Deliver Results | Fundamental # 14

Conventional wisdom holds that “it’s the effort, not the result, that matters”.

While this may be a great concept for parenting, is it realistic for the business world?

Picture this: you’re excited about the growth opportunities ahead of your entire team and you have a key position you need to fill.

In the stack of resumes you are reviewing, one stands out, saying essentially:

Company X: I tried really hard to do my job
Company Y: I made a concerted effort to fulfill my responsibilities

Though this is clearly an exaggerated illustration, chances are good this wouldn’t be your top candidate.

Instead, you are scanning resumes for results, e.g. “achieved ____, grew ____, launched _____, conceived ______, implemented ______”, etc.

You and your team are measured by your results, vis-à-vis goals.

However, it is the company leadership which decides what those goals are to be.

In his excellent book, Measure What Matters, author John Doerr notes that “an effective goal-setting system starts with disciplined thinking at the top, with leaders who invest the time and energy to choose what counts.”

In my opinion, the most important concept in the book is summarized in that quote; it is the responsibility of leaders to choose goals that matter.

Only then does the necessary system of waterfalling those goals through the organization with key OKRs (objectives and key results) work effectively.

Which goals will actually make a difference? Which will set the company apart from the competition? Achieve stockholders’ requirements?

It’s also important to note that effort should, in fact, be encouraged and rewarded.

A safe environment, in which people are motivated to try new ideas and not penalized if the idea doesn’t succeed, is essential to real innovation. Thomas Edison himself famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.

We included concepts from Doerr’s book in our recent annual Leadership Summit. We enjoyed hosting a very engaged crowd of attendees and, if you were not able to make it, look forward to seeing you at next year’s Summit.

Watch this space for information and in the meantime, please let us know your thoughts about our posts and how we can help you achieve YOUR goals.

Best regards,



Fundamental #14 | Deliver Results

While effort is appreciated, what gets recognized and rewarded are results. Set high goals, don’t overpromise, track and measure your progress, then hold yourself accountable for delivering on the results.

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