This post is drawn from Jay Parker’s Mentorforce University masterclass, “Managing and Measuring Performance.”
The business world has no shortage of metrics. Many of us see an almost unlimited number of measurements and reports in our everyday work lives. The metrics are our scoreboard, and the final score drives our compensation. Our promotions. Our success or failure. Yet, as leaders we don’t always pay close attention to what we are measuring, and why. Or whether or not those metrics are really driving the behaviors and outcomes that we want.
Maybe we are in a role that doesn’t even lend itself to easy scorekeeping. Maybe we simply utilize the same measurement system as our predecessor because it “must be right”. To maximize your effectiveness in a leadership role…no matter what that role may be…you need to develop a rigorous management system that drives the behaviors and outcomes that you need. Without that, you are captaining a rudderless ship. You may work incredibly hard, but without having full control, or perhaps not even knowing your destination…you are unlikely to survive.
To effectively manage and measure performance, you need to have an effective management system that allows that measurement properly. Jay dives into this deeper in Lesson 1 of the video series.
Your team needs to understand and embrace the management system. There should be no questions as to what you expect. How you operate. How you will judge business, team, and individual performance. Take the time to decide what you will measure and why. Metrics, Meetings, Decision makers. Communicate the expectations, and don’t deviate. If you, as a leader, constantly jump around from one priority to the other, so will your team. Jay discusses consistency in Lesson 2.
Lesson 3 revolves around accountability: in your business, things won’t always go right. Deals will be lost. Product dates will slip. Macro-factors will change. Inevitably there will be misses to targets and goals. In managing your business, you should recognize this, but not necessarily accept it. As a leader, the constant tension that you put in the business, can drive the team’s performance to be better than it otherwise would have been…even if you don’t quite meet your objectives. Your management system is the mechanism with which you keep that tension in the system, and how you send the subtle (or not so subtle) message to your team that they can do better.
Some leaders fall into the trap of over-measuring. In a world where we have more and more access to granular data, it can be tempting to track everything. Maybe it makes us feel like better managers. That we are utilizing every scrap of information to drive our business or our team as hard as possible. But tracking everything is resource-intensive and confusing. Team members don’t know what is a priority and what isn’t. In Lesson 4, Jay helps managers understand what metrics they need to prioritize.
To see what Jay has to say about measuring performance and to learn more about building your leadership skills, visit Mentorforce University.