Go Crazy About Your Company Goal

Here is a radical thought: take the one most important parameter you measure in your business and publish it. I don’t mean publish as in a press release. I mean make it available in real time, 24/7 to your customers, employees and competitors.

Let’s start with the basics. Each business should have one or a few key parameters it should measure. Jack Welsh, GE legendary Ex-CEO, once said that “you don’t get what you expect, you get what you inspect.” If you want to be the best in customer service, for example, you have to figure out what it means for YOUR customers. Is it speed? Technical knowledge of your people? Politeness? Whatever it is, it is crucial to find a way to measure the goal and do it often.

When it comes to measuring, there are several types of businesses: the lowestgoals on the totem pole have no clear goals they measure. They run the business in their heads. You can run a small business like this but you cannot get too far. The next type developed goals, but did not develop ways to measure them. It is a step in the right direction since the employees have common goals and a sense of direction, but it does not provide feedback to the business and therefore fails to drive the business to the next level. More sophisticated businesses will set goals and even measure them. By the way, SMBs tend to measure less (“it is all in my head”), but they should measure just as much. It needs to cascade to everyone’s head.

In a sense, this should the minimum for every business: set key goals, make sure they are measurable, and share the results with every single employee. This system works like magic in call centers, where big plasma screens show real time information on the call center’s performance. Ask support center employees: they don’t take long lunch breaks when all numbers are red.

Now, let’s be radical: why not take the number which is most important to you and make it available via your website to everyone? Imagine the benefits: you are pointing a searchlight to the most important factor of your business and making everyone look there. This exposure makes everyone committed and accountable to be the best in the world. It is like those restaurants with a glass wall to the kitchen—you don’t think they are clean—you KNOW they are.

I watched a presentation of a software startup this week. The promise they made was product implementation in 12 weeks or under. This is a breakthrough in their industry, as the typical cycle is measured in months. Not weeks. I met the CEO later that day and told him that the vision is great, but everybody in the industry says they have short implementation cycles. It is just not believable. The CEO went passionate on me: he said that he was personally fanatic about this number. He said that he has all projects on his dashboard and every consultant knows that it is either under 12 weeks or a pink slip. This is how serious he was. I believed him, but it took a one-on-one meeting to drive this message home. My question to him: if you have it on your dashboard, why not publish it on your website? Obviously you will have to scramble the customers’ names for privacy, but all the rest can be shared. Imagine the impact: all of a sudden everyone in the industry will watch your numbers and talk about your 12 weeks’ implementation, and all your employees, from sales to R&D and service, will do whatever they can to improve these numbers.

What about the competition? If they use your numbers against you, invite them to publish their own numbers or forever hold their peace. If you are crazy enough about your goal that you are willing to make it available to the world in real time, rest assured your numbers are better than theirs…

Gadi Shamia

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Go Crazy About Your Company Goal

2 thoughts on “Go Crazy About Your Company Goal

  1. “He said that he has all projects on his dashboard and every consultant knows that it is either under 12 weeks or a pink slip.”

    Ugh. Have you seen the film Gung Ho?

    I’d imagine scenes of some of this guy’s launches could end up like the end of that film:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gung_Ho_(film)

    I’m sure it all depends on the project / client / developer / etc; it may in fact be doable if everything is well scoped enough, the PM is on top of things and the developers aren’t slacking.

    Perhaps it was just that line “or a pink slip” that implies that the onus is on the developers; if this guy were truly like Jack Welsh he’d make sure he has the right people in there in the first place, and if he is putting unreasonable expectations on devs, then that is his problem & not his superstars. (if he can’t find superstars, perhaps it’s that kind of attitude in the first place that is the problem)

  2. Shanti

    Thanks for your reply. I think that your point (“he project / client / developer / etc”) is exactly the message this CEO is trying to drive: we all need to work together toward this one goal, which is our biggest differentiation. I think the “pink slip” comment was mainly to emphasis the importance of the gaol and I respect it. I have seen companies that promised X days of implementation and actually delivered for the first months but than the developer got more requests and made the product more complicated, the consultant wanted to sell more billable hours and the project manager got lost. The result was 10X days. This is the value of setting and publishing a goal- just to keep everyone honest…

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