Many organisations need a success tracking practice, they just don’t realise it yet.
As any Team Sky cyclist will tell you – it’s great to be able to rely on the Team Sky staff team and the array of coaches on everything from telemetrics to nutrition.
Think about having your own team of performance coaches at work – wouldn’t that be fabulous?
Well some organisations are already well on their way – PwC, the United Nations and others – have set up success tracking programs, initially targeted at social media success. Employees can sign up to the program and they get personalised tracking scores combined with peer networking and coaching advice to help them succeed at social media.
The success tracking approach is one that you can introduce into your own organisation, or as a consultant, you can provide as a service to your clients. All it needs is a blend of coaching and attention to numerical feedback.
are we putting on our target number of sports viewing events in the categories we’re focusing on – e.g. # major events per month
are our audience enjoying the experience. – e.g. can we count/estimate dwell time, whether they are repeat visiting
R = Reach
are people bringing friends? how many parties have we accepted each month? is overall footfall increasing?
M = Monetisation
is spend on food and drinks increasing? are people tweeting and sharing their experience online (this is a form of monetisation as they are effectively doing your advertising for you – “earned media”)
Importantly with any G.E.R.M. success tracking program – it is vital to focus only on the metrics of one phase at a time – there is no point in working on Reach if you don’t have Engagement.
At a recent meetup, I found one e-commerce entrepreneur making that very mistake, this time in a costly way. He was shelling out hundreds of pounds a day for Adwords without first ensuring that his conversion rate was sufficient to make it worth it. Without a good conversion rate (akin here to an engagement metric) on your sample cohort there is no point in growing your advertising spend to reach a larger group – you’ll just get the same dismal conversion rate but with a larger number of people.
There is a transition occurring from the old paradigm in which leadership resided in a person or role, to a new one in which leadership is a collective process that is spread throughout teams and networks of people.
Collective leadership is particularly suited to very large organisations that act more like business ecosystems than single entities.
In the technology and professional services world, collective leadership also makes sense. One person cannot be expert in everything.
Collective leadership entails distributing and allocating leadership power to wherever expertise, capability and motivation sit within organisations.
One of the key skills of a collective leader, someone usually without the necessary command and control clout, is to influence and persuade colleagues to act in a certain way and develop in a certain direction.
A key approach to achieve collective leadership is success tracking.
Success tracking entails helping people track their own journey to success, and at the same time influencing the definition of what success looks like – perfect for collective leaders.
One of the interesting aspects (and challenges) of collective leadership is that aspiring leaders using social media can be very influential in directing the organisation.
I’ve seen a junior partner launch a success tracking program at a top consulting firm which other partners have then signed up to. They are tracking their success according to the scoring rules set by the junior partner. Most interestingly, this unsanctioned success tracking program has had much much higher engagement than the original formal tracking and development program. Indeed it has now been brought into the fold as part of the formal social media success tracking offered to partners.
The challenge for those looking to develop organisation leaders is then to spot those who are already leading and support their development.
What better way to do this than to introduce the success tracking approach into your leadership development curriculum?
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“.
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:
operational dashboards that enable front-line workers and supervisors to track core operational processes
tactical dashboards that help managers and analysts track and analyse departmental activities, processes and projects
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.
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?