How do you measure success? – A tip for your objectives in 2014
January 21, 2014 Nancy Slessenger This entry was posted in Leaderhip skills, SMART Objectives and tagged Evan Davis, leadership skills, Michael Fallon, Royal Mail, SMART Objectives. Bookmark the permalink.
The sale of Royal Mail
Evan Davis, presenter on the Today Program, BBC Radio 4, interviewed Michael Fallon,
Minister for Business and Enterprise about the recent sale of Royal Mail. Evan was concerned about the fact that the share price as gone up from £3.30/share to £5.61 in the three months since the floatation, possibly indicating that the shares were somewhat undervalued and the sale has cost the Exchequer about £1.4bn.
Evan asks Michael Fallon for his assessment of the sale, 3 months on:
“What’s your conclusion as you look back?”
Here’s Michael Fallon’s response:
“Well, it was a successful sale. You expect successful IPOs to go to a premium after they’ve been launched and that’s been no surprise throughout most of last year that shares that were launched on the stock exchange did go up in value, nobody’s lost anything here, on the contrary; we’ve gained.”
Evan was clearly completely perplexed at this point:
“What, what, what, what, what?”
Then he asked almost in tones of disbelief:
“You think it was a successful sale?”
Of course it turned out that Fallon’s definition of ‘success’ was the fact that they had managed to sell it at all.
This is often a problem with goals and objectives
Your idea of what success means is different to that of your manager.
Another poor sales example
It reminded me of a situation I witnessed during my first year in a real job. The company I worked for was part of a large group and we desperately needed to hit our sales target. There were just four weeks to go. Our sales team went all out selling everything they could. The good news was they had a record month.
The bad news was that it was achieved by selling everything at a loss.
What was the objective?
I wonder if we will ever know what the true objective of the sale of the Royal Mail was. It would seem that it wasn’t to get a good price for it. Sadly, I also suspect it wasn’t to ensure that we here in the UK all have a reliable postal service that meets our requirements.
The real objective
The trouble is, when you don’t know what the real objective was, you can’t help but get a little suspicious. And if you don’t know how to measure the success of your own objectives, how can you make sure you will be successful.
Ask this question
Here’s a great question you can use either as a manager or employee:
If you are the manager, ask your team member:
How will you know you have been successful in achieving this objective?
If you are the team member ask your manager:
How will you know I have been successful in this objective?
My suggestion is that you get that agreed right at the beginning and write it down. It will make things so much easier at the end of the year.
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