How do you measure whether you are succeeding or failing? What is your yardstick? A wrong measure gives wrong signals. You must carefully examine the quality of your measures. The year 2016 ended in high gear for us at summitcl.com. At our company, we launched our 2026 ten year strategy code named #Recognized Market Leader in Forensics, Security & Governance. To achieve this, we created annual milestones to help track progress. Our identified immediate priority as a firm was succession planning. It is one of our identified major business risks: the ability of the business to continue thriving past the original founders – yours truly.
And so our target by the year-end 2017 was set thus “admit at least two new partners to drive the Cyber Security and Forensics services line.” The measure of success was: two new partners in place by December 2017. It’s January 13th 2018. As the team leader, I failed terribly on this target based on the yardstick established to track progress. The fact is, up to now, we do not yet have the two new partners on board!
However, our firm got a strategic partnership in Kenya and Rwanda, and currently are consulting for three great companies in Kigali. Notwithstanding our successes in Uganda. Around February 2017, two potential partners were recruited on a performance basis but could not deliver on the targets agreed to assess the value they bring on the table as measured by client referrals and testimonials, plus new business generated as measured by signed contracts. After performance review around November 2017, none had delivered on the mutually agreed performance targets considering these were already experienced hires. They were asked to move on.
As a governance expert, I have realized that many leaders end up keeping mediocre or average performers just because the performance measures are dead wrong or not targets were set at recruitment. Some leaders recruit managers and give them employment contracts that are written like ‘political statements’ with job descriptions like ‘end poverty’, ‘education for all’, ‘end diseases’ etc. Of course none of these will ever be achieved in our lifetime. If you hire a new chief executive or manager, clearly state your expectations of how you will measure work well done by stating the performance measures clearly like “acquire and retain five (5) key clients each bringing a minimum of Ugx. 10m per month, with a 30% profit margin within the first eight months.”
In 2018, set clear targets and progress indicators. If you fail, don’t cry over spilt milk. Take lessons and reconfigure. Life is about embracing change but not resisting it. Happy 2018.