5th November 2015

The Compelling in Compelling Scoreboard

The last three or four blogs have been about the compelling scoreboard. I believe it to be one of the most powerful management tools available. It helps to foster engagement, accountability and most importantly a sense of progress.
I have said that it depends upon ownership and visibility. Like many of the tools available to us its effectiveness and acceptability depend upon how skilfully it is used. The real, but often hidden power of the Compelling Scoreboard, comes from its ability to measure progress over time; from its ability to demonstrate individual or team performance that is getting better.

One of the most demotivating and disempowering things any individual can experience in the work place is the feeling that their hard work and effort is unnoticed or taken for granted. That is why the most powerful lever any manager can use is catching someone doing something right. Catching someone doing something right depends upon the ability to be able to see someone doing something right. A Compelling Scoreboard makes this easy. It makes it unavoidable. Seeing that John has sold 10 units yesterday, or that despatch delivered 156 widgets or that the Jupiter project was delivered on time or that defects were less than 1 part per million over the last period doesn’t take a rare form of telepathy. The scoreboard makes it obvious. Not only can the manager see it but all of the colleagues can see it too, and so the celebration and praise that ensues is not only genuine but fair, equitable and auditable.

An emotionally intelligent leader will use the Compelling Scoreboard to facilitate progress and facilitating progress is the most effective ways for managers to influence how people feel about coming to work, and if your people feel good about coming to work you can guarantee that they will produce higher quality work than those others who don’t.

An emotionally literate leader will use the scoreboard to catch people doing something right, to celebrate the wins, to highlight and plot progress, to motivate and to inspire. They will use the ‘we’ language frequently and genuinely; they will point out how the individual scores enhance the team performance and they will use the scoreboard to promote teamship, ownership and pride.

In the right hands the Compelling Scoreboard is a powerful tool and in the wrong hands it is a blunt cudgel. It ceases to be compelling. Be careful about ever referring to the scoreboard as a ‘target’, and remember Goodhart’s law, which says “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” There is a world of difference between the motivation which says, “I want to chalk up 12 on the scoreboard tomorrow because we are a great team that wins big. I am proud to play my part.” and the motivation which says ‘I have to find at least 12 to report tomorrow or they are going to fire me”.