The world has changed quite a bit since John D. Rockefeller went into business. 

The self-made co-founder of the Standard Oil Company, who was responsible for hundreds of millions of philanthropic donations before his death in 1937, never had to worry about a social media strategy, nor did he have to consider disruption from a digital economy. So why, then, do so many entrepreneurs turn to the habits of a businessman who’s been dead for nearly a century? 

Verne Harnish, the founder of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and the CEO and founder of Scaling Up, turned to the New York billionaire when he wrote “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, his first how-to guide to growing a business. A little more than a decade later, Harnish, who will join AssociationSuccess.org as one of our keynote speakers for SURGE Growth, updated the Habits with “Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It … And Why the Rest Don’t.” 

“Scaling Up” serves as a step-by-step guide to growing an organization, all of which is guided by the principles Harnish called the Rockefeller Habits. These habits, Harnish argues, are the “routines that set you free” because they “dramatically increase profitability and reduce the time it takes to manage a business.” 

And the framework these habits establish does work. Multiple business leaders and entrepreneurs have pointed to their efficacy in establishing and growing their organizations. 

In an April interview for Entrepreneur.com, Employment Hero CEO Ben Thompson detailed his use of the Habits. In January, Harnish’s book made a list of three books to read before hiring your first employee. 

While Harnish goes into great detail about the Habits and their implementation in “Scaling Up,” they do provide a quick look at some immediate action items an organization take to be intentional about growth, vision and strategy. 

Here are Harnish’s 10 Rockefeller Habits:

  1. The executive team is healthy and aligned. 
  2. Everyone is aligned with the No. 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. Every facet of the organization has a person assigned with accountability for ensuring goals are met. 
  5. Ongoing employee input is collected to identify obstacles and opportunities. 
  6. Reporting and analysis of customer feedback 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: 10-25 year goal, core customers, three Brand Promises everyone needs to keep and the company’s elevator pitch. 
  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.  

You can read more about the Habits on Harnish’s blog here. You’ll also be able to hear more about them from Harnish himself during SURGE Growth. Register now for the free virtual conference!

Chelsea Brasted is the writer and editor who serves as content manager for AssociationSuccess.org. A former reporter and breaking news editor for The Times-Picayune, she lives in New Orleans with her husband and two rescue dogs.

Chelsea Brasted is the writer and editor who serves as content manager for AssociationSuccess.org. A former reporter and breaking news editor for The Times-Picayune, she lives in New Orleans with her husband and two rescue dogs.

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