Seeing is doing
If you see it; you will do it.
People do not normally intend to aimlessly wander around and spin their wheels. If you see this happening in your organization, it is a clear sign that success has not been well defined. It is also a sign that there is not a simple, clear way to tell if you have been successful. Leadership expert, John Maxwell says that “people do what they see.” The best organizations clearly define what winning looks like. They do this both organizationally and individually. They then create a visible scoreboard so everyone can see if they are getting it done.
Imagine playing a competitive sport or game without a way of keeping score. High-performing individuals and companies want to know, no–they need to know, if they are winning or at least making meaningful progress.
“Focus on the behaviors or actions that drive results, not the results themselves.”
Even timely financial reports won’t do the trick. The statement, “we didn’t hit our numbers again” has very little impact on improving future performance. It’s a statement about the past. Something we cannot change. A lagging indicator. A much more effective approach is to identify a few, and I mean a few, key activities that will most likely lead to improved performance and track those. Process goals are goals that focus on the behaviors or actions that drive results, not the results themselves. If I have this kind of leading indicator, in real time, I can make adjustment and change my behavior. And yes, people will change their behavior if there is visible scoreboard.
So let’s talk about how to create a scoreboard. Determine which key activities will drive improved performance. These are often referred to as Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Remember less is more. Five or fewer are ideal. In most cases I prefer three. Determine what success looks like with each KPI and express it as a number. Post these numbers in a very conspicuous place so your team can’t miss them. Make sure they are current and up to date. Ideally this would be at least weekly. Talk about the numbers constantly and collaborate with your team on how you can improve performance in each area. When you try something new you can easily see the impact, because you have a visible way of keeping track.
If It sounds simple, that’s because it is. Oddly enough very few organizations have a simple, clear, and compelling way to see if they are winning. If you want to win more often, make it visible. Create a scoreboard that makes it easy for everyone to know, in real time, if they are winning because people do what they see.