The Success Tracking Difference (5) – Player Controls

In this mini-series, “The Success Tracking Difference“, we are focusing on the differences between the new discipline of Success Tracking and traditional analytics / business dashboards.

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Giving staff more control over how they are measured can lead to higher motivation and performance. Photo by Sergey Svechnikov

If you’re success tracking for your team, for example tracking your Facebook page against your competitors, then there’s no need for privacy controls – you are both the player and the manager.

However if it’s your team who are success tracking then you are the manager and they are the players.

As a success tracking manager you need to lay aside your old dogma of command and control and instead use coaching and calculation to influence your staff behaviour.

As a coach you are as interested in your player’s development, as you are in the success of the team – they go hand in hand: team success and player success. You cannot have one without the other.

As a calculator your job is to create and maintain a score algorithm that blends both sets of objectives. The score algorithm, it’s ranking rules, metrics and weightings, now become your management lever instead of traditional sticks and carrots.

On the player side we know from Deci and Ryan’s research that high performance comes in a context where they feel in control of their circumstances. In most cases that means having some power over how you are measured.

Contexts supportive of autonomy, competence, and relatedness were found to foster greater internalization and integration than contexts that thwart satisfaction of these needs. This latter finding, we argue, is of great significance for individuals who wish to motivate others in a way that engenders commitment, effort, and high-quality performance. – Deci and Ryan (2000)

A good success tracking system should therefore offer players a number of abilities that allow them to control and manipulate the scoring system, without compromising the overall goals of the program for the manager.

Examples of this might include:

  • a granular level of privacy over how they are represented on any leaderboard (whether shown as anonymous or identified)
  • control over their inclusion in the program (the ability to opt-in to receiving a score without appearing on the leaderboard, the ability to opt-out entirely, the right to erasure)
  • communications forums such as a scoring committee or leadership council with the ability to represent the views of players
  • transparency over how the score algorithm works (the ability to reverse engineer so you can see how you got your score)
  • control over how your score and rank is displayed on your social profile (the ability to choose to highlight your best score ever versus your latest score for example)

Now, not all success tracking programs will be able to offer players all the possible controls. There are some contexts – for example a sales leaderboard at work – where opt-out is not viable – however we believe that by maximising the controls available to the player, a manager can, to paraphrase Deci and Ryan, provide a context that supports autonomy and that leads to greater buy-in and ultimately higher performance.

We might characterise it as “Give more to Get more“.

The Success Tracking Difference (4) : Sorted One Way

In this mini-series, “The Success Tracking Difference“, we are focusing on the differences between the new discipline of Success Tracking and traditional analytics / business dashboards.

When you look at team statistics on an excel spreadsheet and find yourself at the bottom it can be very tempting to reorder the spreadsheet on a favourable metric which puts you near the top.

This ability for players to reorder the leaderboard by any metric is not used in a success tracking program because it allows multiple worldviews. In a peer success tracking program, part of the value of the single score and the weighting is that this has been commonly agreed. By allowing different leaderboards to be generated this dilutes the impact of the main leaderboard.

Success tracking is also about flexing the algorithm until it’s right. By forcing everyone to focus on the single score it encourages a deep debate on what metrics should be tracked, their weighting and the score algorithm itself.

That’s why on Rise you won’t see a leaderboard with the ability to sort by any metric even if there are more than one metric shown such as in the Gamification Gurus Power 100 board below:

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In Success Tracking everyone focuses on the main score, you can’t reorder (sort) the leaderboard by any of the sub metrics.

Now you know!

The Success Tracking Difference (3) : Self-Management

In this mini-series, “The Success Tracking Difference“, we are focusing on the differences between the new discipline of Success Tracking and traditional analytics / business dashboards.

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Success Tracking enables introspection and self optimisation. Photo by Ben Warren

In Wayne Eckerson’s book, Performance Dashboards: Measuring, Monitoring, and Managing Your Business he describes 3 types of performance dashboards:

  1. operational dashboards that enable front-line workers and supervisors to track core operational processes
  2. tactical dashboards that help managers and analysts track and analyse departmental activities, processes and projects
  3. strategic dashboards that let executives and staff chart their progress toward achieving strategic objectives

Each type of dashboard offers three sets of related functionality – monitoring, analysis and management but in different degrees. For example operational dashboards focus more on monitoring, tactical dashboards help users analyse the root causes and strategic dashboards focus on achievement of overall management goals.

Instead of being focused on a traditional command and control management structure, the Success Tracking approach recognises staff to active participants in their own management. We want to see staff discover autonomy, mastery and purpose.

