The last link in our exploration of leading by the numbers involves getting your team to establish their own measures of performance. Companies have metrics and measures that are company-wide. Each department will have its group metrics that roll up into the company measures. How do you create linkage between the group or department and each team member?
You Already Know
You already know what you want from each member of your team even if you haven’t verbalized it or set it to paper. In his excellent book “Moneyball” Michael Lewis explored how one baseball manager looked at individual metrics in a whole different light. Traditional thinking was you wanted to sign the big hitters. Billy Beane took a new approach and suggested a different metric; getting on base. He built a team around the idea that the more you get on base the more runs you will get.
There is plenty of argument around the merit of this metric but Beane succeeded in getting his group to buy into that measure. They had an individual focus, had purpose and had direction. That critical mass gave them success. The same will hold true for your group. Take a fresh look at what it is that gives your team meaning and purpose and the measures will become evident.
In his book “The Truth About Employee Engagement” Patrick Lencioni used a drive-through order taker as a great example of how to create metrics. In this scenario the manager engaged the employee in a dialogue and came up with two measures; number of orders taken without errors and track how many times they made the person at the drive through window smile. While this may seem overly simplistic, the best metrics usually are simple. These metrics addressed positive customer experience (an overall company goal) and internal efficiency (another goal).
The manager was able to get that employee to see how getting the orders right and making people smile or brightening their day gave purpose and meaning to what they did. And yes, that person had to track and report on those measures each day which created accountability and communicated that it was important.
You Can Do It!
Can this work in say an office setting? Sure. In one group I had the privilege of working with a team of accounting and document control staff. As a small Co-op customer experience was everything. Getting requests, applications and billing done accurately and on time were key to this. They decided to track error rates and cycle times for service requests and application completion. It was something they could each do, they saw how it impacted client experience and they came to understand how they supported each other (team experience) when things were done well. And yes, it is tracked and reported regularly.
Don’t overthink what sort of metrics or measures you want from each member of your team. Write down what a good team looks like and look at how your group stacks up to that? Identify the things that are working (so you can provide recognition) and the things that are not so you can help them create measures around those issues. Start with the simple things and the rest will follow. Performance Leadership – Think About It!