Big Rocks are Essential for Business

One of Stephen Covey’s Effective Habits

The best strategy for keeping focused and moving toward your goals is Big Rocks. Do you have Big Rocks? If not, you should....

It was Stephen Covey who talked of ‘big rocks’ in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. The essence of the ‘big rocks’ analogy is that if you don’t attend to the big things first, you’ll never get them done [fit them in]. The book explains a story where people at a live event watched a demonstration of the presenter filling a jar with big rocks. There was still more room so he added some pebbles. There was enough room to add some sand to fill in all the gaps. Finally, he added some water to show that the jar could in fact hold a little bit more.

One of the attendees believed the demonstration showed that if you really work at it, you can still fit more in to your day/do more.

The point of it is, if you were to do this in reverse, you’d never fit in the big rocks. If you don’t attend to them first, you will never be able to fit them in/get around to them.

The Big Rocks need to go first if you want to make true progress. Say ‘yes’ to the Big Rocks and ‘no’ to the smaller things if they’re getting in the way.

I use this strategy with all my clients and myself and it’s highly effective!

So, what are your Big Rocks?

These are the things that will really make you progress toward your goals and move your business forward. They are not your to-do list or your daily action plan.

Ask yourself this: what are the big things that would really move you forward, if you were to have them done? It could be to have your new website up. It could be to secure that big proposal you’ve submitted and which would make a huge difference to your revenue this year. It could be to get that speaking engagement. It may be to launch that new product (I know that Big Rock....).

It may also be something you’ve been putting off for a long time, but you know you need to address. Are you not doing something? Is there something you keep pushing into ‘one day’...

Get an ‘Accountability’ Buddy

Defining your Big Rocks is one thing, but being accountable to them is how you really get results. Ask a friend, a colleague, a fellow Bossmentor® Club member to hold each other accountable!

I hold my clients accountable for their Big Rocks, and I have my own accountability partners to keep me focused on the priorities.

Focus on Priorities for a Week or a Month

Set your Big Rocks for a month if they’re really big, or if they’re smaller and you really want to move faster, set them on a weekly basis.

Set yourself up for success and make the timeframe realistic.

I use Big Rocks over a period of a month for my clients and that works very well. If you’re inspired and on fire with a new venture, you may want to set them weekly.

Just remember, Big Rocks are to keep you focused on the big things – the priorities that will move your business forward and keep you focused on your goals.

Don’t set too many, don’t give yourself too little time, and find a buddy to keep you accountable.

That’s my top tip for getting focused and setting yourself up for success.

Good luck!


Jenny Stilwell is a business mentor, consultant, speaker and author of ‘Small Business CEO'. Her unusual credentials combining senior executive and CEO roles, with starting and growing several successful consulting practices of her own, make her well qualified as a specialist in helping others create the right structure and strategy for growth.

Jenny provides one-on-one mentoring and CEO advice, consulting services and a range of resources across all aspects of managing a growing compa...

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