How do you define success? Does your definition include all dimensions or only measures and metrics? In our experience, most definitions of success are incomplete. Instead of a Future in 3D, success is one dimensional.
A complete definition of success ensures that everyone has a thorough understanding of the outcomes. You must be able to picture the success in your head as vividly as a movie or a memory of an event. Success definition involves being fully present in the experience of completing your project or goal.
Here are three dimensions of success:
- Results Measured – this is the typical success definition. It defines how much, by when, and who is doing what. Business results measured often include cost reduction, efficiency improvements or sales growth. Personal results measured could be weight lost, relationships restored or income gained.
- Results Experienced – this is a description of success in such a vivid way that everyone who hears it instantly understands and has the same mental, emotional and physical experience of the end state. Imagine a movie trailer that features your project or your goal. This is what must be captured in your success definition. Can you draw or describe a compelling image that clearly explains the future state?
- Results Sustained – is success really success if it does not last? Success definitions must include how to make the results last. For example, you can cut costs in an organization by eliminating the R&D budget. However, when there are no new products and no innovation emerging to support growth is that really successful cost cutting? One of our clients achieved the impossible last year by penetrating a new market in record time. Unfortunately that was accomplished by dedicated workers putting in 100 hour weeks. That’s not sustainable and we are now working with them to address some significant culture issues. The price of that success is not sustainable.
It takes time to thoroughly define success but it’s well worth the effort to fully engage the hearts and minds of anyone impacted. There is a quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” This captures the multi-dimensional picture of the 3D Future.
To achieve 3D success make sure your definition of the future includes the results measured, the results experienced and the results sustained.