Hat trick

What are the barriers to achievement and the habits that can help you overcome these barriers? John D. Rockefeller identified three habits that can help anyone achieve success.

To some people, success comes naturally. It's as if they're born predestined. In sports, it's people like these who achieve hat tricks — a series of outstanding feats (usually three) accomplished by a single player. The idea originated in cricket. When a player did something great, they were given a new hat.

In many ways, it's like this in business. When you do something well, you're usually given another hat — to wear or juggle. An achievement, yes, but also a challenge. Awhile back, I read an article about John D. Rockefeller. He had identified a trio of barriers to the growth of a business — any business. And, in response to his observations, he identified three habits (all of which he practiced himself) to help avoid stumbling on these barriers to success. I've dubbed them the Rockefeller Hat Trick.

While one's natural tendencies do play a role in a person's success, it doesn't hurt to be aware of some of the pitfalls and the habits we can cultivate to improve our chance to succeeding.

Rockefeller's Three Barriers

  1. Leadership - Can you delegate? Can you build a team? Do you have a vision for your company's future? And most importantly, can you develop other leaders ?
  2. Systems and structures - Do your systems for human resources, operations, accounting, and marketing give you relevant data? Can you make decisions in a timely manner? Have you clearly identified who is accountable for gathering, factoring and reporting this key information to you and others?
  3. Market dynamics - Do you account for changes in the economy and in your market area in order to keep your operation on the cutting edge? When was the last time you did a Comparative Market Analysis of your competition? Purchased psychographic and/or demographic profiles of your market area? Conducted a customer focus group?

The Rockefeller Hat Trick — Three Habits for Achieving Success

  1. Priorities - Have you identified and communicated your top priorities for the next year or next quarter to your employees? Do you have a critical path with action steps and due dates assigned to specific people? Are the priorities for the front of the house aligned with the priorities for the back of the house?
  2. Data - Do you have sufficient data on a regular basis to know how well your business is running and how close you are to meeting your goals? Do you have weekly flash reports by noon on Monday? If not, why not? Does everyone on your team have at least one key daily or weekly metric that drives his or her performance? What gets measured gets done.
  3. Rhythm - Do you have regular, periodic management meetings that keep priorities in alignment and drive accountability? Are your meetings well run and productive?

Share these great pointers with everyone in your organization in the hopes of growing a great team of leaders.


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