This month we have been looking at various aspects of leadership from issues around performance reviews to looking at leadership traits as viewed by leaders by their staff. An item that came up in both the performance review and leadership traits discussions was that of being results oriented, setting goals and measuring the achievement of those goals. In short using performance metrics to guide and hold the team accountable.
Less Is Best
There are a lot of approaches to this but suffice it to say that if you are not using performance metrics at all you will find yourself struggling with performance reviews. It will also be a challenge knowing where you are on the path to meeting your targets. I like the KISS (Keep It Simple Sam/Sally) principle when it comes to metrics. As an educator and leadership and performance consultant I know that there are many exquisite programs out there. While they all have value and really operate toward the same goals I know this to be true; the more steps or processes you need to learn the higher the likelihood of adoption failure.
The Scales Don’t Lie
When it comes to metrics this is particularly true. Don't believe me? Let's do a quick poll; how many of you have ever tried to lose weight? In that process how many of you adopted a process of weighing yourself at certain intervals? How successful were you? When you stopped weighing yourself how sustainable was your weight loss? Get the point? By the way, the best weight loss programs work to take virtually every step out of the equation like pre-packaged foods and so on.
Who Is Invested?
These programs work for that reason and also because the participants are invested in succeeding. The same is true for performance metrics on any staff or team. You give someone a metric to track and they will but it is still "your" metric and you own it. You have someone offer to track a metric they have come up with and "they" own it. It is their metric and they will be invested in making sure it gets tracked properly.
Your job is to guide them in an exploration of the things they could measure and how that aligns with team and company goals. You provide a measure - you own it. They develop a measure - they own it. All you need to do is provide regular encouragement and accountability.
This is where we are going to start in our discussion around leading by the numbers. Get your team to find a metric, get them to track it (remember the weight scales?) and get them to report to you regularly on how things are going. Simple, straightforward and sustainable. Next we will explore creating an environment to allow that to happen. Performance Leadership - Think About It!