Is a scorecard just a scorecard?

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As many of you know, the scorecard is one of my favourite things in business. However, every time I introduce the idea of a scorecard I am faced with groans, dropped shoulders, crossed arms and an immediate change of subject! Why is this?

 

What do people have against scorecards?
 

  • The fear of being measured unfairly or on things in which they have no control
     
  • They take time to produce and lack accuracy
     
  • People are unclear on how the numbers are measured
     
  • The numbers don’t matter to them
     
  • They feel they are being micro-managed

 

So how do we set up a scorecard so that it’s useful?

 

A big part of finding value is using a scorecard correctly. Here are few keys to success:

 

  • The scorecard should contain measures that matter to the people using it, and they should pick them
     
  • Review the scorecard together at a regular meeting - many scorecards fail as they are emailed or loaded on the server and reviewing it is optional
     
  • Use the scorecard as the agenda to drive a conversation about performance
     
  • Get into a routine for reviewing it and stick to it
     
  • The conversation should focus on improving the business, not punishing or calling out employees
     
  • Practice becoming a learning organization where feedback is welcomed, not feared
     

When scorecards are used correctly, they trigger a series of behaviours that drive performance.
 

  • A scorecard defines what good looks like and sets expectations
     
  • They hold us accountable to our commitments
     
  • They help us get into a routine of reviewing all aspects of our business
     
  • They help us align and focus on the priorities
     
  • They ensure we are results focused instead of activity focused
     
  • They allow us to decide on how to move forward instead of explaining the past
     
  • They allow teams to work together to improve business performance
     
  • They provide a forum for coaching, feedback and employee development
     
  • They provide leaders with the opportunity to reinforce the right behaviours and recognize performance

 

As a leader, you likely have your first draft of your department's scorecard due at the end of the month. Unlike other things on your to-do list, engaging your team to build a meaningful scorecard has the ability to trigger a series of behaviours that drive performance. You have the opportunity to the stage to become a learning organization that drives for continuous improvement.


Don't treat your 2018 scorecard as a check the box activity; follow the tips above to unlock the potential of this performance improvement opportunity. 

 

Dave McLaren - Partner, Lead 2 Perform