In April we celebrated our 19th annual BBB Torch Awards for Ethics. All nominated businesses were judged and evaluated on the six TRUST! Principles: Transformation at the Top, Reinforce and Build, Unite the Team, Steer Performance, Treasure People and Enthusiastically Reinvest!

When our award selection committee meets to review the entries, they assess how the nominated organizations achieve or exceed the principles. Although all our equally important, when looking at many of our Torch Award winners over the years, one might say that laying a groundwork for business success, begins with “steer performance.”

This principle looks at how leaders guide the organizational performance by implementing high competency management practices. It starts with setting clear goals from the top level down to the individual, as well as communicating the rationale for those goals. It should also include a rigorous system for assessing progress and implementing changes. Combined, those two key elements will lead to a system that sets the standard for how everyone in the organization will be held accountable for their performance as well as guiding budgeting processes so everyone has the resources to achieve their goals.

To succeed at this principle, BBB recommends the following:

Create a Plan. Successful companies invest time and resources into the development of a strategic plan. This road map will help you guide through the busy marketplace and ensure you stay focused on your goals. All of your staff members should know the goals contained in your plan and learn how their work contributes to the overall success of the organization.

Budget Effectively. Create your annual budget to support the strategies and tactics within your plan. Ensure your team members have the training and resources they need to effectively do their jobs that support the organization’s key performance indicators.

Develop your staff. Does your plan include new marketing tactics or changes to your website? If so, be sure to assess that your current team members have the skills to help you meet new strategies. If they don’t, consider providing them with additional training or look to outsource some of those areas that require a specialized skill set. If you do outsource, be sure to inquire about the reputation of that third-party with BBB and the review the company’s BBB Business Profile.

Measure Tactics. A good plan can quickly become ineffective if you aren’t consistently measuring success. Determine which metrics are necessary to track on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. Take time to analyze your statistics and make any necessary adjustments if you aren’t meeting your projected outcomes.

Be Accountable. Effective teams hold each other accountable. They help one another meet their goals which helps the organization perform at a high level of excellence. They contribute ideas to other departments and recognize when they might need additional assistance or guidance from their team.

Communicate. Good leaders regularly communicate with their teams how the organization is doing with its goals. It’s important to take the time to celebrate successes and also articulate why any shifts were made to ensure set goals are met.

Does your business or nonprofit exceed at steering performance as well as the other TRUST! Principles? If so, consider nominating your organization for the 2018 BBB Torch Awards for Ethics. Information about the program can be found at

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