By Lee Sommerville, February 3, 2022

Head of Customer Partnerships at Pocketworks, app development specialists.

Happening At Pocketworks 

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Lovely photo by Rachel Nickerson on Unsplash

Business change is hard, especially for smaller businesses learning to grow. Leaders want to make positive change but actually making new ways stick is a tricky thing. Initiatives or challenges will be started in earnest and with great gusto, only to fail or fade away when other priorities push their noses in front. 

Often the goals that were so exciting or important at the time, become forgotten, which is pretty rubbish, building pessimism and driving down motivation in all sorts of places.

We recognised this in ourselves and decided it was time to change. For good.

How we recognised change was needed

Since early 2021 we have been working on our One, Three and Ten Year Plan’s which is super exciting. But it's also really challenging to be able to visualise that far ahead, and put the necessary plans and actions in place to get there, or even anywhere near there. 

As we all should in all aspects of life, we initially focussed on the small steps on the road to reaching our long goals. Even that was really hard though as mentioned above, other things just simply kept getting in the way. We are a busy team after all.

However, whilst reading the awesome book, Traction by Gino Wickman, our MD Tobin took on board the suggestion that we should focus on our One Year Plan alone first. Plus not only that, but to break that year down into quarters and focus on one at a time.

As Gino also recommended, we came to know this way of working as our Company Rocks.

How to bring change yourselves

In essence, Company Rocks are effectively S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) managed in a very proactive way. But we have tried to be “smart” before and it hasn’t stuck, so what is different here, and what does that entail? 

Here is a guide on how we suggest you do this, from our own experience:

  • Pull together the right internal team, a blend of management if you like, and the creative production team. It’s important that the business as a whole is represented here.
  • Spend 4-8 hours setting 3-7 goals based on your team size for each quarter. Here it is important to remember to set a realistic number of Rocks so that they are achievable but make them tough, they are meant to be hard.
  • When deciding on your Rocks, think about the many ideas and discussions you have had on things you would love to put in place, but have never found the time. This process can give you the gift of relative time when managed properly.
  • Assign each Rock to a team member, they are then the owner and are accountable. Even if they need the rest of the team's help it is their responsibility to get it over the line. We find here it helps if the Rock is a pain point the owner or the business as a whole have felt directly. These increases buy-in and a desire to achieve
  • Review every, single week at the same time. Without fail. This ramps up the focus and feeling of accountability. It is also an opportunity to review if you are on or off track and seek help and advice or feedback where required.
  • At the end of the quarter, you will have either achieved your Rocks or not. End of.

The last point may seem a little harsh but the reality is there is no middle ground, sure some sub-tasks have been ticked off and some progress was made but if the main objective has not been achieved, neither has the Rock. 

The good news is the fact you have a limited time to achieve your Rock does drive urgency and treating the work required as a priority, nicely blended into your day job. Experience tells us that this makes it really rewarding and fun to get your Rock over the line, and it really does not just feel like extra work in your intray at all.

And that right there is the fundamental change that Company Rocks have brought to Pocketworks.

What Rocks should you set? 

Sadly that really is not for us to answer. But here are some 100% real-world examples of the changes we have made in just under 4 quarters of getting things done whilst working this way. Take it as a list designed to get you thinking:

  • A measurable plan on how we scale the business in 2022, without causing ourselves headaches
  • Automated processes and removing spreadsheets/manual input from critical numbers in the business (This also removed a staggering 1880 hours of manual work across the team each year!)
  • Implemented new ways of working for a crucial part of the development team
  • Grown our inbound leads tally on a measurable, weekly basis
  • Increased the MRR on our side-hustle projects
  • Closed a new service client
  • Introduced two whole new revenue streams into the business
  • Lifted our social activity to a fixed minimum, measurable amount

In Conclusion

We will not be dropping Company Rocks anytime soon, if ever in fact. When things work for us we stick with them, and this really, really does work.

Give it a try, even for just one quarter and see if it sticks for you, we see no reason that it won’t and we would love to hear about your success stories as well.

If you do get into trouble, or want some advice on getting going, or just keeping it up then please give us a shout. We would be more than happy to help.

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About Pocketworks

Pocketworks is a mobile-first software company that helps organisations improve their customer experience with mobile technology. We enable our clients use research and data to find the right solution and deliver apps and digital products that increase customer satisfaction and retention.
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