Published On: Sat, Dec 7th, 2013

Defining Success for 21st Century Business

Business SuccessLast month I read  ’Culture Shock’ by Will McInnes following a trusty tip from the Jericho Chambers Club Room. The book made me think a lot about business and more specifically, what successful businesses of the future will look like.

While I’m sure we all agree that businesses need to make money, we have now moved to a place where society demands that businesses exist for a higher purpose. They must now also serve and create value for a range of stakeholders including employees, suppliers and the local community. This is what will define success for businesses in the 21st Century.

In ‘Culture Shock’, McInnes makes the case that employee happiness should be used as a metric to measure the success of business and while I advocate this approach, it should also not be the only measure. In my view happiness can and should share the stage with societal impact, as well as client happiness and of course, financial performance. Every business is affected by this quartet and they are intertwined with each other.

Happy employees + positive impact on society = profit
The link between what’s good for your employees and society is great for your bottom-line is increasingly becoming apparent. However, it’s the strategies which help achieve these non-financial KPIs that will help foster a successful culture and make a positive impact on your financial metrics, such as client happiness and the company coffers.

Defining and measuring success
With this in mind, I’ve jotted down some questions that can help you begin to develop metrics to define and measure the success of your business. Some will be easy to keep track of, but others are more complex and will require a measurement framework to be designed. Remember, just because something is difficult to measure (like happiness) doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.

Staff happiness

  • Staff turnover

  • Staff survey

  • How do you treat employees well?

  • How do you provide frequent and honest communication?

Societal impact

  • How are you business practices ethical?

  • How do you have a positive impact on the local community?

  • How do you act responsibly to issues?

  • How do you protect and improve the environment

Financial performance

  • Profit

  • Revenue

  • Market share

  • Growth

Client happiness

  • Retention

  • Business development

  • CSAT

  • How do you put customers ahead of profits

Success will look different for each business, but to thrive in the 21st Century organisations will need to elevate staff happiness and societal impact as equals of financial performance and client happiness. It’s no small order, but to begin this transformation you must firstly define the right objectives, put the resource in place to make them happen and have a zealous commitment to measurement.

About the Author

- Marketing Manager with a passion for inbound at HubSpot, Founder of Growth Hack Talks, Blogger at and Chief Quaffer at .

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