A disaster in the making
I was working with a client recently and I uncovered a disaster in the making.
This company had been performing well over the last few months hitting nearly all of their targets and we had been focusing on some larger consulting projects so we were not reviewing the scorecard together each week. They had been reviewing it together with their team at their weekly meeting and since they didn’t mention that they were having any issues we paused our weekly review. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term a “Scorecard” is a simple tool that helps companies track their progress towards their goals. It is a key part of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS®), a business management system designed to help companies achieve their visions.)
As we wrapped up our discussion about one of our projects on our video call we had a few minutes left so I asked about their scorecard expecting to see the same trends as we had discussed previously but when they pulled up their scorecard I immediately noticed something had gone horribly wrong and left unchecked it could have crept into the culture of the company leading to decreased performance, an expectation of mediocrity or worse.
A scorecard should have a list of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and goals for each week. The goal is structured as a number and you either perform better than the number, hit the number or perform worse than the number. It’s designed to be very clear as to whether the company is hitting their goals. On our custom scorecard that we developed in Google Sheets we even have cells turn green if the goal is hit and red if the goal is missed, making it easy to see how the company is performing at a glance.
What I saw
What I saw on their scorecard was several instances of words inserted where the weekly performance numbers should have been. For example, I saw the words “Vacation”, “Training”, and “OOO (out of office)” in several cells instead of the actual performance numbers.
Now, I am all for making notes as to why a number may not be what was expected, and I am fine with noting that someone was on vacation, sick, or out of the office. I’m even fine with noting that an employee was either in training or helping out with training an employee but what’s not ok is simply using those excuses to not perform or not reporting on performance.
Why It Matters
Since I am always talking about building Championship Teams at the organizations that I work with let’s evaluate this situation as we would for a Championship Team.
On a Championship Team everyone knows what their role is and they show up and deliver results. The team works together for the benefit of the team and if a player “can’t take the field” for some reason the team makes sure that there is a system and a backup in place to ensure that the game continues as planned.
If a player isn’t available to put points on the board we wouldn’t simply stop keeping score, we would substitute the player for another high performer until the player can rejoin their team on the field.
In absence of that player’s points on the board we don’t know the score of the game and the entrepreneur that runs the team is unable to determine the entire teams performance because we don’t have a complete picture of the scoreboard.
A Championship team is not simply a “high performing” team, a Championship Team is a team that continues to improve at every opportunity and performs beyond the standards of regular teams. They hold themselves to their own high standards. They do not accept mediocrity and they do not accept a culture where mediocrity exists.
How we corrected it
To correct the situation we did some training with the entrepreneur and we implemented the policy that all metrics must be reported on a weekly basis regardless of any reason that might prevent any specific individual from performing or reporting their performance. We implemented a backup system of who would be responsible to perform specific duties in the event that someone is out of the office to ensure that our key performance metrics are hit across the board.
By providing backups and substitutions, we are ensuring that all “points” make it onto the scoreboard and the company continues to perform as a Championship Team.