To enable, this a Success Tracking dashboard blends Eckerson’s three types of dashboards from the point of view of the user not the manager.

In success tracking we are now doing requiring all three performance dashboard types – monitoring ourselves, analysing our patterns of behaviour and managing our own progress journey.

This is different from the traditional approach where only an operational dashboard is given to staff. Each staff member is expected to monitor specific activities but is not being asked to take a wider view. Someone monitoring activity isn’t expected to ask “is what I’m doing as effective as I could be? Does it help me reach my overall goal?”

Real time isn’t that important

One side effect of this is that real time information, as is usually associated with monitoring use cases, can get in the way of analysis best practice. Instead freezing the data into periodic “releases” is more helpful. This means we can faithfully compare this week’s performance with last week’s for example.

Introspection and analysis requires time set aside to look at the data from a wider perspective. By notifying staff on a regular timetable – say the same time each week – you encourage the formation of analysis habits, setting aside time to consider progress.

Key takeaway

The key though to understanding and planning your success tracking program is think of it from the “player point of view” – how does this help someone achieve their epic win? how does the dashboard show them how they are progressing on the journey? how does it allow them to self-optimise?

 

The Success Tracking Difference (2) : Branding

In this mini-series, “The Success Tracking Difference“, we are focusing on the differences between the new discipline of Success Tracking and traditional analytics / business dashboards.

Most analytics systems don’t stretch beyond the numbers themselves: they don’t provide a narrative that applies to the context.

Most web businesses and bloggers are familiar with Google Analytics – the free web site visitor analytics service. It’s very much a one-size fits all approach:

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Google Analytics gives little opportunity for branding your analytics program

The Google Analytics layout is pure business dashboard design thinking – you can see graphs which represent the numbers visually. There is a pretty heat map to show time of day but essentially this enables you to access the numbers.

Google Analytics provides no additional context: the visual branding is the same for whatever I am analysing – whether it’s one of my web sites or one of my blogs.

Contrast this with analysing my step count on FitBit:

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FitBit here is strongly branded – I’m very aware the  I’m on FitBit. I ask my friends if they are on FitBit – I use language like “I’m going to check my FitBit”. In fact the branding is so strong I wouldn’t naturally think of myself as “doing analytics” or “reviewing my statistics”. I just think of it all as “FitBit”.

Branding really matters because it provides a bridge allowing emotional engagement with my tracking numbers.

Imagine if FitBit stats were presented in the same format as my Google Analytics – I can’t see them as being nearly so successful!

With success tracking, we take branding seriously – that’s why Rise Board has its own brand and visual identity:

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Every board on Rise is branded differently

By taking the time to give your success tracking program a brand you create context for your players, a language, a visual identity and an emotional connection.

A good success tracking program, like FitBit, becomes a brand in itself.

The Success Tracking Difference (1) : Single Score

In this mini-series, “The Success Tracking Difference“, we are focusing on the differences between the new discipline of Success Tracking and traditional analytics / business dashboards.

The single score is probably the most far reaching difference.

Compare the following images, one of a typical “business dashboard” the other of a single score success tracking program.

A business dashboard tends to feature several data visualisations without enabling the viewer to see a summary of everything in one go. It is designed with “monitoring” in mind – the idea that you are always watching the monitoring dashboard in case something goes wrong.

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A typical business dashboard layout with several graphics competing for attention

A success tracking program, such as the LinkedIn Social Selling Index, on the other hand, is designed for regular check-in and focuses attention on a single number.

Screenshot 2017-07-17 10.12.39

 

There are many benefits of tracking’s single score approach:

  • Simple to understand – everyone can appreciate a single number
  • Fast personal comparison – you can quickly see if things have changed (gone up or down)
  • Easy to communicate – you can send a single score via SMS text
  • Embeds priorities – you can add another layer of intelligence to the tracking by weighting different metrics and so prioritising some over others
  • Enables peer comparison – you can benchmark and rank yourself against others

The main disadvantage of the single score is that it takes time to design a good one. Working out the relative importance of different metrics is never straightforward. it is the job of the score designer to embed their own expert biases in the weighting. That means each “score algorithm” should be adjusted for the local context and business priorities.

This also means that just taking an “off the shelf” index such as that provided natively by companies like LinkedIn with SSI above, is not a good strategy.  Using someone else’s weighting is unlikely to deliver as great returns against your business goals as if you created your own single score weighted to your business preferences.

Social Permanence Matrix

editability matrix

My Social Permanence Matrix is one way to model the different rules each social network applies to editing and deleting posts.

