As I’ve written previously, clear, unambiguous and powerful #1 goal can have a transformative effect on the success of your business (see here). I worked with Topps Tiles, for instance, to establish a #1 goal for the business of growting their market share in the UK retail tile market from 25% to 33% over a four-year period. The goal made a difference. Not only did sales grow by 17% to £200 million, but annual profits doubled to £17 million. As Matt Williams, the CEO of UK retailer Topps Tiles, put it, “Our goal galvanized the entire organisation and has been a key part of our success.

But how do you create an effective and powerful goal that will drive the actions and behaviours of managers and teams from across your business? There are three factors you need to focus on:

  1. Does the goal drive our financial engine? The goal in itself doesn’t need to be financial, but it does need to drive financial performance. Topps Tiles’ share growth translated into sales and profit improvements. Management didn’t simply aim for share growth at any cost, but did so in a profitable way that ensured the benefits of any improvements in market share added to the bottom line.
  2. Can managers influence the goal? The goal should not be remote or abstract. It should be something that your managers and teams feel they can influence and control. At Topps, local store managers, for example, could build their local market share by developing stronger relationships with local tradesmen, while head office teams could influence the results through better range management, pricing management and new store openings.
  3. Does the goal build organisational engagement and commitment? The goal must be easy to understand and works best where there is some level of emotional commitment from your teams. This is why profit or shareholder goals have such little impact outside of the boardroom; they simply don’t connect with the reasons that your people work for the business. Topps Tiles’ market share goal chimed with colleagues’ desire to work for a winning and growing business that was better than its competitors.

Why not spend an hour with your team, identifying a goal that meets these three objectives? If you do, and if you pursue that goal with focus, discipline and determination, you might just find that, like Topps Tiles, you can transform your results.

© Stuart Cross 2015. All rights reserved.