If you follow Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) practices like we do, you’ve probably found that — despite your hard work — the execution of your Rocks doesn’t always go smoothly. Deadlines can slip, and the actual results of the work don’t always align with everyone’s expectations.
At Atomic, we’ve found that these challenges have almost always been caused by either A) a poor execution plan, or B) no plan at all.
An EOS best practice is to make sure you define a Rock in a S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) way. In practice, I’ve found this isn’t enough to set the stage for team alignment and successful execution.
If Rocks are important to the organization, they deserve a clear and documented plan. That’s why we’ve created the concept of an EOS Rock Charter to help with this challenge. An EOS Rock Charter is a simple plan that defines the why, what, and who of a Rock.
EOS Rock Charter Outline
A Rock Charter is created by the Rock owner and then shared with the team for feedback and refinement before any work is done on the Rock. They should be no longer than a couple of pages.
Here’s an outline of what we include.
Current Opportunity or Need
This section should concisely define the opportunity or need that the organization is looking to address. This is commonly the most important section of the Rock Charter because it drives alignment around “why” the organization is investing in this particular Rock.
Rocks are commonly assigned during 90-day meetings. Coming out of a 90-day meeting, it’s easy for different team members to have different expectations for the assigned Rocks. Having strong team alignment around the “why” is vital.
What Does Success Look Like?
This section is a set of bullet points that outline how the organization will be in a better position after this Rock has been implemented. Strive to outline quantifiable success metrics. For example, if the Rock is about increasing sales, set a quantifiable goal and a date by which you will achieve it.
When outlining this section, I like to imagine the state of the company that I hope to see after we’ve successfully implemented this Rock. I imagine how things will be easier, better, or more well defined. This thought process helps me articulate the proof points of my desired future state. These proof points are my success bullets.
Risks and Challenges
This section is simply a bulleted list of risks and challenges that the Rock owner anticipates. Below each bullet in a sub-bullet, list an idea or two for mitigation and/or contingency planning to better anticipate these challenges. Sharing this list with the team helps drive both clarification and support.
Note: If a Rock doesn’t have risks or challenges, it most likely should just be a todo.
Key Input Needed
Rocks are owned by a single person, but many people provide input and assistance along the way. We’ve found it extremely important to define what input you need from others and to set the expectations around the authority that goes with that input. We’ve been using the RACI matrix to help make that explicit.
Rocks tend to have multiple tasks. Those tasks can be easily laid out in a simple table.
|Task 3||Jill and Tom||Jill||Brittany||Company|
Defining this matrix before the work starts gives team members the opportunity to either accept or challenge the Rock owners’ choices.
90-day Work Plan
The final section is a high-level work plan for when the work will be accomplished. This section is commonly a list of tasks with due dates. This work schedule helps the Rock owner report during their weekly L10 meeting on whether the Rock is on or off track.
EOS Rock Charter Template
Here’s our EOS Rock Charter Template in Google Document format. Feel free to make a copy for your Rocks.
We’ve experienced that EOS Rock Charters have led to better Rock alignment and greater completion success on our team. I’d strongly encourage other organizations to give this lightweight planning tool a try.
Happy Rock planning :).