How Do You Measure Success?
Success, accomplishment, achievement. Those words are synonyms for something we all strive for in some aspect of our lives. We each have personal goals that we want to meet. Sometimes it is being healthier, saving money, or getting a promotion.
Our local farmers get to experience a level of accomplishment that I will never know, I can’t keep a house plant alive. But every year, when the crops come up and are harvested in the fall, the farmer will feel a level of achievement that few others can relate to. Turning hundreds of acres of bare ground into crops that feed and fuel the world. It is mind blowing.
Then there is the satisfaction of raising a family, which is probably the most important form of achievement. The time, energy, sacrifice, love, education, and commitment that is put into your family often goes unnoticed. When you are in the middle of raising those little ones, it can be a struggle. The young mother might be worn out due to a lack of sleep and a crying baby, while dad is feeling the stress of responsibility, knowing others are relying on him. While the reward might not be easily measured, it will be worth it. People at the end of their life never say they wished they spent less time investing in their family.
At this point, you are probably thinking I have lost it. What does this have to do with the Co-op? Don’t worry, I’ll tie it all together…I think.
The Cooperative measure success in several different ways. When our employees “punch the clock” at the end of the day, without any accidents or injuries, that was a successful day. Regardless of what else we were able to accomplish, we get to put that day in the win column when everyone returns to their families uninjured. That is the biggest measure of success that the Co-op has.
Keeping the power flowing to our members when they need it is another accomplishment we measure. Our system reliability is consistently over 99.99% available, meaning we are providing the amount of power to our members that they need. There is a total of 525,960 minutes in a year. On average, our members had the power they needed for 525,915 of those minutes. That is another area that we have been successful and probably the most visible to our members.
Another measure we have is during our financial audit. We complete this each year in April. When we are able to finish our audit without any significant deficiencies, it shows that financially we were successful in accounting for the thousands of transactions that we process each year.
Last year I made a commitment to myself to write an article each month for the Cooperative Connection magazine and to improve my writing skills. So far, I have met the goal of writing each month. Whether or not my writing skills have improved is up to the readers. Hopefully, my articles are at least informative and somewhat coherent. We can at least count that as a partial success.
In March, we held our Annual Meeting. While the weather was a little chilly, it was a great success, with over 100 registered members attending our drive thru meeting. We received several positive comments on how we were able to adapt, and many members liked the new format. Our recommendations to make changes to the by-laws was approved by a 96% favorable vote. Another success. These changes will make capital credit retirements easier and clarify the voting process to ensure each member is able to receive only one vote in an election.
Sometimes you can measure success using data and numbers. Other times it’s a long-term journey and you won’t see the fruit of your labor for years, decades or even a generation. Maybe you have a goal that can’t be measured, and you just know that it was accomplished. Whatever you are trying to achieve, I wish you much success in your pursuits.
Quote of the Month
“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way” – Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Civil Rights Leader