High Achievement Companies Focus on the Invisible, Part IV

Business-Growth-Success image for servicesHigh Achievement Companies Focus on the Invisible, Part IV

Having worked with over 100 leadership teams over a 30 year period one of the most significant items I have concluded is that high achievement leadership teams and cultures do not follow the tide or trends often spoken about or that are present in the majority of companies.  While most companies focus on what can be seen physically, high achievement companies focus on building what can NOT be seen.  It sounds strange but the real power that drives high achievement is what is invisible but so clearly felt.  So what are these invisible factors that drive high achievement?  To date I have discerned five factors.
In the last 3 issues of “The Strategic Minute” I shared with you that the Leadership Team, a Strong Company Spirit, and Frequent and Organized Communication were 3 of 5 invisible factors that high achievement companies build into their organization.  Today I will share the 4th invisible factor: Few Critically Important Well Defined Goals.

Few Critically Important Well Defined Goals
High Achievement Companies focus on just a few critically important well defined goals during a given period of time and use their Communication Tempo© to ensure that team members are aware of and executing the goals.  The concept of focusing on just a few goals is simple to understand but it is NOT easy to execute because it requires saying ‘No’ to good ideas.  Saying ‘No’ to bad ideas is easy but saying ‘No’ to good ideas requires discipline.  Saying ‘No’ to new, exciting trends and discoveries takes focus.  This, however, is exactly what High Achievement companies do.  They say ‘No’ to the good ideas and exciting trends to stay focused on the Critically Important Goals.  Apple is an excellent example of a company that focuses on a few critically important goals as evident by the following statements made by both Steve Jobs and Tim Cook.

Steve Jobs said, “People think focus means saying “yes” to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying “no” to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying “no” to 1,000 things.”

Tim Cook, Apple CEO said, “We are the most focused company that I know of or have read of or have any knowledge of.  We keep the amount of things we focus on very small in number so that we can put enormous energy behind the ones we do choose.” 

So what is the optimal number of goals for a given period of time?   Based on my experience the maximum number of goals that a company can execute with excellence during a given period of time is 5 and the maximum number of goals that a team of people, such as a department, can execute with excellence is 3.

An additional component to this invisible factor is the concept of making sure the goals are well defined. High Achievement Companies define goals so there is a very clear understanding of what “Done” looks like.  For example, if implementing a new CRM system the goal statement would read, “Launch into production CRM system including training of all sales people in North America by year-end.”  This goal statement clarifies that “Done” includes having all the sales people in North America being trained. It is very clear as to what successful execution of this goal includes.

Does your company focus on a Few Critically Important Well Defined Goals?   

For more information on becoming a High Achievement Company, please contact me at  kathie.mcbroom at thinking-organization.com

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