Quick quiz: Which answer would you prefer if you were the one asking the question?
Did you get your grades up?
a) I studied more and spent more time at school.
b) Yes, my grades now all B’s or better, up from C’s and D’s.
Did you sell more of our company’s chocolate?
a) We spent $100,000 in advertising and had sales reps pitch over 100 grocery store chains a special chocolate package.
b) Our sales of chocolate are 50% higher this year than last year, increasing our profits by $500,000.
Have you impacted our school’s students with free textbooks?
a) We formed a committee that meets regularly. We also held a workshop and a webinar.
b) Compared to last year of 600 students using free textbooks, we now have 3,000 students using free textbooks, saving them approximately $300,000 this year. Our class drop rate has declined by 10%, and our students are doing as well or better in the courses with free textbooks.
Did you increase our employee retention?
a) We conducted a survey and found out why our employees are unhappy. We plan to have a forum to share the results. Then we will decide next steps.
b) Currently we’re losing 10% of our workforce each year. We conducted a survey and used those results to create the following next steps. Our goal in the next 12 months is to use these steps (including a forum) to reduce our employee turnover to 5% from the current 10%.
Actions (all a’s above) are important steps to results and they can be powerful goals on the way to results, but they aren’t results. To be truly successful in your initiative, decide what result (all b’s) you want to see, and measure your success by that.