Roundup –  What the Ten Rockefeller Habits Could Mean for Associations

February 3, 2021 Maddie Grant

Roundup –  What the Ten Rockefeller Habits Could Mean for Associations

Phew! We made it to the end of our series!  Just in case you missed some of the posts, here’s a summary roundup. 

Created by Verne Harnish, who you may know as the founder of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), the Rockefeller Habits are an agile, culture-driven model for business strategy which has been used successfully by thousands of companies and entrepreneurs to grow and scale. And yet, there’s nothing like it in the association industry. 

But associations need to grow too – especially in the time of the pandemic, where our foundations have been shaken and we can no longer rely on 3 to 5 year strategic plans. So Jamie Notter and I set out to investigate how associations – with their particular nuances – might apply this to accelerate their strategies

The ten Rockefeller Habits are divided into topics that apply to three main buckets:  Culture, Strategy, and Execution.  We explained more about this in a series of blog posts that describe the habits and dig into how they might apply to associations.  

Here’s the roundup of all our posts in this series, should you need a cheat sheet.



These posts focused on the culture angle – how associations can accelerate their goals and impact by applying culture to strategic planning and execution.  

    • Core Values and Purpose Are AliveTaking your purpose and values from a passive piece of information to an active component of your daily habits will instill employee purpose and fulfillment in their role within the organization and involvement in the larger purpose. But how do you do this on a daily basis, especially if this kind of focus is new to you?
  • Input and Opportunity for Everyone – By eliminating communication frictions, you unlock a brand new level of success and flexibility in your organization. But this is not a “one-and-done” kind of fix.
  • Is Your Leadership Team Feeling Divided? Get Them on the Same Page – An aligned team is the perfect foundation for rebuilding a healthy team. As you focus on those core values and culture, you will immediately see misalignments with how your leadership team communicates and spends their time. Develop a regular feedback opportunity that focuses on behaviors rather than people. Provide accurate, recent, and data-driven examples of behaviors that are not meshing with your overall culture strategy and allow parties to share their motivations, struggles, and frustrations in a non-recriminatory setting. 
See also  Real Accountability Requires Better Metrics



These next few posts describe the strategy habits – more directly addressing different ways to make strategy more effective and more connected to all staff.

  • Creating Meaningful Goals That Actually Matter – Verne Harnish’s 10 Rockefeller Habits put alignment, action, and accountability in the spotlight for associations to gather their challenges and meet them with a plan to succeed beyond expectations. At PROPEL, we use this very model as a foundation for the culture-driven coaching we provide to associations looking to amplify their impact and continue expanding their community. And over the next few posts, we’ll be talking about each of these habits individually, and how you can begin using them to empower your association and team. 



We can’t have awesome culture and strategy without execution – otherwise what’s the point, right? We want our culture and our strategy to help us have greater impact, grow our associations (in whatever definition of growth applies),  and generally be more successful.  

  • Communication Rhythm Moves Information QuicklyProviding clear, actionable information is a cornerstone of making your association more aligned and powerful. Don’t allow whisper networks and half-understood directives to drag your association down. With the right kind of communication tools, daily and weekly meetings, and empowerment of your middle management to clarify and direct messaging, you will see a more cohesive team who not only understand the goals, but all the communication surrounding those goals. 
  • Getting Member Feedback and Using It WellMember satisfaction surveys aren’t cutting it anymore. Explore strategic and authentic ways to collect member feedback to keep them engaged in your mission.
  • Accountability in Every ActionAccountability has become something of a buzzword in the corporate world, especially lately. As more organizations and associations are being forced into virtual working arrangements, accountability is the issue that many leaders are most concerned about. How do you ensure that your team members are on task? Are they using their time effectively? Do they know their responsibilities and their place in the hierarchy of your organization? 
  • Setting Measurable Goals for Individual Engagement and AccountabilityIs your organization and staff setting measurable goals? Can your team answer quantitatively whether they had a good day or week? Discover how and why.
See also  Overview of Your Culture Assessment Options

So there you have it. Another great way to dig into this topic is through our free Introduction to the Rockefeller Habits course, in which Jamie Notter explores each of the ten habits in more detail through a series of short videos that are chock full of practical tips related to how these habits can be applied for immediate results.  Would love you to check it out, and let us know what you think!

And as always, we would love you to explore our culture-driven business coaching program through which you can apply these habits in your own association.

Photo by Maxime Lebrun on Unsplash

Maddie Grant

Maddie Grant, CAE, is an expert culture designer and digital strategist who focuses on helping organizations unlock the power in their culture and navigate culture change. She has specific expertise in digital transformation and generational differences in the workplace. She has explored the language of workplace culture for several years through her books, co-authored with her partner in business and life Jamie Notter, including Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World (2011), the Amazon category best-seller When Millennials Take Over: Preparing for the Ridiculously Optimistic Future of Business (2015) and the Non-Obvious Guide to Employee Engagement (2019).
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