If there is one theme that emerges over the almost thousand posts I’ve written it would be this: leadership, done well, is challenging.
That’s one of the reasons writing 300-word posts is extremely difficult – I don’t want to provide simple answers to difficult issues. However, today is one of the rare exceptions. There is an easy way to improve performance in almost any setting: Share the Score.
After working closely with hundreds of leaders for decades I still don’t understand why so many people miss this one. If you are one someone who, for whatever reason, has not been sharing the score, today can be the day you take a significant step forward in your leadership journey.
While conducting the research that would become the book, Chess Not Checkers Mark Miller and his team discovered many best practices for building a High Performance Organization. As they began to prioritize top recommendations, there was never any doubt they would include Share the Score. It is a foundational practice to Excel at Execution.
After his book was finished, Mark and I co-authored the Chess Not Checkers Field Guide. The following is an excerpt on the importance of Sharing the Score.
In every walk of life, people love to keep score. Sports arenas have scoreboards, classrooms have grade books, and every doctor’s office has a set of scales and a blood pressure cuff. Clearly, the metrics matter.
Numbers give us a way to measure how we are doing. They also motivate us to be more engaged. Author Patrick Lencioni, in his book 3 Signs of a Miserable Job, reminds us, “Without tangible means of assessing success or failure, motivation eventually deteriorates as people see themselves as unable to control their own fate.”
[Tweet “Any time there is a lack of engagement, the answer might be as simple as making measurement a part of everyone’s job.”]
Many organizations lose sight of the importance of focusing on the metrics at lower levels. A spreadsheet in an administrator’s office, a stock report for the board, or a group of leaders who keep the numbers to themselves will never be enough to create a High Performance Organization.
It would be unimaginable to go to a basketball game and not find a scoreboard to show who was winning. Players would have no context to care. The same is true in education as well as medicine: a teacher would never hide a student’s grade, and no doctor would fail to tell you if your vitals indicated you were dying.
If you want to see people perform at a higher level and be more engaged, take time to define how you are keeping score, and then share with each team member how they can contribute to the overall success. Never underestimate how much people need a way to measure their results. Remember, people play harder and smarter when they know the score.
Leadership Begins at Home,
Idea for Action: Be sure EVERY member of your organization has a meaningful scorecard for his/her work.