Please Define “IT”

I see it all the time. It has happened at every company I’ve worked. Everyone does it. Some just do it more than others. We say we want to do something, we are going to do something or we start to do it, but we never say what “it” is.

At work “it” is we need to be more efficient. We need to reduce the cost of sales. We need to more net new customers. We need to reduce DSO’s (Days Sales Outstanding) We need to improve forecasting accuracy. We’re going to strengthen our product line. We’re going to improve production. We’re going to improve call times, etc. I think you get it. At work we spend a lot of time, committing to improve, strengthen, increase, and reduce. The problem is, far too often we don’t define what we mean by improve, increase, strengthen or reduce.

At home it’s we need to save more, and spend less. We need to lose weight and eat more healthy. We need to spend more time with the kids and less time at the office. But just like at work, we don’t define it. How much is more time with the kids. How much is save more and how less is spend less? How much weight is to be lost and what is healthy eating?

It’s easy to say your going to improve, reduce, increase, or do more. It’s easy because without definition success is inevitable. Loose a 1/2 pound, spend an extra 10 minutes with your kids, add a single net new customer, shorten your DSO’s by a day, no matter how insignificant to the big picture, you’ve done what you set out to do. However, the objective shouldn’t be to lose a pound or to improve forecasting accuracy. It should be to make an impact.

If you want to make an impact define: increase, reduce, improve, strengthen. If you want to just reach your goals don’t.