Published: June 30, 2021
Summary: The series continues on making your Rocks SMART. While completing the objective is obviously the goal of any Rock, it’s also important to clearly define what success looks like, how it is measured, and how you plan to get there.
Last week we introduced the concept of using Ninety.io to “SMARTen up” your Rocks – a process that builds on the information gathered in the Quarterly meeting to create an achievable goal. As we shared, the first step is to remind everyone to follow the steps. Step two is to define the goal of the Rock. (To catch up on the steps, visit SMARTen Up Rocks, part 1.)
Note that the “official” approach to the Entrepreneurial Operating System® suggests that Rock owners should make their Rocks SMART before or during the Rock-setting period of each Quarterly, some might need additional help with this process. With that, let’s continue our discussion and get into even more ways to make Rocks SMART.
Let’s dive into spelling out what success looks like and the path to get there.
Third Step: Define Winning
What sets Rocks apart from To-Do’s is the process of building up to an overarching goal instead of simply completing a task. To that end, you’ll need to understand when you’ve crossed the finish line and achieved that goal.
No matter the goal, you and your team should identify the data that shows progress towards ultimately achieving it. This data might already be part of your goal definition, or it might require some creative thinking.
Important tip: Try to avoid getting focused on one data point – think if there’s a percentage or another angle of attack to create at least three metrics so that you can triangulate the exact position of success.
Once you’ve identified the data that correlates with your Rock, use it to create Measurables for yourself or the team. If it’s for the team, consider placing the Measurable on the Scorecard so the team can review it each week.
Creating a Measurable brings many advantages: Dropping the data into Ninety each week creates transparency (one of the “9 Tips to Successfully Work From Anywhere”). It also keeps stakeholders and potential sources of help aware of progress and areas that may need to be addressed. The Measurable will likely outlive your Rock, becoming a barometer of success as the company grows.
Fourth Step: Define the Steps
Rocks are big goals, so just how you’d... a) eat an elephant, b) begin a journey, c) enter favorite cliche here________... the best move is to break down the Rock into more manageable steps; these are called Milestones.
Here at Ninety, we like breaking the Rock into 13 weekly goals as part of our “SMARTening” process. It paints a better picture of attainability. It also allows for folks to quickly realize if 13 weeks isn’t going to be enough time to complete the Rock, which is the trigger for the overall scope to be re-evaluated.
Another reason we create Milestones as weekly steps is because they act as good indicators of the Rock’s status, making it easy to report back to the team on how well the Rock is progressing. Reviewing Milestones during your weekly meetings removes ambiguity, and makes it clear whether it’s“on-track” or “off-track” SMARTening up your Rocks shouldn’t take long at all but can be a powerful way to think out your strategy. The tools within Ninety make it Almost Easy™ to complete these steps, giving you the power to do things like batch assign To-Do’s and easily plot out Milestones.
Next step is to apply these steps after your next Quarterly and see for yourself the value of the SMARTening process. Let us know how it goes – we’re here to help if you need it!
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