In my last post on the 10 Questions Prudent Firms Ask Themselves, I addressed Question 2 What are our goals?  I outlined a continuum of 3 types of organizations and how a firm’s worldview shapes whom it serves, why, and how. Does the firm serve Shareholders, a broader set of Stakeholders, or a Higher Purpose? From that post:

For firms with a “Shareholder” worldview, the long-term objective is to maximize profit and satisfy the shareholder’s need for value creation. A “Stakeholder” worldview attempts to “balance” the multiple demands of employees, clients, communities, and regulators to maintain the “permission to operate.” Finally, Purpose-driven firms focus on driving the optimal balance of profit and organizational performance in order to maximize a defined good, impact, or outcome.

The driving precept for Shareholders is maximal profit, for Stakeholders it’s protecting permission to operate, and for Purpose-driven firms, it’s maximum “impact” of the mission.

Your position on the continuum is the starting place for Question Three, which asks, “What do our goals say about us?”

DOWNLOAD: 10 QUESTIONS Prudent Firms Ask Themselves [infographic]

 

Do our goals reflect:

  • Our real core values
  • A flavor-of-the-day management fad
  • The legacy we hope to leave behind as stewards of the firm
  • Conventional short-term business thinking (i.e hit your number)
  • Selflessness and teamwork
  • Selfishness and an “It’s-just-business” or “Survival-of-the-fittest” mindset?
  • A higher purpose

 

A firm’s goals should reflect who we are as a firm and the impact we desire to have on the lives we touch—yes, touch—including clients, employees, the community, and our families.  

Do your goals achieve that objective or do they just pay lip service while manifesting indifference to those the firm impacts?

RELATED: The BS of PS: Overcoming the Dysfunctional Roadblocks to Growth and Legacy

 

Takeaway

As business people, we know wholeheartedly that we get the behaviors we reward. Our goals set the bar for the behaviors that deliver the results we desire. As a result, our firms and our lives are shaped by what we live for.

Make sure your goals truly reflect what you are living for.

Be prudent.

Jeff McKay

Jeff McKay

Founder & CEO

Jeff’s teams and strategies have helped the world’s top professional services firms achieve industry-leading growth rates, optimize marketing investment and maximize brand value.  He was the SVP of Marketing at Genworth Financial, the Global Marketing Leader at Hewitt Associates, and held senior roles at Towers Perrin and Andersen. 

Related articles

14 Prudent Questions to Plan for Next Year

As we approach the end of the year, many firms are moving deep into the planning and budgeting process for next year. So, I thought this would be a great time to reflect on year-to-date performance and look forward to the opportunities of next year. Earlier this year,...

read more
Time to Think

Do you set aside time every day to think, to ponder? If so, where do you do your best thinking? At your desk? On a quiet walk? While you sleep? If you're an extrovert, perhaps you talk it out with a confidant or peer. For me, it is on the bike. For my daughter, it is...

read more

Like what your reading?

Join my community of prudent leaders and readers

and receive my latest ideas, tools, and whitepapers

You're in!

Pin It on Pinterest