When you are motivated it can be exhilarating to dream, talk or write about a vision for the future. So why are so many good ideas abandoned along the way?
Whether you are masterminding an organizational change initiative, steering your business in a new direction, or planning a career transition, the distinction between success and failure is often found in the follow- through.
FRAMING THE VISION- What does success look like?
Before jumping to action, begin by spending some time thinking about your personal definition of success. The more clearly you can express what it will look and feel like when you get there, the more momentum you will build. Too often we are working on someone else’s definition. Until you can clearly identify what you are aiming to achieve it will be hard to know when you get there.
Try filling in the blank:
“I know how successful I am by how_______________ .”
Keep at it until you it really starts to resonate. You will know when you get it right.
As you craft your vision statement, the same holds true. Play with the words until they are vivid and motivating.
Once you have an exciting vision, it is important to break down the ideas into actionable goals. The trick is to not only define financial goals, but to think about what has to change within the organization to make the vision a reality. Many leaders fail to realize that results like profits, market share and cost, do not help guide a team, nor do those measures explain what has to change or happen to get there.
The process of developing meaningful goals in support of a clearly understood vision makes the strategic planning process come alive.
Let’s look an example: ABC Company wants to grow their loyal customer base. One of the objectives to help build loyal customers is to establish tighter ties with clients by offering them other products and services to address their needs. Measuring revenue growth from these clients is important, but it does not lay out a plan. Instead defining goals such as the following will serve as a framework to develop a set of action steps.
- Gaining a solid understanding of all of the companies products and services
- Collaborating with internal departments
- Learning how to use a system that shares customer data
By measuring these goals along with customer satisfaction and the financials, there is a much higher chance of success.
PIECES OF THE PUZZLE
Important goals are almost part of a bigger picture. To achieve greater levels of success, it is not enough to set career goals without also looking at the social, physical, financial, family, mental, and spiritual areas of your life. In business, increased profitability will not always guarantee happy, loyal customers, employees or business owners.
“The leading indicators of business performance cannot be found in financial data alone. Quality, customer satisfaction, innovation, and market share- often reflect a company’s economic condition and growth prospects better than its reported earnings do.” ~ Robert Eccles
Are you measuring more than financials?
The process of deciding what should be measured will help create:
- Clarity around the purpose and direction of the initiative
- A context to evaluate how the pieces of the puzzle fit together,
- A method to assess progress and determine next step
“To manage in the future, executives will need an information system integrated with strategy, rather than individual tools that so far have been used largely to record the past.”
~ Peter Drucker
There are many excellent performance measurement methodologies today. Learn about a variety of computer based solutions to manage and measure results at http://www.bettermanagement.com
The Balanced Scorecard
One of the most popular strategic measurement processes used today is Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton’s Balanced Scorecard. The model focuses goal setting into the following four areas
- Financial-How do we look to our shareholders?
- Internal Business-Systems/Process-What must we excel at?
- Innovation and Learning- How can we continue to improve?
- Customer-How does our customer base see us?
No two balanced scorecards will look the same since the unique business strategy will drive the goals. In larger organizations every business unit sets goals that roll up into organizational goals in these four areas.
An important part of any performance measurement process is periodic review. Ongoing review is important to evaluate resource allocation, to look at changes in strategic assumptions, and to assist in the ongoing process of setting critical goals. The discussions that take place during an effective review session focus on both individual indicators and the big picture. Insights that take place during review sessions are significantly more valuable than simply analyzing numbers on paper.
If you are serious about success, don’t leave your inspiration and ideas to chance!
Written by Helene Mazur
Helene is the founder of Princeton Performance Dynamics, an executive coaching and strategic planning facilitation company for business and non-profit leaders and their teams. Helene’s passion is helping her clients to focus their goals, see new perspectives on their current situation, put in place realistic, motivating plans, and execute to achieve new levels of success.
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