One day, an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students. As he stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers he said “Okay, time for a quiz” and pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouth Mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. He also produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class yelled, “Yes.”
The time management expert replied, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. He dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. He then asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?” By this time the class was onto him. “Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!” he replied.
He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all of the spaces left between the rocks and gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is the jar full?” “No!” the class shouted. Once again he said “Good.”
Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”
The truth this illustration teaches us is: “If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”
With apologies to the unknown author, we ask the question “What are the Big Rocks in your business?” By focusing on the business objectives-the Big Rocks-we can then layer on the appropriate strategies and tactics to accomplish your goals.
*Courtesy of http://big-rocks.net/