Most companies make the mistake of defining business success in the same way that everyone else does in their industry. The problem with that is if you define success in a standard way, you make a standard impact. Why not, instead, think about making a truly unique and powerful difference in your industry?
Every industry has its own generic standards of success. General objectives in the airline industry, for example, are to offer competitive rates, get people to where they need to go, and to not crash in the process. Typical goals for a coffee shop would be to serve coffee that tastes good, quickly and at a competitive price. The litmus test for whether your standards are generic is whether you could transfer them to any other company in your industry without anyone noticing. It is so common for business goals to be standardized that it is rare to see any organization make an extraordinary impact.
Are you tired of holding yourself to the same bar as everyone else? Then you need to find a way that your company can stand out from the crowd and make the greatest impact. There are three key components for achieving this.
#1 – Know Your Why
As I mentioned in my blog Libraries – Staying Relevant in the Digital Age, it is essential to understand your organization’s intrinsic reason for existence and the impact that you want to it to make in the world. As Simon Sinek coined, you need to “Start with Why.”
Ask yourself, “What tangible change will happen in the world if we live out our Why?” For example, Starbucks didn’t define its Why as a place to buy good coffee and a comfortable place to sit. Rather, they defined their impact as a place to create deeper human connections – a place where people come together to do business, where old friends can reconnect and new connections can be made. This is radically different than the goal of most coffee shops and, for that reason; it creates a longer lasting impact.
#2 – Know the Measure of Success
You need to clearly envision and define your business’s Ideal State in order to know when you have reached it. In other words, it is not enough to describe what success looks like; you also need to be able to determine when you achieve it.
Southwest defined its success as making air travel affordable for everyone. This was a radical idea when it began operating, since at that time the price of air travel was out of reach for many Americans. Today Southwest is the world’s largest low-cost carrier, has revolutionized the industry and its business model has been repeated many times around the world. By every measure, Southwest achieved its goal and created a huge impact.
#3 – Push the Boundaries
If your impact goals are not scary or intimidating, then they aren’t radical. You need to push the boundaries of your “comfort zone” to achieve extraordinary impact. In 1961 President John F. Kennedy gave a historic speech where he articulated his goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Talk about making an impact! It would have been safe and comfortable to say, “Let’s make better space ships.” But no, he made a radical goal that, in the end, achieved radical results. Just over eight years after Kennedy’s famous speech, NASA’s Apollo 11 mission landed the first men on the moon.
Isn’t it time for your company to make a radical impact? You can start by sitting down with your key team and asking these three questions: What’s our organization’s Why? What is our measure of success? Do our goals feel impossible or scary?
Need help? Reach out to the Improve Group and let our team of experts lead you through the process.