So, you’ve come to the realization that hope is not a strategy for the long term success of your company, and you’ve made this discovery long before you’ve even reached the pivotal inflection point or begun to feel the red hot coals of the slip into decline. You’re way ahead of the curve, and as a result of this understanding, you’ve started to seriously think about what the proper strategy might be. Well done, you’ve given yourself the advantage, and we can help you realize this potential.
But first, before we can move forward and help you take the proper steps towards continuous improvement and engaging your company in the process of positive proactive change, it’s important to take a step back and discover one thing, and ask a simple question:
What is Your Definition of Success?
If you don’t have an end goal in mind, a point of “success” you’re trying to achieve, then you won’t know which direction you’re headed. Without a proper overarching metric of success, any path is equally plausible and therefore every path will be both equally effective and ineffective, i.e. useless. The crew of a ship won’t sail without a properly drawn out destination, and no matter how accurate the Captain’s map is it still won’t help them get where they need to go if they don’t know where they’re headed.
Right now, as you begin to formulate your idea of what success means for you personally, you might start to envision substantial growth and profitability, new product development and new accounts, or maybe something more tangible like the image of your team with their feet up on the desk, drinking champagne and celebrating your recent accomplishments.
Although at this point you may not be able to articulate your strategy, or fully know which course you need to follow, you do need to know your end goal, and to help you effectively define your own perceptions, so that when the time comes we can help you chart a route and develop an effective strategy, here’s some examples of how some of our clients have defined success over the years.
The Four Buckets of Success
1. The Financial Measurement Bucket
For many, success is financially driven, based on growing revenue, expanding profit, or both. Success is when money is pouring in, freeing up the team to take innovative chances and develop new products or to dedicate more time to customer loyalty or engaging employees in internal processes, or even taking the time to eliminate some outdated processes.
2. The Customer Service Bucket
Other companies view success as mainly customer-driven and typically track levels of user engagement. They put to use metrics like loyalty and referrals, and devote time to relationship building with their clients in order to better cross-sell and grow a wider customer base. They understand that the more clients you retain over time, the more they will deliver to you.
3. Internal Process Bucket
Companies who define success via the Internal Process Bucket see data such as the number of accounts per account manager, credit card processes, speed of transactions, etc. as criterion for success. They aim to operate like a well-oiled machine that’s both dependable and efficient.
4. The Internal Learning Bucket
The leadership of companies who fall into this last category of success measurement are focused primarily on employee engagement and have their sights on innovation and significant product development.
What Does Winning Look Like to You?
So, to return to the original discussion, in order to figure out what your next steps will be, you have to first figure out how you want to define success. Ultimately, what does winning look like to you?
Naturally, not all definitions of success are created equal. Some will take you down the path towards transformation, and interestingly enough, some under-defined definitions will have you heading towards the downward slope of survival mode. But odds are, if you’re reading this, you’re a visionary, a forward thinker who will set an achievable metric of success that’s achievable, one that makes continuous improvement a possibility.
And then we’ll be getting somewhere.