Mastering the 10 Rockefeller Habits — The only Framework You Need to Scale Up

Katy Trost
5 min readAug 9, 2020

When it comes to the best framework to execute your company’s strategy, I proudly stand by our Rockefeller Habits Checklist. This simple set of habits has already helped over 70,000 companies scale up while reducing the time needed to run the business — many of which scaled to $10million, $100million, and a few, to a billion and beyond. That’s the dream, isn’t it? The 10 habits that make this checklist have not changed for over 100 years since John D. Rockefeller implemented them in his business — the result of which made him the wealthiest man ever, even by today’s standards.

# 1: The Executive Team is Healthy and Aligned.

  • Team members understand each others’ differences, priorities, and styles.
  • The team meets frequently (weekly is best) for strategic thinking.
  • The team participates in ongoing executive education (monthly recommended).
  • The team is able to engage in constructive debates and all members feel comfortable participating.

# 2: Everyone is Aligned with The #1 Thing that needs to be Accomplished this Quarter to Move the Company Forward.

  • The Critical Number is identified to move the company ahead this quarter.
  • 3–5 Priorities (Rocks) that support the Critical Number are identified and ranked for the quarter.
  • A Quarterly Theme and Celebration/Reward are announced to all employees that bring the Critical Number to life.
  • Quarterly Theme/Critical Number posted throughout the company and employees are aware of the progress each week.

# 3: Communication Rhythm is Established and Information Moves through the Organization Accurately and Quickly.

  • All employees are in a daily huddle that lasts less than 15 minutes.
  • All teams have a weekly meeting.
  • The executive and middle managers meet for a day of learning, resolving big issues, and DNA transfer each month.
  • Quarterly and annually, the executive and middle managers meet offsite to work on the 4 Decisions (Strategy, Execution, People, Cash).

# 4: Every Facet of the Organization has a Person Assigned with Accountability for Ensuring Goals are Met.

  • The Function Accountability Chart (FACe) is completed (right people, doing the right things, right).
  • Financial statements have a person assigned to each line item.
  • Each of the 4–9 processes on the Process Accountability Chart (PACe) has someone that is accountable for them.
  • Each 3–5 year Key Thrust/Capability has a corresponding expert on the Advisory Board if internal expertise doesn’t exist.

# 5: Ongoing Employee Input is Collected to Identify Obstacles and Opportunities.

  • All executives (and middle managers) have a Start/Stop/Keep conversation with at least one employee weekly.
  • The insights from employee conversations are shared at the weekly executive team meeting.
  • Employee input about obstacles and opportunities is being collected weekly.
  • A mid-management team is responsible for the process of closing the loop on all obstacles and opportunities.

# 6: Reporting and Analysis of Customer Feedback Data is as Frequent and Accurate as Financial Data.

  • All executives (and middle managers) have a 4Q conversation with at least one end user weekly.
  • The insights from customer conversations are shared at the weekly executive team meeting.
  • All employees are involved in collecting customer data.
  • A mid-management team is responsible for the process of closing the loop on all customer feedback.

# 7: Core Values and Purpose are “Alive” in the Organization

  • Core Values are discovered, Purpose is articulated, and both are known by all employees.
  • All executives and middle managers refer back to the Core Values and Purpose when giving praise or reprimands.
  • HR processes and activities align with the Core Values and Purpose (hiring, orientation, appraisal, recognition, etc.).
  • Actions are identified and implemented each quarter to strengthen the Core Values and Purpose in the organization.

# 8: Employees Can Articulate the Key Components of the Company’s Strategy Accurately

# 9: All Employees can answer Quantitatively Whether they had a Good Day or Week (Column 7 of the One-Page-Strategic-Plan)

  • 1 or 2 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are reported on weekly for each role/person.
  • Each employee has 1 Critical Number that aligns with the company’s Critical Number for the quarter (clear line of sight).
  • Each individual/team has 3–5 Quarterly Priorities/Rocks that align with those of the company.
  • All executives and middle managers have a coach (or peer coach) holding them accountable to behavior changes.

#10: The Company’s Plans And Performance are Visible to Everyone

  • A “situation room” is established for weekly meetings (physical or virtual).
  • Core Values, Purpose and Priorities are posted throughout the company.
  • Scoreboards are up everywhere displaying current progress on KPIs and Critical Numbers.
  • There is a system in place for tracking and managing the cascading Priorities and KPIs.

How to Implement the Rockefeller Habits.

While the habits are listed in no particular order and you can start with whichever you want, we give our clients one rule — they must start with Rockefeller Habit #1: The executive team is healthy and aligned. It is near impossible to implement any of the other habits without checking off Habit #1 first.

Once that is realized and your team is ready to go (i.e. they can fight without killing each other), pick one or two habits each quarter and work on those. Start with the habits that will have the most immediate benefits and over the next 24 to 36 months, you will have been able to get through all 10 habits. Outside of Rockefeller Habit #1, the order is up to you.

This is not a one-time thing but a process that will make your journey easier. As the company scales up, you can continue to refresh the habits. They are integrated in many coaching engagements and can be used as a checklist to assess how efficient a company currently operates. If you’re interested in learning more about how to implement the 10 Rockefeller Habits to improve the performance of your teams and organization, feel free to reach out at

This article was originally published by the Gazelles Growth Institute.