Ninety's Rocks tool shows all team Rocks, their owners, and associated milestones.

Quick Tips for Setting Quarterly Rocks [3 Questions to Ask Yourself]

You've set your 10-year goals in your Vision planner. You've laid out where the company needs to be every three years to achieve them. Those three-year targets have allowed you to stake out the required annual goals. The progression is now obvious — those annual goals get broken down even further into what needs to get done each quarter, aka your Rocks.

Each step down is all about taking a long-term strategy and using it to create bite-sized, actionable business plans. If there's an area where even the largest corporations fail, it's setting out a business plan focused on achieving the company's long-term goals.

Ninety makes it easier to create an actionable plan that ensures the direction is correct and creates systems of accountability so that every person involved in the business understands their role in achieving that plan. After all, a great plan is worthless if no one knows what parts they're responsible for.

Once you've identified your team's Rocks for the quarter, ask yourselves these three questions:

1. Who's responsible for this Rock?

When creating a Rock, assigning it to the correct person is nearly as important as the Rock itself. The Rock can meet every part of the SMART framework and drive toward the business's annual goal, but if the wrong person owns it (or, even worse, no one owns it), then the Rock won't be completed. Ninety allows the creator of the Rock to easily assign it to the correct Seat, side-stepping that initial hurdle.

Here's an important piece of perspective: Just because you're the Rock's owner doesn't mean you are responsible for doing every part of the work associated with that Rock. You're simply responsible for making sure that the work is completed. Rocks can (and should be) broken down into even more manageable steps called Milestones that can be assigned to other team members, which brings us to the next step.

2. What are the Milestones of this Rock?

Milestones allow even more granularity for Rocks — the different tasks that need to be completed to check off the Rock. There are a variety of strategies that can be used when creating Milestones, but here at Ninety, we like to break our Rocks into 13 weekly goals (13 because it's the easiest way to divide up the 90 days of a Rock).

Because of their weekly nature, Milestones will appear as To-Dos in Ninety, which you can assign to anyone in the company. This is important because a Rock might be set for Marketing, but they'll likely need information from Sales and Accounting to get it done. Clear and visible accountability for all.

This raises the next important step: How do you stay on top of all the Milestones if they're spread out among different people?

3. Are we getting our Rocks done each quarter?

Even when the first two steps are nailed, it's important to pay attention to the progress that's being made. This is the true role of the Rock owner: to act as if they're an air-traffic controller who guides the Rock in for a smooth landing.

The importance of staying up to date on the status of Rocks cannot be overstated. This is why Rocks and To-Dos have such prominent placement in your weekly team meetings. That weekly reminder of their existence with a progress update from each owner further drives accountability and is an aspect of the meeting that should not be glossed over.

Rocks are all about accountability. By clearly defining who is responsible for the Rock and the steps necessary to reach completion and reviewing weekly progress, your team can smash quarterly goals. From there, annual goals are checked off, which means that your long-term strategy is on the road to being realized.

Reviewing these steps means you're one step closer to your long-term goals. Once you put action into establishing Rock ownership, accountability, and execution, your company will be in good shape moving forward.

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