You ask someone how their work is going, and the reply is “pretty good”, or “it’s coming along”, or “just about done”, only to learn a bit later that the job is really only 20% complete. English teachers call these verbal diversions euphemisms, or escape words. They are a long way from the truth and they are rampant in business.
For some people there is too much truth in exact measurement. They just don’t have the courage to face the truth of exact measurement and instead focus on activities, not results. Along the way they collect reasons – excuses – why the job they are working on is “almost…”, or “just about…” done.
Using key performance indicators (KPIs) is a great way to turn your business into a game. Here's some tips on creating your own score keeping system...
When exact measurements are made in your business, things are brought into clear focus, and there is no place to hide.
Introducing measurements to our teams can be challenging because there’s always going to be resistance to change. When managers have been primarily focused on activity and then decide to implement measurements it’s sure to create some uncomfortable feelings. After all, we haven’t been held accountable before, why now. Explaining the “why now” is simple – it establishes a system to tell whether we are winning or losing and allows us to make real-time changes so we can continue to improve.
Scorekeeping must be simple and objective – often there are many intricacies in how a job is completed and we can’t create a measurement for every “what if” scenario. A good scorekeeping system doesn’t tell you how – just how many. In bowling, we count the number of pins knocked down, period.
Scorekeeping must be self-administered – this is a case where if the participant keeps their own score then they will know immediately whether they won or lost that day, and also how much they improved, regardless of whether or not the coach had a bad day. In golf, we keep our own score on every hole.
Scorekeeping must offer a comparison – between current personal performance, past personal performance, and an accepted standard. Whatever your recreational activity of choice is, you probably measure yourself against you, not the person best in the world at it.
Scorekeeping should be dynamic – we should be able to review our performance during the game, in near real-time, to be able to make adjustments. If your goal is to lose weight then you’re probably measuring yourself daily to see what works and what doesn’t.
Scorekeeping is about creating exact measurements that are simple to use, compare current and past performance, and allow for immediate feedback. It’s the only way to know if we are winning or losing in the game of business. But most importantly, and you can ask any championship sports team and their fans, scorekeeping primarily exists so that we know when to celebrate