Success: What It Means and How to Measure It - COTRUGLI
Which Path Are You Walking? – pt. 2
Don’t Compare and You Won’t Be Confused

Success: What It Means and How to Measure It

Sitting around a table with your colleagues at lunchtime, you might have found yourselves engaged in a conversation about the topic of “success”. The discussion might have begun with, “Oh, look at that guy from the xyz department, how successful he has become!” At that point, someone might have pointed out that, well, his is not “true success” since his personal life is in shambles. This could have sparked a heated conversation about what “success” truly means. Is it about earning a very high income? Is it about reaching the very top of the corporate hierarchy? Is it about successfully balancing personal and work life? Or is it about doing what you really, truly like, regardless of how others may judge you for it?

The Multifaceted Nature of Success

A lot could be said about success, no doubt. Different individuals may attach different meanings to the concept of success and may change the way they interpret success over time, as life experiences shift and enrich the way they perceive the world. According to the Collins dictionary, one of the definitions of success is “the achievement of something that you have been trying to do.”[1]

Setting Clear and Attainable Goals

Adopting this definition, to measure whether success has been reached, meaning one’s goals, aspirations, and desires have been achieved, it must be clear what those goals, aspirations, and desires were in the first place. What is it that you have been trying to do? In other words, one essential aspect of measuring success is setting clear and attainable goals. Success often starts with a vision, and defining your goals allows you to create a roadmap towards achieving them. These goals can be personal, professional, or a combination of both. They should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, making them easier to evaluate objectively.

Measuring Success in Business

The logic doesn’t apply to individuals alone; it can be applied to businesses as well. Has a company successfully executed its strategy? To answer this question, we need to ask: What was the strategy meant to achieve? This brings us to the question of whether the strategy formulation process effectively defined the company’s vision and mission statements and translated them into the “Level of Ambition.” The latter is an expression that indicates a small set of concrete, measurable indicators quantifying the goal the company intends to reach. That is why these indicators are also called “measures of success”: if the company has met those targets, then yes, it has successfully executed its strategy.

The Challenge of Metric Agreement in Organizations

Agreeing on the vision and mission of a company is often easier than agreeing on a set of metrics, which is why organizations may at times shy away from the latter. Sometimes, the intentional ambiguity and subjective nature of statements and words allow them to avoid the effort of reconciling diverse perspectives.

Therefore, adopting the discipline of translating words into measurable indicators compels both the organization and its leadership team to invest the effort and time required to ensure alignment and, ultimately, success.

Exploring the Path to Success

The process of understanding what success means to a company and how to devise thoughtful metrics is a challenging, yet inspiring and fulfilling journey. If you’re curious about how to make the process as streamlined and efficient as possible, then head over to the following link to discover the power of SiA – Strategy in Action!