To get the most of orchestrating change, first define what success will look like.

Often, you may find yourself facing situations that you don’t want. Most people are very clear about what they want to avoid in the future. Successful people pay more attention to what they do want.

Define and share your vision of success.

In order to set yourself and others on an intentional path toward a worthwhile objective, you must share a vision of success.

For long-term objectives, it’s smart leadership to define what successful progress looks like. Doing so keeps people energized, better able to prioritize what to focus on, and able to more nimbly move through challenges—together.

How might you start?

When I work with a client, we begin with a strategic objective that could take three years to fully realize. We’ll then identify the critical shifts needed along the way, and then look more closely at the next year, then each quarter, until we’ve backtracked to the upcoming quarter.

The questions to answer are:

These steps go in order. You should revisit them at least once each quarter for a longer-term objective and more frequently for a shorter but still significant objective.

Because if what success will look like isn’t clear for all at first, or if for some reason that changes, then the rest of the points in this list will change.

For example, one client I worked with knew that their legal department of about 15 people (plus at least 200 contracted attorneys working at any one time on different cases) were not delivering the outcomes that the organization needed to thrive.

The board believed the issue was with management. Yet they had chosen to work around the issue for about six years, fearing a change would make matters worse.

Defining success was critical for them to finally make organizational changes, to clearly convey the values and performance they expect in the workplace, and to gain commitment and focus on rebuilding a team that could deliver results.

What’s next?

Over the next few posts, I’ll touch on each of the 5 points: What will success look like? What then, will progress look like? What will be hard? Who/what can help? And Best next steps and measures.

For this client, what success looked like was a legal department working in better harmony and collaboration with key internal and external offices, to deliver results on five on-going cases that were important to the organization, and significantly reduce the backlog of internal legal matters related to other government departments and the community.

Do this now.

Consider a strategic objective, for you, or your organization or team. And then ask, “What will success look like?”

Let me know the ideas or questions you have and the next step you take!


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