Setting Measurable Goals for Individual Engagement and Accountability

January 21, 2021 Jamie Notter

Part 10 of a 11-part blog series on the Rockefeller Habits for Associations.

We’ve already quoted Patrick Lencioni once in this blog post series, but we need to again for this Rockefeller Habit, because he addresses it directly in his book that was originally titled The Three Signs of a Miserable Job (he has since re-titled that to be about Employee Engagement, but I like the original title better).


The Rockefeller Habit we’re referring to in particular is habit #9.

Rockefeller Habit #9:

All employees can answer quantitatively whether they had a good day or week.

Lencioni argued that one of the reasons so many employees are disengaged is because they can’t measure their own success. He called this sign of a miserable job “immeasurement” (the other two, in case you’re wondering, are anonymity and irrelevance).

When people get to the end of the day or week and have no clear sense of whether or not what they did during that time actually contributed to the success of the enterprise, then they eventually give up and lose engagement.

They start putting in the hours, but not giving the extra effort. This is why the Rockefeller Habits are so focused on measurable goals and what Harnish from the Growth Institute refers to as “line of sight.”

For example, when a company sets its quarterly “rocks,” there must be an obvious connection between those specific short-term targets and where you want to be in 1 year or even 3 years. You pick the rocks because they are critical steps in reaching those long-term goals.

Linking Measurement to Relevance

Just as an organization picks its quarterly “rocks,” the same needs to be true down to an individual level in your organization. Individual employees must be constantly prioritizing their own work, down to picking weekly “top goals” and daily top priority tasks that have a clear line of sight to the broader organizational priorities

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Lencioni calls this “linking measurement to relevance.” The individual measures of success must be things that are within the span of control of the employee and clearly supporting broader organizational success.

Mapping each individual’s rocks, top goals, and priority tasks to the broader organizational short-term and long-term goals helps to ensure that every staff member is in line with the strategy, vision, and objective of the organization. 



Staff can answer quantitatively whether they had a good day/week

Organization sets quarterly “rocks” that have a clear line of sight to the organization’s long-term goals.
Individual staff and departments set 3-5 quarterly “rocks” that have a clear line of sight to organizational goals and priorities.
Individual staff set weekly “top goals” and daily top priority tasks that have a clear line of sight to organizational goals and priorities.
Weekly “top goals” and daily top priority tasks are reported on a weekly basis.
Productive conversations about changes in behavior or approach to meet measurable goals facilitate consistent accountability.

Rockefeller Habit #9 Checklist for Associations


The Role of Coaching to Support Accountability

It is important that every member of your team take ownership of their measurable goals and report on them each week. But if this is done in a vacuum, it can just reinforce negative cultural traits in your organization. For example, if a team member knows that every week they will have to report on goals that were unachievable to a manager that is inflexible, a culture of guilt and punishment develops. 

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What is much more valuable is pairing accountability with a culture of coaching. This change in mindset changes the organizations focus from placing blame to supporting growth and change. Instead of seeing managers and leadership as captains of ship, they can be viewed as personal teachers and coaches. 

Of course, this is hard to do without a good coaching example to learn from. 

RELATED ARTICLE>>Business Coaching, Executive Coaching, Leadership Coaching: What’s the Difference? 

You could consider getting an external, Scaling Up Certified Coach, which we provide at PROPEL, who is skilled at working with executive teams to lead the annual/quarterly planning sessions and work monthly with the CEO and his/her team.

As you gain more insight from a coaching session about how to best support the growth and goals of your team, you can begin to shift the culture so that individual engagement is a natural outgrowth of your team’s desire to reach their full potential. This is a much more powerful motivator than fear, and you’ll find that it brings more lasting, positive change. 

Getting Started

Ready to fix your execution and accountability cracks and achieve more for your members, community and industry?

Learn more here about how we’ve helped associations just like yours clarify annual and quarterly priorities and up their internal metrics game so you can see when and where you’re falling behind BEFORE it impacts goals.

Photo by Markus Winkler

Jamie Notter

Jamie is an author and growth strategist at PROPEL, where he helps leaders integrate culture, strategy, and execution to achieve breakthrough performance and impact. He brings twenty-five years of experience to his work designing culture-driven businesses, and has specialized along the way in areas like conflict resolution and generations. Jamie is also the co-author of three books—Humanize, When Millennials Take Over, and The Non-Obvious Guide to Employee Engagement—and holds a Master’s in conflict resolution from George Mason and a certificate in Organization Development from Georgetown, where he serves as adjunct faculty.
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