5 Steps in Achieving Success

October 20th, 2009

Everyone wants success. The difficulty with achieving success results because it hasn’t been clearly defined. I am going to give you a 5 step approach to achieve success and build the value. The secret to creating value and achieving success starts with a vision for what you want to achieve and how you define success and the steps that are associated with it. The 5 steps necessary to achieve success are:

1. Create a Vision for Success

2. Set Objectives

3. Develop a Strategy for Making it Happen

4. Build Action Plans

5. Evaluate Performance

Following these 5 steps and documenting them are essential to keep your life or your business on track. This doesn’t need to be a complicated process, and in fact, the simpler the better. However, putting these steps into a written document is essential and helps to build the commitment necessary to convert the vision for success into reality.

1. Create a Vision for Success

A mission statement should be brief and focused. It can be nothing more than a few words or phrases that provide a description of how you define success for you and your business. It should become a living document about where you’re headed going down the road. When you define where you are going you have a better chance of getting there.

Your vision statement should spell out where you plan on going and the steps required for getting there. There needs to be a link with the goals and objectives required for achieving the desired level of success. The best vision statements are simple and straight forward. Keep it simple and spell it out in contrast to just thinking about it. Writing the vision versus thinking about it is usually the difference between success and failure.

2. Setting Objectives

After establishing a vision for success, the next step in the process it setting goals and objectives. Setting goals and objectives stems from the vision statement and assessing current performance and the major issues that need to be addressed and how they relate to strategy to accomplish your objectives.

Objectives should specify measureable results that need to be accomplished together with a target date or a time span for completing it. Objectives should be as specific and quantitative (measurable and verifiable) as possible. Development of objectives should specify only what and when it needs to be accomplished and should not venture in to the why and how. Objectives and goals should relate directly to crafting a strategy to achieve your objectives.

3. Develop a Strategy to Make it Happen

Strategy corresponds to the actions and approaches necessary to achieve your objectives and fulfill your vision. The components of strategy include deciding on those attributes which offer the best chance to achieve your objectives or to gain a competitive edge. Strategy is where you focus on the skills, expertise, and competitive capabilities that will set you apart from your rivals.

Strategy is about being different in contrast to something that everyone is or should be doing. It boils down to making the tough choices that create a sustainable competitive advantage. These choices are those that allow you to change the rules in your favor.

4. Build Action Plans

Action plans are when you need to get more specific to clearly identify what has to take place. They represent an opportunity to test and validate your objectives. In addition, they provide a basis for communication for others who need to contribute to or will be affected by what takes place.

The following basic components should be part of the plan development. First, document the specific steps that will be required. Next, it is important to identify the people who will be held accountable making sure that each action step is completed. Developing a timetable getting things done is essential. Make sure to determine what resources will be needed to achieve your objectives. Finally, it is critical to provide feedback mechanisms to monitor progress.

Documentation provides a basis for monitoring the progress of each action step. Incorporate this documentation into a schedule that spells out what needs to get done and when.

5. Evaluate Performance

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” is a term frequently associated with achieving results. Monitoring and evaluating performance is essential if your vision is to become reality. It might be necessary to reevaluate your strategy depending on how things are working out. Assessing the financial impact is essential in determining if you are achieving the level of expected results. Regularly evaluate your resources. Do you have everything in terms of personnel, materials, information, and other resources to support your vision and strategy? After establishing the vision, the strategy, objectives, and action plans, it is essential to monitor the few vital factors that let you know whether or not you are on track or if modifications are necessary. Continually check your progress and respond appropriately.

Final Thoughts

When creating a vision and converting it into reality is not only critical, it is essential to put it into writing. Written goals and objectives are more likely to be accomplished. Make this a habit and I think you’ll start to see success. Written plans represent a commitment that translates into success.