Summary of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits

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  • Applicable
  • Background
  • Concrete Examples


Entrepreneurship expert Verne Harnish, a student of business management, interprets a set of managerial best practices he calls the “Rockefeller habits.” He refers throughout to Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller (1839–1937), who had three bedrock management precepts: “priorities, data and rhythm.” Harnish’s short, effective manual illuminate all three, detailing why companies need firm plans, established priorities, big goals, effective delegation and strong values that it integrates into its performance. In this useful best-selling guide, now translated into nine languages, Harnish clarifies how CEOs and senior managers can apply these ideas to nourish their companies’ growth. getAbstract recommends his useful management primer to entrepreneurs, executives, and business students and professors.

About the Author

Verne Harnish, also known as the syndicated columnist who writes “The Growth Guy,” founded the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and chairs its CEO program, the Birthing of Giants. He also wrote the best-selling Scaling Up: Rockefeller Habits 2.0.



The Fundamentals of Business Management

Managing a business is like parenting a child. Certain fundamentals apply. The three basic guidelines are:

  1. Establish a limited number of rules.
  2. Repeatedly stress your real priorities to your colleagues and employees – or kids.
  3. Always behave according to the rules you set.

Ron Chernow’s book Titan, a biography of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller (1839–1937), sets forth the famous industrialist’s three bedrock management precepts: “priorities, data and rhythm.” Your firm should adopt all three:

1. Priorities

Every business needs five primary annual and quarterly objectives (plus monthly goals if your firm is expanding at a 100% growth rate every year). Include one primary target for the periods you measure. These objectives will become your “Top 5 and Top 1-of-5 priority list.” Don’t exceed this number of priorities because an “organization with too many priorities has no priorities.” Every employee should have his or her own work objectives, which must align with your firm’s goals. Establish short- and long-term priorities for...

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