Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Creating Concrete Objectives

Seth Godin Recently posted a short blog about
The Problem With Unlimited. I think he explained the problem perfectly. By nature unlimited is not quantified, it is not concrete... Or in other words unlimited is abstract!

The abstract problem can be seen all over the business landscape. Too many Businesses want results but do not quantify what success looks like. In essence they leave the success line in unlimited territory. Clients of unlimited success feel underserved, Vendors of unlimited success are shocked when the relationship doesn't work out, and consumers look at giving initiatives unattached.

I prefer to work with jointly defined objectives for success, but this is scary. If I have an objective it means I can (and will) fail (from time to time). However it also means I will succeed/ exceed expectations.

Creating concrete objectives

#1 Define Success:: this seems simple but often the simple steps are the ones that get ignored!
How much money do you want to donate, how many units do you want to ship, How many followers, how many posts

This is step 1... if you cant do this dont waste your time reading anything else.

#2 Can "success" be made more concrete?
If its a dollar amount can that be translated to meals, if its units can you name them, if its followers are they customers

The brillance of Toms Shoes is the simple concrete message of "Give a pair get a pair". Consumers know when they buy a pair of toms they are giving a pair of shoes away... you can't get more concrete than that! Can you get that concrete? Can you get close? It is something worth your time!

#3 Establish benchmarks
Do you know how much you need to give per week, do you know how many units you need to ship per day, do you know how many customers you need to reach per hour

Look at step one... my guess is that there is a big goal (maybe 400 calls a week or 1600 calls a month) this is not a bad thing. If you want to be great that goal has to be big! But can you make your goal smaller? Breaking an objective down into sizable chunks helps make an objective less scary! If I need to make 400 calls a week that can be a frightening number to look at... If I cut that down to 10 calls an hour its suddenly easy.. 5 calls every half an hour becomes doable!

We want the big win...but big wins come from small steps!

#4 Be accountable
Does your boss know the goal, do your consumers understand the purpose, do your line works know the goal

Just because there is goal doesn't mean its worth your time! You client might decide its not a worthy goal (let them), your line workers might tell you that they can't push that much harder (evaluate that) your market study might indicate your consumers just dont care (accept it). Accountability requires flexibility because it is bringing in other voices. Once the other voices arrive walk through the process again
(not for the first time)... Look at the results and stick to them!