1 Big Rock – Prioritization and Focus for Sales Managers

Sometimes 3 Big Rocks are too many. At the same company where I developed the 3 Big Rocks approach I had a manager who met with me every Friday afternoon for a 1-on-1.

He was a mentor who taught me many valuable lessons.  I cherished our time together.


At first, we met for an hour a week. Then he cut this back to 30 minutes. Then 20. And pretty soon I was lucky if I’d get 10 minutes of his time each week. (We were really busy and growing fast).

I would go into my 1-on-1 with a list of 10 things I needed his help on. At first we would get through all 10. Later on, maybe 5. Towards the end of my first year working for him, we’d cover 1 or 2 items tops.


At the same time I was finding that my daily 3 Big Rocks weren’t perfect. There were days that unexpected issues blew my schedule out of the water.

  • A DSL provider shut down overnight leaving us scrambling to provide 600 customers with Internet service (new Big Rock #1)
  • My boss asked me to cover for him during a 4 hour board prep meeting
  • I left the lights on in my car and my battery was dead in the morning

I learned to execute around these unexpected surprises the same way I planned my 1-on-1’s with my boss.  By STARTING WITH THE MOST IMPORTANT BIG ROCK FIRST.

This may seem painfully obvious to you. If so, feel free to nominate me for this week’s Mr. Obvious Award.

But I always had a running list of things that needed to be done so I had to learn this lesson by trying to cram everything in around the surprises and failing repeatedly failing. Only after that was I able to figure out how ranking my 3 Big Rocks was important too.

Here’s the bigger lesson I’ve learned.  We will all have days where things don’t go as planned. That’s the way life works.

If you can stay focused making sure your Big Rock #1 is the priority, it will still be a damn good day where you’ve accomplished something meaningful.

If you want some help building your sales team or improving sales, contact me here. I’d love to hear from you. 

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