What Does Success Look Like For Me? (Lesson 5)

Do you have a clear picture in your mind of what “mission accomplished” looks like? Do you know what you’re driving toward, what your energy and efforts are working to produce?

If your answer is simply a financial one—the profit motive—then we definitely need to talk!

Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t the slightest problem with making profits—big ones! I just know that the more a big profit is the sole goal, the less likely you are to experience that as an outcome.

I once heard the late Grahame Maher, the former brilliant CEO of Vodafone, say, “If you don’t know why you’re in business other than to make money, then you’ll never make money.”

He was no slouch whatsoever in terms of results. In his time at Vodafone New Zealand, he took the brand recognition of that company from 2% to 96%. Yet he knew the secret to real success was being driven by something deeper than just the bottom line.

Success Element – The Values Part

I had an excellent CEO early in my corporate career that drummed some ingenious ideas into us on a regular basis. One of those messages he regularly sent was simply this: “The way you get results matters!”

Results were important, or we didn’t have a business. But he knew there was a way to get results that ensured long-term success, not just at the next quarterly update.

What we’re really talking about here is values. What are the few core behavioural standards that matter most in the way we do business? What do we want to be known for beyond just our product or service?

Yum! Brands, a global company who are the owners of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, are obviously in the restaurant business. They make food and provide you with a place to eat it. Simple.

But, success for them is about much more than that. Their mission is “to build the world’s most loved, trusted, and fastest-growing restaurant brands.” Flowing from that, one of their organisational values is “customer mania.” To them, this looks like, “We act with urgency to ensure that every customer sees it and feels it [i.e. the customer mania] in every restaurant.”

Success doesn’t just look like running a restaurant that delivers food to people. Part of success for them is the way they do that, so that they build trust with their desired market.

When CEOs and organisations either don’t clearly define, or worse, depart from their core values, they breed malaise at best, and disdain at worst, from both customers and employees.

What matters to you and your organisation in the way you do business? Is it integrity? Is it speed or efficiency? Is it creativity? Is it fun? How do you want people to feel when they deal with your organisation?

These may sound like “soft” questions, but these are the questions that enduring, highly successful organisations are super-clear on.

Many organisations have been through a tick-the-box type process to identify organisational values, and have come up with some creative, clever, and interesting propositions… that are posters on a wall and not much else!

Truly identifying values is a much deeper, heart process that must engage the emotional realm of every staff member, starting with its leadership. Doing it well gives your organisation a “soul” that people innately connect to. It builds loyalty from customers and employees alike.

Once those values are identified, there’s something we MUST understand about values. Values aren’t truly values until you have suffered pain to defend and protect them. Until then, they are aspirational statements on a funky poster. This is true on the employee side and on the customer side.