How Do You Define Success, and Does It Align With Your People?

How you define success determines what results you should expect. Read on to learn how to align your success definition with your team’s for the best results.

published Sep 13, 2023

Success means different things to different people. For a startup, success could be raising funds or gaining wide market adoption. But for an enterprise, it could be onboarding the next big multi-billion-dollar client. Either way, success is the accomplishment or fulfillment of a purpose.

As an entrepreneur or business executive, how you define success will determine your goals and actions as an organization. That’s why you must ensure your definition of success aligns with that of your employees or teammates; otherwise, you will all be working to achieve different results. If you’re looking forward to achieving more with your teammates and hitting better milestones, read on to learn how to define your company’s success and align it with your team.

Three Steps to Align Your Definition of Success

You and your team may define success differently right now. The following steps will help you get back on the same page.

1. Define Success From a Leadership Standpoint

As a leader, it’s common to attach business success to numbers and increased return on investment (ROI). So, to start, outline the metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) you are looking for to determine success.

Although metrics can give you clear-cut directions, they should not be your organization's only measure of success. Great leaders also measure success by how much impact they make. For instance, you can say you are successful in staff care if you have adequately imparted your core values and vision to them.

This way, your employees should be able to carry on with little or no supervision from you. You must first reevaluate how to define success on your own. When you have improved and broadened your definition of success, you can extend that definition to your team.

2. Survey Employees to Gauge How They Define Success

After reevaluating yourself, you should gauge how your employees define success. Do not hesitate to ask them this question directly: “How do you define success?” Watch how their answers diverge.

To successfully carry out this survey, you can conduct a one-on-one interview with your staff or create a questionnaire (soft or hard copy) where they can provide answers. The goal is to get honest individual opinions.

Most of the answers from the survey will be similar for a company that is aligned and united in purpose. On the other hand, employees who lack alignment will give extremely different answers based on their levels of exposure. You must understand that several factors will influence the answers.

First and foremost, people will gravitate to things they are good at. Thus, a sales rep will define success as an increase in sales, while HR personnel can see success as a conducive work environment free from conflict. So, it's best to keep an open mind when setting expectations.

This question is also a must-ask If you are worried about the failure of your team to execute corporate goals and strategies. About 40% of managers cite poor goal alignment as the leading challenge hindering effective company strategy execution. So, if you can successfully align your team, you're already headed in the right direction.

3. Consider How Success Might Look for Those in Different Roles

When the survey is over, the next step is to personally define success for the various positions/roles in your company. Depending on your firm's size, you should know every employee by name and job description.

Go ahead and write down things you feel should define success for each of them based on their job roles. Compare your answers with the responses you got from the surveys. You're on track if your list aligns with theirs to a reasonable extent.

If not, you need to slow down and give them a proper orientation again. There's no harm in slowing your pace to connect with your team and ensure everyone is still on track. Sadly, research shows that only 78% of business leaders focus on actively engaging their employees. Not doing this has dire consequences, including unclear assumptions and unrealistic expectations.

Tips for Creating Stronger Alignment

Alignment in the workplace simply means that every company member understands their goals properly and works towards achieving success. Defining success itself is the first step, but it doesn’t stop there. These tips can help you create stronger alignment in your workplace:

  • Highlight team accomplishments: One thing that will keep your team members on track is recognition. Always celebrate the milestones and goals they achieve to make them feel appreciated. Appreciation and recognition will drive them to perform better at their tasks.

  • Set clear goals: Every goal you set for your team should pass the “SMART” test. This means goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based. Do not set goals in perpetuity and without a clear-cut evaluation method.

  • Have regular check-ins: One common mistake some leaders make after defining success is to set goals and then leave their teams to navigate on their own. As a team leader, this is not ideal. You should check in regularly with your staff to see how they are faring. We often focus on results, but the process is just as important.

  • Practice effective communication and transparency: Effective communication is important in every organization, whether you work remotely or not. Communication and transparency will bring everyone in the organization up to speed with corporate targets and ensure no gray areas.

  • Use the right team alignment tools: Sometimes, misalignment problems stem from the fact that most teams do not have the proper communication tools. SaaS tools like Trello, Asana, Slack, and Microsoft Teams will help you foster better communication and keep the team aligned. You can also define success based on how well your employees leverage these tools for maximum productivity.

  • Hold regular meetings: What's a team without meetings? While holding regular meetings is ideal, don’t make them so frequent that they lose their relevance. When will team members have time to focus on their work? Ensure the meetings are important and straight to the point. Any other information may be communicated through chats. Also, using tools like Google Meet, Zoom, and Skype, you can easily do virtual meetings regardless of where you or your team members may be.

Benefits of Staying Aligned

Research shows that only 20% of employees in the US are passionate about their jobs. This is a far cry from what is required in the workplace to ensure growth. Knowing how to define success correctly and helping your team stay aligned can ignite passion in your employees and ensure they give their best. Some of the benefits that come with staying aligned as a team include:

  • Faster decision-making: When there is alignment, there will be no need for unnecessary disagreements and arguments since there is a singularity of purpose and vision. Thus, it is easy to make decisions.

  • Better use of resources: Since all goals are geared toward the same vision, alignment in an organization will ensure the productive and efficient use of resources. You can rest assured that at any time, your team is actualizing the firm’s vision.

  • Increased leadership credibility: Aligned leaders will produce more significant results and efficiently deliver on their promises. Consequently, this will improve your reputation and perception among employees as they strive to emulate you.

  • Better employee engagement: Every staff member holds so much potential, but you may be unable to identify their best qualities when there is a lack of unity. Staying aligned will ensure that every team player puts their best foot forward.

  • Increased customer satisfaction: Team alignment trickles down to your customer service quality. Proper service delivery from an aligned team leads to an increased customer satisfaction score, improving their likelihood of referring your brand to friends and family.

  • Greater employee autonomy: One sign that the members of an organization are aligned is autonomy. Everyone knows what is required of them. The system becomes seemingly automated and can function without constant supervision.

  • Greater accountability: Alignment helps you create a system of accountability within the company that can positively impact the overall organizational framework. Since there is a proper understanding of individual roles in the company, it becomes easier for people to be accountable for their actions or inaction.

  • Enhanced career development: Alignment helps amplify people's strengths in an organization. By implication, they also get to see their weaknesses and easily improve on them.

Start Your Successful Alignment Journey

Every organization aims to make a profit and remain successful. This begins with asking the right questions and taking the right steps. So far, the basic answer to the question, “How do people define their success?” is that they tie their success to their roles in work and overall vision.

It is only with proper team alignment that this corporate dream can become a reality. That’s why you need all the help you can get to ensure your team stays aligned. At Foreword Companies, we firmly believe that business owners and executives can excel and grow their businesses to their desired heights.

We take pride in our ability to help various teams stay on track and advance to the next level. You can be a part of the excellent work we do and enjoy steady business growth and success. Schedule a call today to get started and learn more about how we can help your team stay aligned in goals, vision, and success.

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