Published: June 22, 2021
Summary: Making your Rocks SMART can be the determining factor between completing the Rock and not completing the Rock. Ensuring that your team deconstructs their Rocks and then clearly defines a goal for what a successful Rock looks like will set them up for success.
Identifying the Rocks that march your company towards achieving its long-term goals is half the battle; completing it is Almost Easy™ now that the task is identified. There is an essential step in identifying the Rock and getting to work on it - what we here at Ninety.io call “SMARTening up” our Rocks.
It’s worth noting that the Entrepreneurial Operating System® recommends that Rock owners should take this step before or during the Rock-setting period of each Quarterly. For those who might need additional help with this process, let’s talk about some additional ways to make Rocks SMART.
The theory behind “SMART” goals stretches back to the 1980s and has since become nearly ubiquitous, so we’ll assume you have a working knowledge of its tenets for this post. If you need some background, the University of Massachusetts has an excellent, in-depth guide.
You also can read more about their use in this article by Gino Wickman, author of the book Traction, here.
For now, we’re going to dive into what the process looks like within Ninety. This topic will be a multi-week series. In this week’s post, we’ll explore how to make the SMART process happen and lay out the path.
First Step: Remind everyone to follow the steps
Assuming your organization uses EOS® or a similar planning process, your team should generate most of your Rocks during quarterly and annual meetings. Internally here at Ninety, each Rock recipient receives a “Smarten Your Rock” task, created as a to-do, immediately after the meeting. This to-do is typically batch-assigned by whoever ran that quarterly.
This smart to-do serves as a reminder to complete these steps while the conversation surrounding the Rock’s development is still fresh in their minds. The sooner, the better - but the to-do timeframe of a week is generally acceptable. As long as you can capture the context from the meeting that leads to the Rock, you should be good to go.
This to-do should be easy to get out the door – it can be created and then assigned to each team member, all at once.
Second Step: Define the goal
With that reminder in place, the actual process of SMARTening the Rock can take place. The first step is to make sure the goal of the Rock is so clear that anyone could recognize its purpose. Going through this process should knock out the “specific” and “relevant” steps of SMART because spelling out the details will paint a picture of what the end-game looks like and if it’s truly going to impact your overall goals.
Ideally, you left the big meeting with this level of understanding, but this is an excellent time to schedule any follow-ups to make sure everyone is on the same page. When you’ve achieved a clear understanding for yourself, use Ninety to spell it out in language anyone can understand within the body of your Rock.
Ideally, within the software, you will spell out the goal at the top of your Rock with any supporting details outlined below. This way, when the team is reviewing Rock’s status in subsequent meetings, everyone can quickly get on the same page and make recommendations about making progress.
In our next product blog post, we’ll cover the next two steps. These will revolve around using Ninety to help define exactly how you’ll know when to check off your Rock as complete and the steps you’ll take to get there.
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