What does Success look like?

The are so many reasons why it’s important for us to define what Success looks like:

  • If you don’t know what Success looks like, how will you know when, or if, you have achieved it?
  • If I don’t know what Success looks like for you, how will I be able to say well done, congratulate you on your Success, or give you reward and recognition.
  • If we can agree with our business partners what Success looks like, we will have clear agreement on when we will be able to declare victory
  • Success breeds Success, but if we can’t clearly define that first Success then we cannot start the process of breeding Success.
  • If we know what success looks like, then we can come up with a plan to achieve it

As the saying goes “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will do”.

So in order to achieve Success, first we need to clearly define what Success looks like; then come up with a clear plan to achieve it

Once we have done that, then we know both our destination and also the way to get there, which significantly increases our probability of Success.

Success is a great motivator.

If we can define and agree what Success looks like; then when we achieve it we can celebrate it; then we can start to develop a Winning Culture.

To do this we need to identify intermediate successes, which are on the route to our ultimate Success.

When we define these successes they need to be meaningful but achievable, so we can start our journey to Success with some small successes and create motivation and momentum.

In an earlier post on “Reward and Recognition”, I gave an example of the improvement process we went through raising performance from rock bottom up to over 95%.

Here are the Success steps that were clearly identified

Step 1  – Measure our monthly performance

Step 2  – Achieve top performance in a single month

Step 3  – Achieve top performance 3 months in a row

Step 4  – Achieve 80% top performance for full year

Step 5  – Achieve 90% top performance for full year

For each step we had a clear definition of success and as we achieved each step there was some degree of reward and recognition, but each time we raised the bar a little higher.

Looking at this, most people are probably thinking that steps 1-3 are nothing to shout about.

But in order arrive at step 5, these earlier steps need to be completed, in fact they are the most important for us.

In step 1 we have actually defined what success looks like and we have started to measure ourselves against it.

In step 2 we have shown to ourselves that we can achieve success at least once, which is important because it generates belief.

In step 3 we have shown that we can repeat that Success for several months in a row, i.e. our Success is sustainable.

In step 4 we have shown that we are now striving for a high consistency of performance

So by clearly defining what Success looks like, the teams were able to come up with a plan to achieve it, I was able to celebrate their early Success, and lead us to a situation where Success started to breed Success, and ultimately we not only achieved step 5, but we surpassed it.

Furthermore, once teams get used to Success, they want more and they themselves will come up with ideas on how to raise the bar even higher, and achieve even more Success.