Measuring Success by Degrees

December 8, 2014

We’ve always been comfortable taking risks. Whether it’s going after a piece of business, or opening a new division. Similarly, we’ve always encouraged our people to take the chances they need to be successful for the company and their colleagues.

Over the years, that emphasis has worked. Sea-Land has always fostered an entrepreneurial environment and this is further promoted by our Employee Stock Ownership Plan. We have also expanded overseas, opening a European subsidiary and entering new markets.

With growth, we have needed more structure. Our board of directors, the majority being outside directors, has helped to guide us into the future. The board has implemented many improvements including a new emphasis on measurement. What is the risk vs.reward? How much are we spending to get sales? What is the return on our investments in marketing, training and technology?

These changes have challenged all of us to think differently, which is a good thing. Yet, I wonder about the effect on our culture. Will that entrepreneurial spirit be affected? Will our people be as able to get opportunities? Should everything be measured? What are the most important things to measure and who should take the responsibility for measurement?

I think it has to do with knowing what can be measured and what can’t and setting up your measurement criteria accordingly. Where we used to focus just on sales, new business and revenue, here are some newer things that we now measure as well:

  • Cost per sale
  • Cost benefit
  • Client satisfaction and retention
  • Employee satisfaction and retention
  • New business opportunities
  • Hidden costs
  • Missed opportunity costs
  • The correlation between marketing dollars and revenue
  • Employee efficiency
  • ROI

This is an ongoing process of adding structure and we are looking at how it affects our corporate culture. My goal is to keep a good balance between entrepreneurism and structure. What about you? What do you measure and how do you do it? Please share your thoughts with me at

All the Best from the staff at Sea-Land!



Joe Clayton


Sea-Land Chemical Company