Breaking Down Success
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been undertaking a complete overhaul of Supercharge Lab’s strategy, culture, processes, and people development. We are at a tipping point in terms of building the momentum for a hockey stick growth. While fleshing out our core values and team attributes, I expanded on the culture of excellence and raising the bar, and realized quickly that holding each person accountable for their development is essential.
I started to think hard about measuring excellence and what that meant for the company. I knew early on that it was unhelpful to implement metrics that were too distant a reality for the entire team to own, but also knew that the design of metrics could not seek to create a culture of being busy without impact.
I read with interest about Amazon’s focus on input metrics — measurements of the things that needed to go right to produce great outcomes. It dawned on me that oftentimes we as leaders focus solely on the outcomes that we need to achieve and forget to break them down into SMART goals for the people around us.
I recalled that, while growing up, I chanced upon a quote by a family friend — that success is measured by the success of the people around you — and now was the time for me to focus on developing the success of the people within the organization for the organization to be successful.
This provided significant fuel for my overhaul of the organization. I started to break down “success” in each role within the organization, streamlined every task put upon each colleague, provided insight into the required input metrics for each role, gave insight into how to measure the quality of each process, and modeled the likely outcomes that we would expect to see.
Turning the success flywheel starts with getting the flywheel to first turn, build increasing momentum, acceleration, and then maintenance. The DMAIC model is a core tool used to drive Six Sigma projects, and refers to “define, measure, analyze, improve and control”. To build continuous improvement of your success metrics, you must first define what success looks like to you, and carefully model the input metrics that would give rise to such successes. Most folks I know would go through the definitions of success metrics and skip quickly to “improve” and “control” — which often ends in tears.
The “define” phase is about defining the challenge, problem, or outcome, and setting the goals that you want to achieve. Without this step, the ivory tower of success that we are attempting to build crumbles without its foundations. Some basic steps towards defining the challenge would be to start with the customer in mind, before narrowing the challenge to key problem statements. Once the understanding of key problem statements has been accomplished, setting a SMART goal is essential.
You can read more about the DMAIC model online, which sets a good framework to build continuous improvement within organizations.
How do you define success in your organization? Let me know in the comments!
By Anne Cheng