An Introduction to the Rockefeller Habits

In 2002, Verne Harnish published his book “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits.” At the time, I was transitioning from “mega-project” management into business management and this book made a huge impact on how I run a business.

I never thought too much about it at the time but now as I reflect on how I have led organizations (businesses and not-for-profits), I constantly leverage all of the ten Rockefeller habits that Harnish outlines in his book.

I find it interesting that the organizations that “bought into” the “Rockefeller system” with me performed well over time even though we may have experienced some tough periods in the market. Conversely, the organizations that just could not get aligned around the system, were not able to experience the same levels of success.

So, what are these intriguing habits?

The 10 Rockefeller Habits

The ten Rockefeller habits are shown in the list below.

  1. The executive team is healthy and aligned
  2. Everyone is aligned with the #1 thing that needs to be accomplished this quarter to move the company forward
  3. Communication rhythm is established and information moves through the organization accurately and quickly
  4. Assign a person to every facet of the organization with accountability to meet goals
  5. Continuously collect employee input to identify obstacles and opportunities
  6. Reporting and analysis of customer feedback data is as frequent and accurate as financial data
  7. Core values and purpose are alive in the organization
  8. Employees can articulate the following key components of the company’s strategy accurately
  9. All employees can answer quantitatively whether they had a good day or week
  10. The company’s plans and performance are visible to everyone

As you can see from this list, each of the habits requires a set of tools and systems for implementing, measuring, and refining the habits.

Most companies custom build these tools and systems to fit their business and culture so it goes without saying that these habits are not a one day senior management exercise! It takes time to instill them correctly and it requires culture change to make this happen.

I am not going to delve into the details of each habit or give you instructions on how to implement them in this post but I can tell you that it is worth the investment in time and energy to implement each of these in your business!

Take Action

Spend some time reviewing your business this week and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you have a solid business management system in place?
  2. Do your employees understand this system and how they contribute to your overall success?
  3. Are you hitting your goals and moving the business forward?
  4. What changes do you need to make?

If you are lacking in any of these areas, get a copy of The Rockefeller Habits, study them, and begin to implement them in your business.

Finally, review these posts for more information:



If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.” John D. Rockefeller Jr.



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