One of my working theories is that if you don’t show people the score, for whatever endeavour you are currently engaged in, they will, subconsciously or otherwise, invent their own.
Take the example of the creative agency whose management team has failed to share the company KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) with their staff. As a result some staff believe the “score” is the number of awards the agency wins and spend undue time trying to win awards rather than deliver results for clients. Others might believe the score is the number of hours spent in the office – and so is bred a work culture where being seen to be present, long into the night, is valued more highly than a job finished on time and to budget.
Some of the best offices I’ve been in show people the score that matters and keep them notified.
When I visited Playfish, the social games company that sold to EA in Nov 2009 for $300 million, the digital dashboard allover the office clearly showed the number of DAUs (Daily Active Users) and MAUs (Monthly Active Users) – the two key metrics that the company believed were important (and for a social games company they are.) If you worked at Playfish you could never have been in any doubt what was the important score – it wasn’t the number of lines of code you had written, the brilliance of your memos or your attentiveness at meetings – no it was the engagement of your customers. As long as those two numbers were climbing, everyone could sleep easy, knowing that they and their company were hitting their objectives.