Beyond the Numbers: Unconventional Ways to Measure Success

Businessman in a meetingAs 2016 comes to a close, top leaders in organizations across the world will gather together to evaluate how their year went. From success stories to opportunities for improvement, taking an overview of where your company is at the end of the year can be one of the most encouraging and helpful things you can do for your company and employees.

If your end goal is to have a stronger team and set up your organization for success in 2017, simply analyzing gross margin dollar, market penetration, and overhead isn’t going to inspire employees or get you any closer to being top dog in your industry. Knowing where your firm is from a fiduciary stand point is one small aspect in measuring your achievements. To fully appreciate the year you’ve had, take a deeper dive beyond the numbers and use these unconventional ways to measure success.

Moral Victories

Whether it was abstaining from doing a merger with a company that had a less-than-stellar history or letting an employee go who didn’t hold fast to your organization’s values, moral victories can sometimes be just as life-giving as conventional success. Take a look at this past year and highlight the times your team was on the right side of ethical issues. Will there be one or two times you weren’t? Maybe. But, the point remains to strive toward excellence in all facets of your business and be the leader of good in your community.

Ethics in the work place isn’t just helpful for an organization’s conscience—it attracts great employees.  A study by information technology company IBM found that of the two biggest generations in the workforce, Baby Boomers and Millennials, 35% say their ideal boss is ethical and fair; 37% of Gen Xers cite the same attribute.

Employee Retention and Engagement

Successful businesses know that retaining an engaged workforce is fundamental to ensure lasting market competitiveness. Yet surprisingly, organizations struggle with this very thing. According to a Gallup Poll, 66% of employees in 2016 were either not engaged or actively disengaged in their current job. Having a team of disengaged employees ensures warm bodies, but mentally checked-out workers.

However, if you have a team that is in that 34% group, your organization already has a leg up on the competition. By creating a culture focused on engagement, you will see a change in productivity, involvement, and creativity. Take a moment to evaluate the turnover rate in your office and determine engagement among your employees. Celebrate with those who have proven to be your highest engaged workers. Likewise, work with those who may be less engaged in the office to determine future steps that need to be taken.

Sound Communication

A company can have the best sales numbers and the largest market share of any other competitor, but if they don’t have good communication within the organization, sooner or later the momentary prosperity may start to wane. The lack of sound communication can actually hinder a team’s productivity. According to a poll by Refresh Leadership, 29% of respondents cited “poor communication” as the number one reason why teamwork fails. A separate Refresh Leadership poll found “poor leadership” and “unclear goals/strategies” to be the biggest causes of workplace communication breakdown. The correlation between long-term success, employee engagement, and workplace communication is undeniable.

As the calendar turns over from 2016, appraise your company’s internal communication strategy and effectiveness. During this “man-in-the-mirror” moment, bring your employees in on the discussion. Find out how they feel about your communication skills and ask how to better them. Don’t forget to celebrate the areas of discourse in which you and your team have succeeded.

Compare Yourself to Your Past, Not Others

One of the biggest mistakes people and companies alike do is compare themselves to others. The desire to see how you stack up to your competitors may be tempting, but try to avoid this particular measure of success. The most successful people tend to continue to improve themselves by comparing where they are now to where they were then.

This is especially true with companies. As you look at this past year, examine the specific goals you and your team created and began in January. For the ones you achieved, celebrate. For the goals you didn’t reach—don’t fret, regroup and determine if they need to be reevaluated. Discuss with your team about the outside and inside influences that kept you from success. Then, put what you learned to practice to go for the goal in the coming year. Understanding where you and your company are compared to your past selves is a truer measure of your achievements this year.

Beyond the Numbers: Unconventional Ways to Measure Success

As the year closes and you begin to develop your goals and aspirations for next year, take a moment to go deeper in your year-end evaluation. What moral victories did your company experience this year? What have you done to slow down your turnover rate and create a culture of engagement? How have you focused on open communication within your organization? Have you gotten sidetracked by comparing yourself to others or have you looked at how far you’ve come as a team from where you started? Get past the numbers. Don’t focus too hard on the ROI. Celebrate the uncommon wins of the year, and build on your unconventional success. It may be the very focus needed to have the breakout year you’ve been striving for.

How does your company measure success? What unconventional standards have you used to evaluate your year? Let us know in the comments section below!

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