Leading with the score – how great leaders keep focusing on the goal by Toby Beresford
As a leader, one of your jobs is to keep those you lead focused on the goals you are trying to reach.
One approach in every leader’s toolkit is to own and share “the score”.
“The score” means how you have decided everyone will measure success, whether as individuals or as a group.
Whether we realise it or not, we all take account of the score. Indeed, if you don’t share the score, people will invent their own.
This can have hideous consequences, as people chase after the wrong activities – look at people who stay late at the office because they think “total amount of time at work” is the score that matters.
Instead of leaving their team or group guessing, great leaders take control of the score by choosing which KPIs matter and communicating them relevantly and regularly.
Leaders identify the scores that matter and communicate them in a relevant way
Identify the important digital signals for your goals. These are the metrics that go into making your score.
Next you need to share the score in a relevant way. Your options are:
personal scores – a score for each individual. This approach works best in a ‘group’ setting where everyone is fairly independent – e.g. a conference or a very large business
team scores – a collective score. This works best for internal teams – e.g. focus on a KPI such as number of visitors to our website each month
market comparison – in more mature markets it may be more relevant to focus on the comparison with peers – e.g. we are the number 1 supplier of milk in our region.
Finally, it’s not enough to communicate relevantly, you must also communicate regularly.
Whether a weekly email to a big screen TV leaderboard in the office, you need to remember that facts don’t speak for themselves. You must tell people the score, and keep telling them.
The medium you choose is important – people will take more notice of a great looking leaderboard emailed around once a week with their photo next to their name, than one hastily scrawled on a piece of paper and stapled on a busy noticeboard.
Why add scorekeeping to your leadership skills?
The score is an essential part of leadership. We all take account of the score whether we realise it or not. By communicating the score in a relevant and regular way, you go beyond mere measurement into providing actionable scorekeeping. As a leader you can use the score to achieve the goals you’ve set for your team.
So, how do you use scores in your leadership today? What scores are your team really focusing on right now? Have you communicated the right ones? What challenges have you faced when leading with the score?