Lawyers have identified the edit button (and by extension the delete button) as being legally important – the edit button: can the past be erased.

The four quadrants are:

  • Editable and Delible – Facebook posts and comments. They can be removed from the record, permanently
  • Indelible yet editable – Hipchat messages you can use the substitution command to make quick edits to your last message while Quora answers are editable but all revisions are kept making your original answer indelible.
  • Ineditable and Delible – Tweets can be deleted once sent but you can’t edit them. This also applies to a certain extent to Snapchat messages that you know will be deleted once received by the recipient.
  • Ineditable and Indelible – chat messages cannot be changed once sent, nor can Trip Advisor reviews. Rise releases are stored in perpetuity too.

As can be seen from this simple matrix, there are already several different ways to handle the permanence of social content.

And now, with GDPR looming (May 2018) for most networks, social permanence presents new issues.

At stake are competing priorities such as:

  • revisionism – the ability to “change history”
  • right to be forgotten – the ability to be erased from history on request
  • data integrity – the need to maintain a dataset in its original form – for example for audit purposes

Many social networks maintain multiple digital objects, each potentially requiring slightly different  editability rules  – whether that be a photo, a post, a comment, a like, a snap, a check in, a release,  or even a view.

Right now, individual users tend to have primacy in terms of features available. For example:

  • I can clear my search history
  • I can edit Facebook posts to present an entirely different point of view to the one I originally thought
  • Politicians can delete tweets of views they no longer hold, or where they were wrong

However, as the shared, multi-stakeholder requirements around media increase in importance then the user must release power to others. I think the latest legal challenge in the USA over whether the president has the right, under the constitution, to filter out the tweets of certain citizens on a public network like Twitter, is very interesting indeed! (Trump tramples US Constitution by blocking Twitter critics – lawsuit)

I think the social networks will need to store not just the post but the revisions (and make them available) – in the way that Quora will store revisions of any answers I put on its site.

For us at Rise we will be adjusting our rules to so that we keep a copy of original releases (and allow users to find them if needed) but if you re-release that will be the one everyone sees by default, they’ll have to drill down to find the original release.

This seems like best practice of course but then as you quash one issue another emerges… does this comply with GDPR and the right to be forgotten?

Whatever the reality, there are going to be lots more jobs for digital lawyers in the future!

 

 

Three types of Open Badge distribution approach to consider

When thinking about the distribution architecture for your digital Open Badge program there are 3 viable approaches you should consider:

Manual Distribution based on Simple Criteria

Manual distribution is often fairly easy to do – an open badge platform  like Credly will provide features for sending badges via email and via claim codes.

From an administration point of view, manual distribution only works when there are a small number of badges, a simple criteria for achievement (attendance at an event, completion of a course for example) and a small number of recipients.

However, short of hiring a pool of badge administrators, this does not allow you to scale! For more ambitious programs, automation is required:

Automated Distribution based on Simple Criteria

With automated distribution you will need a separate system for handling the criteria achievement. Most gamification and success tracking platforms can do this for you. For example Rise lets you set up a number of checkboxes which can be updated via API, via spreadsheet upload or manually by managers.

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Rise metrics can be sophisticated based on numerical thresholds but can also be very simple – a checkbox for example

Then the tracking platform connects to the open badge provider and automatically distributes the badge once all the criteria are met.

One of the advantages of having an underlying tracking platform for multiple simple criteria is that for each badging program you can display the current participants and track staff as they progress. This provides social feedback for other staff who are encouraged to join the program and for those staff mid-progress, they are herded towards completion.

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A Rise board provides one way to track both simple and complex criteria for your badge recipients and then automatically distribute open badges on successful completion

 

But in many more sophisticated programs the criteria may develop to be more sophisticated than a simple yes or no – perhaps a grading system or different badges for different thresholds met?

Automated Distribution based on Complex Criteria

A good example of this sort of automated distribution might be a social selling success tracking program. Giving sales reps a badge dependent on their current size of LinkedIn network would certainly recognise them, and spur them to increase their reach and so earn the badge for the next level up.

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Automatically distributing threshold based badges for LinkedIn network size via a Credly account.

Again having an underlying gamification or success tracking platform is absolutely vital. The platform can track each underlying metric and then apply the badge rules and automate the distribution of badges as needed.

With multiple criteria the individual participants will want to see how they are doing – here the tracking app comes into its own as it can provide a dashboard for each participant to see the breakdown of their current scores and progress over time.

Rise clients are doing exactly this by linking their Rise board with Credly badges for seamless automated distribution. Contact us to find out how Rise can support you in your Badge program.