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Management Consulting

What is the one word that will define success in 2019?

Security Policy and Development

We turned the page on another year and over the next few weeks, organizations and individuals everywhere will be communicating their strategic priorities, goals, and objectives for 2019.

This year, I would like to challenge you to identify the one word that describes the success you desire for 2019.  Then, ensure that your strategic goals and performance measures are aligned to achieve it.


I recently had a career based conversation with Kathy Henely, our recent COO at Perficient, who is retiring this year.  I wanted to capture some insights on career management and personal development.  Two things stood out from that conversation.

  1.  Think about how I want to feel when I look back on my career
  2.  Pick a single word that represents your goals and makes success very clear.

She ‘had me at hello’, and this is exactly the reinforcement that I needed at this time in my career journey.    I’ve been exploring both questions over the past two years, and the word that I had landed on was ‘engaged’.   This was mainly to keep my work/life balance intact and focus on my wife and 2 daughters (now 2 and 4-years-old).  It started as the word to describe the ‘life’ half of the equation, but then I saw that I could use it to assess how engaged I was with my work, with my colleagues, and really in everything that I was doing. (I shared some additional insights on how my home life has influenced my professional life in a blog this past March, 7 Ways My 3 Year Old Improves My Relationships at Work)

I’ve definitely embraced using this one word approach in my personal life.  My 2019 word is ‘commitment’.  I dive into it in my personal blog that I just launched at

Back to Business:

However, I believe that there is no reason why this one word approach can’t be applied to how we measure success of our operations.

  • For manufacturing companies, the words may be:  Accuracy, Volume, Quality, Margin
  • For service oriented companies, we may use words like:  Relationships, Detail, Value, Trust

In the coming weeks, I’ll be diving into a blog series on operating model design and when we talk about measuring performance against strategic priorities.  We will explore the need to establish a metric hierarchy to ensure all performance measures are aligned.  With this approach, when you assess the metrics hierarchy, identify the one word that stands out and can serve as the umbrella over all of your key metrics and provide the heart and soul behind the numbers.

Why I love this approach:

  • It’s simple
  • It’s focused
  • You can share it and rally the team behind it
  • You can anchor all you actions to it
  • It’s easy to assess if what you are doing contributes to the spirit behind your chosen word
  • It’s easy to get back on track

So this time next year, when you look back and assess your performance against your strategic priorities, what end result do you hope to accomplish?   What one word describes it best?

  • Creativity?
  • Innovation?
  • Discipline?
  • Compassion?
  • Engagement?

Can you rally your team around this?

Go for it!

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Tony Mauro

Tony is an experienced management consultant and an employee engagement enthusiast at Perficient. Tony also writes and speaks about mixing pods ( Mixing pods is actively capturing insights from work, home, and fatherhood and mixing them together to help shape how we show up as leaders, foster connection with others, and increase engagement in organizations.

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