Look at the Scoreboard
Last week I posted on my Facebook fan page a message about the importance of keeping score, and more importantly, doing something about the score to improve it. We’re onsite this week hosting our Live Look and planning event at CPI Plumbing and Heating in Mt. Vernon, Washington.
One of the things we admire about our top notch clients that we work with is that they are very clear about keeping score and how crucial it is to running an effective organization. As a die-hard San Diego Chargers fan, there have been countless games I wanted to simply turn off the darn scoreboard and pretend like we were winning, even though we weren’t. What’s that called? The ostrich approach! Bury your head in the sand and hope something changes.
I’m very clear with both my team at Peterson as well as our clients that “hope” is NOT a strategy. Hoping things get better isn’t an answer. Hoping for better or worse weather is not a strategy to grow your company effectively. Does weather help? Of course it does, anyone who says different is kidding you. However, you can still be successful year after year by paying attention to the score and knowing the statistics about the game you’re playing, each and every day, week, month, and quarter.
I know contractors that can quote a batting average, on base percentage, or number of saves in a hockey game for a given player, but they don’t know their OWN stats. When I was a kid I remember my late father would take me to buy some bubble gum so I could get baseball cards. I couldn’t wait to open up the package, see which players I got and look at the back of the card…where all the statistics were.
Once I got into business I realized quickly that keeping track (and using) the correct “stats” in a company, which we call Key Performance Indicators, can be the difference between average and exceptional. How well you keep score can actually mean the difference between barely making it, and thriving year after year.
We get many clients to understand the importance of what I’m writing about here, but then they too often miss the final and perhaps most critical piece of keeping score. You’ve got to post the score! Your team members want to know how they’re doing. Believe it or not, they actually want to be held accountable for results. They’re just never going to come to you and ask you to hold them accountable.
Keeping score and posting certain numbers helps drive internal accountability. When a team member sees his/her actual scores, they realize that they are the ones who created those results. Period. They might look to blame a customer, a dispatcher, another team member or whatever, but they know at their core that the score posted is their own score.
When it comes to keeping and posting the score in your company, it’s important to understand that this is very much related to culture. It will actually be a culture change in your company if you haven’t been posting numbers to this point.
You must have a rollout meeting!
Don’t do what too many companies do and just decide to start posting numbers without having an informational meeting about why you are suddenly posting the score. People can take it personal if they’re own score doesn’t measure up and good management will address this upfront, during the process, and many months or years later when team members have a dip in performance for whatever reason.
Get clear about the Key Performance Indicators you want to track and post, have a company meeting, and start getting better results with more third party accountability in your company.