Know what you want

Achieving a goal is a lot like
a road trip in that it requires
planning in order to reach
your final destination.

“You’re not going to drive
from here to Los Angeles without some sort of map to get
you there,” Marc Rosen says.

The problem many companies face is that they either
don’t take the time to plan
how to achieve a goal or they
are not even sure what the
goal should be.

“If you don’t know what it is
you are after, how can someone sit there and help you?”
Rosen says. “The biggest challenge is you don’t describe
yourself well. You don’t let
people help you because you
don’t know what you want.”

Rosen is chief operating officer of Corporate United Inc., a
firm that helps some of the
world’s largest companies realize savings through aggregation of spending. The company’s membership has a combined revenue of more than
$400 billion.

That success is the result of
a focused strategy that laid out
precisely what the company
wanted to achieve.

“We didn’t have a 10-year
vision, but a couple years
ago, we sat down and said,
‘OK, where do we want this
to be?’” Rosen says. “We
worked with employees and
had a vision to be the largest
group purchasing organization in the United States.”

To achieve your goals, you
need to engage those who
have regular contact with
your company to gain their
perspective. Those people
include your employees, vendors, customers and others
who have a stake in your

“Give them a perspective
on your space,” Rosen says.
“Try to get them to understand what your challenges
or opportunities are.”

These contacts can occur in
a formal setting, such as a
trade conference or a meeting,
or through more casual interaction, even outside of the
workplace. But wherever it
happens, you need to be ready
to answer questions about
who you are and the goals you
want to accomplish.

“You have to be willing to
give a perspective to gain
one,” Rosen says. “It is
important that you are transparent and focused on giving
the people the right context
so they can help you.”

As you’re discussing the
things that need to happen to
achieve your goal, you also
need to be mindful of what
the destination looks like so
you’ll know when the goal
has been achieved.

“It’s line of sight,” Rosen
says. “Show the key performance indicators. You continue to have that vision of
what the company can
become. You put a theme
around it, and you have
themed events, a sales meeting or a company outing or
something that is helping to
galvanize and create a sense
of destiny for the employees
so they can dream a little

You gain this engagement
by putting your people in
positions where they are not
just spectators but instead
play an active role in helping
to achieve the company’s

“It’s something like, ‘Hey, I
want you to own that. I want
you to feel the sense of
thinking through the process
of getting us to the right destination,’” Rosen says.

It also helps to track the company’s progress toward
its goals by holding a meeting at which key performance indicators are reviewed
in a group setting.

“They understand it,”

Rosen says. “Sometimes,
they come up with other
indicators they want to
measure. It just becomes a
great way for people to feel
part of something. … You’re
living it every quarter or, in
this case, every month.”

HOW TO REACH: Corporate United Inc.,
(440) 895-0938 or

Give people a reason to believe

In today’s world, it’s not enough to just lay out a goal and expect your
employees to go achieve it.

And dangling a carrot of cash in front of them is not always enough,
either, says Marc Rosen, chief operating officer of Corporate United Inc.

“I see it with people we are hiring in their 20s,” Rosen says. “They are
not as motivated by the same things that I thought they would be. You
find there is much more of a balance between what do you believe in as a
company and what socially and civically is going on. People want to feel
like they understand what they are being asked of more and more than
just unconditionally shaking their head and saying, ‘That’s my job.’”

Given that change in philosophy, it often takes time to get employees to
buy in to their company’s goals.

“You have to spend the time understanding the shoes they walk in,”
Rosen says. “It takes longer to get alignment, but once you get it, it’s
more loyal than maybe money in the past. Money is easier to align with
because people can understand that. When you’re dealing with emotions,
it takes longer, but once you have it, it’s more retentive.”