How do you define performance in a business; more specifically how do you define financial performance? Good performance is very easy to recognise for sports people or athletes. There is a target that they are working to beat; say their last marathon time, or their personal best, or the world record, or even just their rival’s score. It is obvious when they have performed well and when they have underperformed. It’s also obvious from the celebration – the fist pump in the air or the lap with the flag.

What can we learn from the world of sports when it comes to the financial performance of our companies? The most under-rated lesson is to CELEBRATE good performance or even just better performance. We are motivated to achieve more, to do better, when we recognise the work that has already gone into our performance and identify the things that have gone right or are working well. Celebrating also gives us a moment to stop and reflect on what we have changed/improved that has made all the difference, and imagine how to do more of that thing.

Another lesson from the world of sports is how to tell if performance is good or bad. There is always a TARGET that the person is trying to reach. In business we often consider performance to be the profit of the company. In fact, the income statement (showing the profit) is now called the Statement of Financial Performance. Setting a target for the profit of the company is a good idea. However, it is also important to look at the variables/elements that generate that profit, as they all need to work together to reach the target you have set. Consider setting realistic targets for your costs, for your turnover, for specific products. What about the management teams, sales people and internal processes that are necessary to achieve your goal performance?

Set up a meeting with our financial management team and we will help you to identify the cause and effect relationships in your financial flow, to establish where you should set targets for improved financial performance.