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People play differently when they are keeping score

The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4dx) written by Sean Covey, Chris McChesney and Jim Huling is an interesting read about how to encourage teams to execute strategy. A key part of the book deals with how we communicate progress to our teams.

The main premise is that lead and lag measures that are not captured on a visual scoreboard and updated regularly, will disappear into the 'distraction of the whirlwind'.

You may be thinking that you already have a scoreboard, or even lots of scoreboards, all captured in often complex spreadsheets inside your computer. This type of approach is what you would call a 'coach's scoreboard'.

To drive execution you need a players' scoreboard designed solely to engage the players on your team to win. In five seconds or less, anyone can determine whether we are winning or losing.

4 Characteristics of a Compelling Players' Scoreboard:

1. Is it simple? It must be simple. Coaches need the data to manage the game, but the scoreboard only shows the data needed to play the game.
2. Can I see it easily? It must be visible to the team. Visibility drives accountability.
3. Does it show lead and lag measures? This really helps a scoreboard come to life. (A lag measure might be income and a lead measure might be sales calls or client visits).
4. Can I tell at a glance if I'm winning? If the team can't quickly determine if they are winning or losing, then it's not a game, it's just data.

Often members of a team don't know whether they are winning or losing and so seem less bothered when targets are hit; and equally less bothered when targets are not hit. This is a thought provoking way of looking at the issue and makes a lot of sense when trying to increase accountability, improve team spirit and a create a rewarding atmosphere.

You can tweet Eric Branson, who wrote this guest article, @SJ_EricBranson

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