SMART Rocks: The Complete Guide for 2022

Let’s dive into everything you need to know about SMART Rocks in EOS®: What they are, the benefits you’ll see from using them, and the dos and don’t when creating them.

Let’s dive into everything you need to know about SMART Rocks in EOS®: What they are, the benefits you’ll see from using them, and the dos and don’t when creating them.


Did you know that you’re 33% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down, share them, and provide regular updates on them?


Yet, according to a Harvard Business Study, only 3% of people write out their goals.


And that 3%? They’re the people who go on to earn as much as 10X the income the remaining 97% do.


So if generating more revenue is even a tiny part of your business plan, you better get to work identifying, documenting, and scaling goal-setting processes across your organization.


And if your business runs on the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, there’s no better way to ace that task than by setting SMART Rocks.


Let’s dive into everything you need to know about Rocks: what they are, the benefits you’ll see from using them, and the dos and don’ts when creating them.


With the right goals and approach, you’ll be more than ready to ‘rock’ it. 😜

What we’ll cover:

  • Rocks 101: What are Rocks in EOS?
  • Five reasons why Rocks rock 🤘🏾
  • How do you create a SMART rock?
  • The do’s and don’ts of setting SMART Rocks

Ready to make it easy for your team to stay on the game with Rocks? Book your free Whale demo today!

Rocks 101: What are Rocks in EOS?

In EOS, Rocks are similar to quarterly goals. Setting Rocks is a business leaders’ process to decide which tasks to prioritize in 90 days.


But if you’re here, you know there’s a lot more to it than that.


The EOS Model® is made up of Six Key Components™, and Rocks are there to help with the all-important Traction Component™.


For anyone who hasn’t read the game-changing book by Gino Wickman, Traction® essentially means taking your vision and making it a reality by focusing on accountability and discipline. And Rocks are one of the excellent tools available through EOS to make sure you nail it.


To explain Rocks, it’s easier to work backward through the Vision/Traction Organizer™ using some quick examples:


  • First, decide where you want the organization to be in three years.
    1. For example, to be open in 3 locations.
  • Take that three-year plan and decide what is achievable in year one.
    • For example, generate $1,900,000 revenue and open 1 location.
  • Decide on approximately three to seven goals to ensure the company achieves the one-year plan.
  • Prioritize what can happen in the next 90 days to complete those goals.
    • For example, interview 50 candidates, audit the onboarding process, document the first 30 days’ SOPs.


That final step determines your Rocks — the three to seven most important things to achieve in the next 90 days that are fundamental to the 90-Day World® EOS Process®.

Why are they called Rocks in EOS?

If you’re new to the world of EOS, you might be wondering, ‘Why the heck are 90-day objectives called ‘Rocks’?’ Basically, it comes back to the idea of making time for what matters in your business. In this EOS article by Dean Breyley, he explains how the term ‘Rock’ was inspired by an analogy used in the book First Things First by Stephen Covey. In the book, Covey conjures a vision of the workday composed of sand (interruptions), gravel (day-to-day responsibilities), rocks (main priorities), and water (everything else).

Five reasons why Rocks rock 🤘🏾

With over 100K companies using tools from the EOS Toolbox™, they’re fan favorites. And we can see why — especially when it comes to Rocks.


Here are the top five reasons Rocks deserve a place in every growth strategy:


  1. Laser-focused employees: Goal-setting and tracking help employees prioritize — if in doubt, follow the Rocks.
  2. Greater accountability: Assigning each employee a goal to own gives them instant accountability. There’s no hiding from responsibility when your name’s on it.
  3. Clarity: Well-documented goals give your employees a clear north star. What’s the next step? What’s the priority? Should I do this or that? Circle them back to their Rocks for the answer and let them be their guide.
  4. Problem-solving: Let’s face it; it’s easier to run away from a problem than to face it head-on. But with the right Rocks in place, running isn’t an option. Instead, you’ve got to identify the issues and work through them.
  5. Results: With a more focused and accountable team, one that is supported by a documented process, your productivity is set to soar (and so is your revenue). 💰

How do you create a SMART rock?

