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.

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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.

 

 

Use Success Tracking to encourage sales team micro-behaviours

As a sales manager you have a pretty good idea of the tools and techniques it takes to be a successful seller.

Often you can see the behaviours that your top sellers are doing, mostly out of habit, that you’d love to see in your mid and lower range sellers.

These behaviours could be the big obvious macro-behaviours – like getting out of the office, picking up the phone and making calls, but they might also be micro-behaviours, those smaller tips and tweaks that over 100 calls would make an incremental difference.

Examples of micro-behaviours might be:

  • tweeting on social media once a day,
  • keeping track of customer birthdays,
  • checking the industry movers and shakers news,
  • exchanging news with a colleague or
  • doing extra call preparation.

The micro-behaviours might only result in small improvements for each individual– an extra sale here or there – but as a sales manager, you know that if everyone on the team did them, that would all add up to a sizeable difference.

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But, if micro-behaviours are worth considering you still have the problem of how to incentivise them!

After all, most of your sales staff only get out of bed when there’s money to be earned, it’s the nature of the sales function and decades of conditioning from sales motivation programs based on financial rewards.

What you’ll find is that the big behaviours are already heavily incentivised: finding opportunities, making calls and closing deals are all covered within your formal  sales incentive scheme. It’s formal because this scheme is compulsory – every seller is measured by it and the commissions they earn are the key reason they come to work.

You may have other mandatory sales motivation programs on top of the commission structure too – for example, I’ve seen many managers circulate a sales leaderboard to encourage competition between sellers and win an additional, local, prize.

But micro-behaviours aren’t valuable enough in themselves to be worth incentivising with cash. So how do you do it and sustainably?

sales micro and macro behaviours

One approach is to run a success tracking program.

In a success tracking program, you help a seller improve professionally by giving good, digital feedback.

To do so, you track, for each seller, the micro-behaviours that you’ve seen work – for example, if you’ve seen digital selling on Twitter make a difference then you can offer to count for each seller how many tweets they did each day.

You can save them the trouble of tracking and reporting the number of tweets themselves.

The exact micro-behaviours you identify will be according to your context and business. Your job as a sales manager is to identify them, make a list and then encourage the rest of the team to apply them.

Don’t forget, you need to offer your team your success tracking service on an optional basis. Don’t position the program as yet another sales incentive scheme or management and monitoring scheme, instead position it as a self-help tool for them to help them get better at selling. By getting better at the micro-behaviours of selling they can be sure that this will improve their results on the macro-behaviours where they are formally rewarded.

instead position it as a self-help tool for them to help them get better at selling.

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Another way to look at this is, to think about “lead” and “lag” indicators.

Typically sales remuneration is focused on “lag” indicators – opportunities closed for example. These indicators track how you sellers did in the past but they are difficult for sellers to improve themselves – they can’t magic up sales opportunities to close.

Lead indicators are the KPIs that track behaviours that lead to successful sales (and closed opportunities) – filling the top of your sales pipeline with prospects for example. That’s a surefire way (if not the only way) to increase the number of closed deals that come out the other end.

A good success tracking program focuses on the lead indicators that bring success.

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So, how do you go about designing your success tracking program?

You can test success tracking very easily today.  These are the steps:

  1. Decide what do you want to track = what metrics matter? How do you weight them or assign points? You might want to ask your team.
  2. Who do you want to track? Are you tracking teams or individuals?
  3. How will you collect the data? Can you automate data collection or will some steps need manual intervention?
  4. How will you distribute the score to opted-in sellers?
  5. How will you track your own success in running the program? Has it contributed to a positive change in behaviour among your sellers?

I recommend heading over to Success Tracking University where I present a couple of courses you can take to learn more about Success Tracking.

 

 

Designing your digital badge – a handy checklist of visual elements

badge list

Creating one digital badge is relatively easy – creating many can get quite hard, harder still if you want to roll out the ability to give badges to others within your organisation.

If you’re creating more than one badge, you’ll find you need to define your digital badge guidelines – it’s like having a brand book but for badges.

One organisation that’s an expert at badges is the Girl Guiding association – their guidelines on how to create a bespoke badge are worth reading to see how it’s done.

pb 60It’s quite common for organisations to leave badge design to their visual design team, however it is important that business users are involved in the strategic visual decisions – what stays the same for each badge, and what differs. Badges once given can be displayed anywhere so are an important visual marker of your success tracking program, getting them wrong or designing them badly can undermine confidence in your core program itself.

Adventure Badge
While a visual designer can make the same badge look very different, it’s up to the business leader to define what elements of the badge remain standard for each different badge and what can be changed.

 

In this post, I want to signpost some of the key visual language decisions you need to make when designing your badges. Your written guidelines should  then state clearly which of these can be changed and which need to remain the same for each new badge.

pb 60Shape

Shape is important in badges – while the most common are circles, squares and shields, any shape can be the canvas for your badge, even a star!0023_free_vector_graphics.jpg

Border

The border can frame the badge by being a different colour from the main shape. It could even support text within it.

Banner

Banners are often placed inside, above or below the shape. The banner will usually include text to explain the badge.

Central Icon

Badges often have a clear icon that summarises the activity for which the badge was awarded.

Typography

Many badges include quite a bit of text to explain what they are for, the font you choose should reflect your brand. Be aware that badges are often shown at small resolutions so readability is important.

Colour

For me colour shouldn’t be used to mean too much – digital badges are inherently global and colour can have a very subjective meaning – that’s not to say it won’t be appropriate to use it in some circumstances.

Decoration

Adorning your badge with a serated edge, a repeating background pattern, an extra icon or perhaps a double border can give your badge a different feel.

Rating

Rating stars are often used within badge design to denote achievement level.

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In terms of text / icons that you need to fit onto a badge consider the following:

Institution

The stamp of the institution awarding the badge.

Date

Badges may be awarded for all time or they could represent achievements for a certain time period.

Achievement

The achievement or the activity for which the badge was earned.

Level

The level at which the badge was earned

Category

Your overall categorisation for the badge.

Qualifier

The region, locality for which the badge was earned.

pb 60So, there’s plenty of permutations for your digital badge design!

Spending some time in advance defining what you keep standard and what you change each time will help you.

Don’t forget, once your badge is defined you can use them at scale by hosting the badge itself on Credly.com and use Rise.global to automate distribution based on your scoring criteria.