Photo by Peter Solness
If you run your own company, you know how easy it is to get overwhelmed by all the day-to-day tasks to keep your business on target. But what about the employees in your company? How do they know what to focus on?
Author Bill McKibben had a similar problem. He had written a number of books on the environment, but he was having a hard time trying to tell people how the planet was doing. He was looking for a single message to share. After interviewing a number of scientists, he realized that the key message is “350” (as in 350 parts per million of CO2(ppm) – the safe upper limit scientists have identified). With this single number, he was able to spread his message around the world quickly – since it’s easy to say, easy to quantify, and easy to see how we’re doing.
In your organization, do you have a single clear target for everyone to see (and regularly get updated on)? It may be revenue, failures, returns, clients, web visits, click-thrus, or phone calls. But whatever you choose, make sure it’s clear to everyone what you’re measuring, how you’re measuring it, and what the importance of hitting this target is to everyone. You’re trying to create a feedback loop – a way of reacting to how well you’re achieving your goal.
The trick is to focus on the target while keeping your company’s values intact. It’s too easy to create a short-term win to hit the numbers and cause long-term havoc. Stock market investors focus on the share price and return, and often neglect the long-term goals for the company.
So, pick a measurable goal. Tell everyone its importance. Regularly update how you’re doing.