5 metrics to better team-building

Measuring output without measuring input is a little like telling a Little League team to score more runs, without explaining how to swing a bat better.

That’s why James Slavet, of venture firm Greylock Partners (investors in Groupon and Facebook among others), believes that great teams should measure these five metrics:

1. Flow state percentage. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined the phrase “flow,” meaning you’re in the zone. Each time you disrupt a flow state, it takes 15 minutes to get back in it, which impacts productivity.

Want to increase productivity, particularly for jobs that require a lot of brainpower? Ask workers to track their personal flow states. Brainstorm ways to stretch out uninterrupted concentration.

2. The anxiety-boredom continuum. During a salsa dance class with his future spouse, Slavet’s teacher said his goal was to keep students between boredom and anxiety, but closer to anxiety. In other words, no one should feel so over­­whelmed that he or she gives up, but the rhythm should be fast enough to keep dancers challenged.

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Check in regularly with employees to see where they are on the continuum.

3. Meeting promoter score. Meeting leaders rarely ask how good their huddle was. In the last minute of a meeting, ask participants to each rate from 1 to 10 on how effective it was, with one suggestion for making the meeting better.

4. Compound weekly learning rate. Stellar leaders are relentlessly curious. For Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, the quality is an essential element of his success.

Every week, ask your team: How did you get 1% better this week? What valuable thing did you learn from customers? Or what change did you make for the better?

5. Positive feedback ratio. John Gottman, author of Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, discovered through research that successful marriages tend to have five times as many positive interactions as negative ones. When a relationship dips below that number, it can fail.

The same might be said of workplace relationships.

Never miss a chance to say something positive, so that when you do have feedback on how to im­­prove, people listen.

— Adapted from “Five New Management Metrics You Need to Know,” Bruce Upbin, Forbes.