What Does Success Look Like?

The title of this post is a question I would like you to start asking yourself and your team more.

“What does success look like?”

The aim of this question is to step back and think about the larger picture, whatever you’re working on. It forces you to place yourself into the future and examine what would happen if everything worked out exactly as planned.

For example, let’s say you are working on a new ad campaign. The campaign is designed to increase sales of a certain product which has been lagging. At some point during the initial strategy meetings, you ask the question: What does success look like?

Maybe the answer is, 10% growth in sales next quarter. Maybe the answer is, 3x brand mentions on social media related to this product. Maybe the answer is, 20% growth in foot traffic to the store.

Whatever the answer, assuming it is a realistic estimation of potential results, helps you keep the project in perspective. By defining expectations, you do two things for yourself and your team:

  1. Clear communication of expectations allows you to have discussions about priority. You would not spend months of time and thousands of dollars on something that realistically won’t move the needle much.
     
  2. It provides a benchmark against which you will compare actual results. If success looks like a 10% increase in sales, and you only see 3%, you know something went wrong. It gives you a tool to evaluate the project and fix it going forward.