Okay, so you’re on board with the Rock revolution. Next, it’s time to put pen to paper and set your Rocks for the next 90 days. 


It’s important to remember that the number one reason Rocks fail is that they’re not SMART:


  • Specific — Keep them short and to the point, with no room for confusion.
  • Measurable — If you can explain what it means when something is ‘done,’ it’s measurable.
  • Attainable — Ambitious but achievable.
  • Realistic — Don’t overestimate/underestimate your skill, time, or resources.
  • Time-bound — Ensure it has a deadline. With Rocks, it’s always 90 days.

If your Rocks don’t meet the SMART standard, they’re a lot less likely to be successful — but that isn’t the only issue that can make or break your success with Rocks.

SMART Rocks start from the top. ☝🏻

If you’re ready to set Rocks that bring genuine traction to your business, the ‘S’ in SMART is the most important place to start.


Because if your leadership team sets vague deliverables, departments will improvise — creating Rocks based on their interpretations of what the priorities are.


Everyone will scramble to deliver their version of what success looks like. And each employee will come to their weekly (or even quarterly) Level 10 Meeting thinking they’re right.


Avoid those awkward ‘there’s been a misunderstanding’ conversations by aligning your approach to SMART Rocks with your approach to employee experience and letting one fuel the other. Instead, take the time to check in and make sure your employees understand the importance of each Rock and create a culture where they aren’t afraid to speak up if they have any questions or concerns.

From there, it's all about documenting your SMART Rocks where your employees can easily find them

To help with every letter in the SMART formula, you’ll want to make your Rocks accessible via a user-friendly knowledge-sharing platform that employees can reach for whenever they need clarification.


Once you’ve got your Rocks documented in one central location, it’s all about maintaining them to make sure you’re still on track.


  • Review employee Rocks weekly in a team Level 10 Meeting. Use a red, amber, and green system to track progress. Red and amber Rocks are dropped to the IDS™ (identify, discuss, solve) portion of the meeting.
  • Check to see if the Rock is completed at the end of each quarter. If it isn’t, drop it to the IDS list to evaluate what went wrong and come up with a plan to rectify it next quarter.
  • Repeat every quarter, within every team, and for every employee. Setting Rocks once won’t get you anywhere. So aim to keep it consistent.

And make sure your employees understand why you’re setting Rocks.


After all, you’re not tracking Rocks to get employees in trouble or cause extra work. You’re setting and tracking Rocks because their input is crucial to the success of a business.

The do's and don'ts of setting SMART Rocks

If you’re like most leadership teams that run on EOS, you might stumble and trip a couple of times before you reach a productive rhythm with your Rocks.


That’s okay.


Remember to stay consistent and keep trying. This quick list of Do’s and Don’ts can help you stay on track.


  • Don’t leave Rocks too long: Use weekly Level 10 Meetings™ to track your progress.
  • Don’t limit who uses Rocks: Accountability is company-wide — start scaling Rocks across the organization with a documented process everyone can access.
  • Don’t assign too many Rocks: Less is more — three max; one is ideal.
  • Don’t do it all: Ownership doesn’t mean doing it all. Delegate based on skill.
  • Do IDS often: Don’t create a culture of fear around IDS; it’s a crucial part of the game.
  • Do ensure Rocks are 100% complete: Nearly done is NOT done.
  • Do plan your Rocks: Block out time. Scope it fully. Ask all the questions.
  • Do set owners: Make people accountable but don’t make it a blame game.

SMART Rocks are Rock solid 🤓

When you’re running at 100mph in a fast-growing business, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget what’s important.

But with clearly defined SMART Rocks to keep you on track to achieving real traction in your business — there’s no limit to what you can achieve. The secret for many is staying consistent with the way you set your Rocks.

And part of that consistency is making them convenient for your employees to hold themselves to.

With Whale, you can centralize all of your SOPs, policies, and team knowledge to grow your business by focusing on the right things from day to day, week to week, and Rock to Rock.

When you’re ready to take your Rocks and processes to the next level, Whale can help. Learn more with a free, no-strings-attached trial today.


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