Keep score to drive peak performance

scoreboardAt a football game, fans check the scoreboard to see whether their favorite team is winning or losing. Do your employees have an equally easy way to keep score?

Providing your team with a clear, visible scoreboard guides them to focus on those activities that drive collective success. Better yet, it reinforces the ongoing need to win—to trump competitors and exceed industry norms.

Involve employees when devising strategy. As you and your team identify opportunities to overtake rivals, work together to design a simple scoreboard that everyone can use to track performance and monitor results.

At its best, a scoreboard consists of a few graphs or other simple visuals that convey progress in advancing toward a strategic goal (such as rolling out a new product or launching a marketing campaign).

Anyone looking at the scoreboard should be able to determine two things:

Performance Review D
  1. Here’s where we are now.
  2. Here’s where we need to be.

To test its effectiveness, ask yourself, “Within five seconds, can an employee tell whether we’re winning or losing?”

Incorporating way too much information—and getting bogged down in data—can defeat the scoreboard’s purpose. Look for ways to easily communicate the march toward goal attainment. Avoid in­­comprehensible spreadsheets that even senior executives struggle to understand.

Once you design a compelling, easy-to-read scoreboard, keep it front and center. And refer to it often.

If you’re winning, praise everyone but fight off complacency. If you’re losing, rally employees to redouble their efforts.

— Adapted from The 4 Disciplines of Execution, Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling, Free Press.