- What are the 10 Rockefeller Habits?
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April 10, 2023

John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) was an American industrialist and philanthropist who played a significant role in the development of the petroleum industry in the United States. He co-founded Standard Oil in 1870, which became the largest oil refining company in the world and dominated the industry for decades. Rockefeller was known for his keen business acumen, strategic thinking, and ruthless competitive practices, which helped him build a vast fortune and become one of the wealthiest individuals in history.

The term "Rockefeller Habits" refers to a set of practices and principles that are often attributed to Rockefeller's approach to business management and success. However, these habits are not directly tied to Rockefeller's personal habits but are inspired by his reputed management style and practices. The Rockefeller Habits were popularized by Verne Harnish in his book "Mastering the Rockefeller Habits," which offers a framework for organizational management, strategy, and growth. These habits are designed to help businesses achieve success by focusing on areas such as goal setting, effective communication, employee engagement, and continuous improvement.

The 10 Rockefeller Habits mentioned below are guidelines that companies can adopt to create a strong foundation for growth, increase efficiency, and foster a healthy organizational culture.

  1. The executive team is healthy and aligned:
    A healthy and aligned executive team fosters a strong foundation for a successful organization. This means that the team shares a common vision, works well together, communicates effectively, and collaborates to solve problems and achieve goals. Trust, transparency, and mutual respect among executives are essential to maintain alignment and to drive the company in the right direction.
  2. Everyone is aligned with the #1 thing that needs to be accomplished this quarter to move the company forward:
    Focusing on the most critical objective for the quarter ensures that everyone in the organization is working towards the same goal. This helps prevent wasted resources and streamlines the decision-making process. When all team members understand their roles and responsibilities, they can contribute effectively to the company's progress.
  3. Communication rhythm is established and information moves through the organization quickly:
    An effective communication rhythm allows information to flow seamlessly across different levels and departments of the organization. This enables employees to stay informed, make better decisions, and respond quickly to challenges or opportunities. A well-structured communication system fosters a culture of transparency and collaboration.
  4. Every facet of the organization has a person assigned with accountability for ensuring goals are met:
    Clear accountability is essential to ensure that each part of the organization is working towards its goals. By assigning responsibility to specific individuals, it is easier to track progress, identify bottlenecks, and hold people accountable for their performance. This promotes ownership and commitment to achieving the company's objectives.
  5. Ongoing employee input is collected to identify obstacles and opportunities:
    Soliciting regular feedback from employees allows organizations to identify and address any challenges, as well as to capitalize on opportunities. This inclusive approach encourages open communication and helps to create a culture of continuous improvement, fostering innovation and growth.
  6. Reporting and analysis of customer feedback data is as frequent and accurate as financial data:
    Frequent and accurate analysis of customer feedback data helps organizations understand customer needs, preferences, and pain points. This, in turn, allows companies to make informed decisions and prioritize initiatives that improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. Placing equal importance on customer feedback and financial data ensures a customer-centric approach to business operations.
  7. Core values and purpose are “alive” in the organization:
    When an organization's core values and purpose are deeply ingrained in its culture, employees are more likely to embody these principles in their day-to-day work. This fosters a strong sense of identity, promotes ethical behavior, and ultimately contributes to the company's long-term success.
  8. Employees can articulate the key components of the company’s strategy accurately:
    When employees understand and can articulate the company's strategy, they are better equipped to align their actions with the organization's strategic objectives. This enhances the overall effectiveness of the organization, as individuals work in unison to achieve common goals.
  9. All employees can answer quantitatively whether they had a good day or week:
    Establishing clear, measurable performance indicators allows employees to evaluate their daily and weekly performance objectively. This helps individuals identify areas of improvement, celebrate successes, and maintain a sense of progress and accomplishment.
  10. The company's plans and performance are visible to everyone:
    Transparency in a company's plans and performance fosters a culture of trust and open communication. When employees have access to relevant information, they feel more engaged, empowered, and committed to the organization's success. This visibility also enables employees to make informed decisions and contribute to the company's strategic objectives.

If you'd like to see where your business scores in relation to these 10 Rockefeller Habits, you can take my 4 min quiz. 

author avatar
George Morris
I use my 20+ years of entrepreneurial experience and training to coach businesses on scaling up rapidly using Verne Harnish's Scaling Up framework. By doing so, my clients are more efficient and profitable, giving them the ability to make bigger impacts in the world. I deeply believe entrepreneurs are the best equipped to be the vehicle for meaningful change, and in the decade ahead, we'll see a substantial shift in how business is done. We'll move to a model where company purpose, impact, curiosity, and team health will be differentiators in overall business success. As Simon Sinek has pointed out, the finite games are the legacy of the past; we're moving to an infinite game.