Friday, August 7, 2009

Is Success Spelt with a Large S or Small s?

In our quest to commercialize Ontario's newest Innovative companies, a number of us are struggling with how to measure their progress and the definition of Ultimate Success. Many of my colleagues are big proponents of "the only measure is total number of Jobs Created" others are suggesting that "Revenue, Customers Acquired or Dollars of Investment Attracted" are more applicable indicators of achieving that Home Run.

For my clients, I encourage them to "Think Huge" and try to define their Home Run around their Vision statement. This forces them to become big thinkers and set a Large S target cannot be easily achieved by fixing one thing or completing a couple sub-tasks.

Sharon, an intern at the RIC-Centre did a little research around the Blue Jays this year. She notes that the team has had 3790 At Bats achieving 1020 hits. Of these hits, there have been 649 singles, 240 doubles, 7 triples and 124 Home Runs. The Large S target of hitting that Home Run has only occurred 3% of the times At Bat. Given this low probability, I am sure that the players in the batter box are defining a series of Small s targets like getting to first, not striking out, advancing the runner, not swinging at the the silly sinker etc.

Early stage companies are encouraged to work out a series of Small s targets in all facets of their business. These include completing the necessary business planning, building that unique set of features and services, populating a winning team, securing the first Beta customer, locking in critical financing and driving toward that first quarter of profitability to name a few. Small s successes will be easier to demonstrate short term wins and be an inspirational lift to the Entrepreneural teams. The target of hitting the ball over the Green Monster will come in its own time.

For me Thinking Huge this summer is to drive my handicap under 20. (For many of you this would simply be a Base Hit! You have no idea how big this challenge is for my game.) Now that I have posted this blog, I can head out to the first tee and try to avoid driling it into the woods......

I will celebrate my Small s accomplishments on the patio of the 19th - anyone care to join me?

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