How to win: Inspire, Act, Measure.
Every organisation we work with strives to perform better every day.
They are on missions to change the world for the better, in their own unique ways.
The people who work there are smart, and resourceful.
But the world does not serve up any free meals.
Read on to find out what makes a winning organisation.
There are twists and turns, and ups and downs. For every incredible person in your organisation, there are hundreds of equally talented and motivated people working for your competitors. For every breakthrough, dozens of new challenges appear.
So how do you win? (I’ll leave you to define what winning means…)
Based on working with 100s of organisations, we’ve observed common characteristics of winning organisations:
Winning organisations inspire members to believe in something meaningful, encourage and empower them to take massive action, and measure progress diligently, shared openly.
Inspire – Something to believe in
Whether it’s an inspiring vision of what the future could look like, a powerful mission statement what the organisation wants to do for the world, or a belief in the equal and awesome potential of every member of the team which inspire commitment and loyalty, winning organisations give their members something to believe in.
Vision & Mission
Winning organisations rely on a powerful vision and sense of purpose to inspire their members to achieve amazing things. Defining and delivering a compelling vision of the world as it could be. The mission statement clarifies how the organisation will bring about their vision of the future.
Winning organisations develop a sense of self-awareness to allow them to articulate the shared values of the members of the organisation. These core values are communicated often and every member of the organisation commits to uphold the core values through their behaviour, decisions, and actions.
Winning organisations foster a growth mindset. Every member of the organisation is valued for their equal potential. In trusting the members of the organisation to learn, and their collective ability to solve problems, anything is possible, and problem solving is just another opportunity to learn and grow.
Take Massive Action
Every success is underpinned by a huge amount of hard work. Winning organisations take it one step further.
Action over Inaction
In a changeable, complex environment, seeking perfect information or conditions prior to taking action is counter productive. A winning organisation is action biased, supported by transparent data sharing, trust (see below) and a commitment to learn from every action, successful or not.
When you trust everyone completely, amazing things happen. In a winning organisation, members are free to make decisions according to their interpretation of available information. Likewise, they feel free to ask for help, trusting peers and managers to help without fear of adverse judgment.
With every action follows a potential lesson. Each outcome helps confirm or reject the preexisting hypothesis to improve future decisions. Celebrating failure is popular these days, but learning from successes is just as important and often overlooked.
Measure everything (that matters…)
One of our tag lines is ‘Measure Everything. Improve What Counts’. Importantly this predated the much better tagline by John Doerr, ‘Measure What Matters’, which is the title of his most recent book. Credit where credit is due.
North Star Metric
Winning organisations have one metric which matter more than any other. These North Star metrics serve as proxies for the performance of the organisation as a whole. Crucially, they are only very rarely traditional financial lagging indicators such as revenue, profits, or cash.
Winning organisations are open and share information freely. The information is made available via easily accessible and actionable dashboards via desktop browsers, mobile devices, and on live displays in office environments. Any information needed to support decision making, or provide general context is available to anyone in the organisation.
Focus on Leading Indicators
While every business person knows the importance of revenue, profits, and cash flows, winning organisations understand that financial performance depends on great performance across several leading indicators. Learning & Development underpins Operational Excellence, which drive Customer Satisfaction, and so on. Knowing, tracking and rewarding performance against leading performance indicators is essential.