breakfast of either a Granny Smith apple or "Zinzino Lean Shake" with Oat milk which improves the biotics in my gut, also making it easier to lose weight.

Finally, as my weight started to fall away, I was able to increase my cardiovascular exercise levels to around 30 minutes brisk walking or cycling at least 5 times/week.

Spurred on from my experiences with the product, I have become a sales partner for Zinzino products. Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend their annual "leaders School" event in Oslo. I have to say that the quality of the presentations was extremely high - and everyone there is just so nice. Smart, focussed people with a passion for health, a passion for self-development and a passion for growth. I still have fond memories of that pioneering culture in Nokia in the 1990s, and the similar feeling in Cargotec, especially Hiab, over the last 2 years, but I have never felt so "at home" in a business context as I do now in Zinzino.

In summary, I have nothing but praise for Zinzino. I see this as one cornerstone of my future business in Amberbuzz.

If you would like to read a little more:

Both books from Dr. Paul Clayton, a specialist in nutrition and health and currently a Fellow of the Institute of Food, Brain and Behaviour (Oxford)

If you would like to know more about Zinzino and our products, please contact me.

Reinventing Amberbuzz

I started Amberbuzz in 2009 with the mission - to bridge the gap between Digital Agencies and Businesses.

A lot has changed since then - the Digital Marketing business has matured and digitalisation has expanded to be almost everywhere.

I’ve changed too. Having spent the last few years in permanent employment, firstly with Vacon and then Danfoss, and more recently, for the last 18 months with Cargotec - I have a much more holistic view of how the world is developing and what my role could be.

So now I’m fully focused on delivering Amberbuzz services and creating this new Amberbuzz web site has been really useful as it has forced me to focus on what I’m trying to do:

It’s also forced me to think about what I want to do. Why does Amberbuzz exist?

I now realize that for pretty much all my working life I’ve been motivated by security - doing what I need to do to make sure I have an income to live on.

But now I have time to think beyond financial security: What’s really important to me? How can I make a difference?

  • I am a facilitator. My success has been built on helping others lead, creating structures and teams to deploy organizational change, usually driven by technology.
  • I’m also a life coach. It seems I have a natural ability to help people find their own “why’s”.

So, why does Amberbuzz exist?

To enable me to do what I do best - coaching and facilitating, to do my bit to make the world a better place.