with greg layton

The Inner Chief is for leaders, professionals and small business owners who want to accelerate their career and growth. Our guest chiefs and gurus share powerful stories and strategies so you can have more purpose, influence and impact in your career.

Listen on

Our High performance teams series now enters part 16 and we look at the 5 key Tools that drive a high performance culture, the first of which is Scoreboard and Metrics.

We’ve spoken about the Mission – all about the vision, your purpose and your why. And then we went into getting the right people on the bus, followed by building a high performance Culture. Now, for the next 5 episodes, we’re going to talk all about Tools; the equipment that let your people do their job well.

But today, we explore how to gamify your team's performance and increase engagement and results through the regular use of metrics and scoreboards.

In this episode, I outline:

  • Why measuring performance is important and what happens when results are not measured correctly;
  • Scoreboards and metrics in a business context and how they can be used to your advantage both internally and externally;
  • How you can make numbers and data more interesting, meaningful and inspiring.

What gets measured gets managed

If there is one thing that sport and business have in common is that they both love to measure performance. However, it’s safe to acknowledge that sport does it better, in a way that encourages people and indeed makes metrics interesting.

Some individuals and professions absolutely need to focus on numbers; while how we do them is important, it’s how we bring them into the culture of the team that is doubly important, especially if done wrong. Patrick Lencioni, who wrote that wonderful book, Five Dysfunctions of a Team, says that one of the critical dysfunctions is not paying attention to results. Ultimately, presenting numbers in a way that makes it clear and understandable for every member of our team as to what we can do to improve, then we can suffer.

Pitfalls of measuring results

Firstly, we measure to prove our theory or belief – this is when we just keep paying attention to key numbers that we think prove what we want to do, or when we have metrics that don’t represent all situations.

Secondly, you could have a range of metrics that aren’t aligned to your style of play or team values, and what could happen is that you end up sacrificing team or organisational culture. A really good example of this is when you have two teams that actually have metrics that are in conflict with one another, for example, a manufacturing unit whose goal it is to increase the rate of production, and a supply team whose job is to cut costs.

And finally, a huge pitfall of measuring data is perhaps at the crux – inaccurate data. This is when the data is late, inaccurate, or just too difficult to obtain.

What goes in, must go out!

Good metrics are absolutely vital because they allow accurate data-driven decisions so that your team can act in alignment with the company’s strategy or operational excellence. They can break down old paradigms and dispel myths and clarify a problem.

However, you have to get your numbers right because people can see through them really quickly; I’m sure you’ve been in that situation before looking at other peoples’ dodgy numbers! In fact, I’d go as far as saying how you present your numbers is vital to getting your point across. Tell people how they were collected and how accurate they are.

Metrics can also clarify the relationship between inputs and outputs, statistics and scoreboards, statistics and results. In other words, the more you do of a particular input activity, the more of a chance you will get an output. For example, in rugby, they talk about the speed of turnover and a tackle being an input metric to the number of tries scored. In netball, they talk about the number of seconds an individual holds a ball versus the number of goals scored.

7 ways to bring life to your scoreboards

  1. Review your vision, strategy and values by breaking those goals down into what to measure and how it will be presented, with a focus on the person that’s going to be taking action.
  2. Next, develop clear definitions of what is being measured and a precise target score.
  3. Identify the sources of data, the quality, the timing required, the ease of collection, the owner of that data.
  4. Develop your data collection plan.
  5. Implement and refine the measurement process so that data gets clearer and clearer for your people.
  6. Create scoreboards and reports that are striking, easy to interpret and valuable. Bring your scoreboards and metrics to life. Don’t make them a boring spreadsheet that just sits there. At many sports matches, the players can see the scoreboard plus the countdown timer; they know how much time there is to go to perform their job. Your people, therefore, need to be able to see your scoreboard.
  7. And then, celebrate when someone makes a change or improves a number.

In summary, scoreboards and metrics are critical to all high performance teams. They can be a wonderful way of engaging the team, of creating a spirit around the numbers, of giving individuals the real information and data, so they can improve in their work and the team as a whole.

Stay epic,

Next article in the High Performance Teams series:

Pillar 3/Culture: Part 17 – Hardware and Collateral