An email from the team at Google Maps landed in my inbox recently. I knew that it was a “robo-generated” email, and yet I got engaged. The title of the email grabbed my attention first – “Your review is making a difference”. As I looked at it further and digested fully the message, I realised that Google was using the 5 core principles of Success Tracking
So, here’s how:
This bit of the email shows that I have opted-in to receive the success tracking report (score)
And the main part of the email shows how Google are adhering to no prizes, a simple score, storified content and positive score keeping
This is a great example of how just relevant feedback, storified and positive, is driving my behaviour change.
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?
When we read about it we immediately wanted to help spread the word by sharing some of our experiences with numerical feedback and how it can change behaviour. We have used numerical feedback as a tool to motivate users in a lot of projects we have designed or part of as it can be a quite powerful tool if used right.
In this blog post, we will talk about how Rise, a company that Toby Beresford founded, engages and motivates gamification professionals to be more active on social media. The aim of this case study is to have a look at how numerical feedback made us feel as users and changed our behaviour.
One way to use Rise is as a tool to make a leader board and keep track of how well players are doing on their social media and online presence.
The leader board we participate in is called Gamification Gurus Power 100 (https://www.rise.global/gurus) and monitors how well participants are doing on their social media. The metrics include Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn interaction with the audience as well how many blog posts you uploaded for the month.
We will start by explaining how leader boards work as a game mechanic and what effect they have on the players and on audiences watching the players. Then we will list the goals behind this leader board and how it promotes the gamification industry.
How do leader boards work
The sole purpose of leader boards is to introduce competition among the players. Let’s take a sport like Tennis as an example. Let’s have a look at the Men’s Singles leader board for 2017.
We need to keep in mind again that a leader board works on three levels:
it helps the designer of the system to reach the goals of the project,
it motivates and rewards players and;
engages and informs the audience that follows the sport and the leader board.
Let’s break this leader board down and analyse it to see how it works on each of these levels. Going from left to right, the first thing we see is the rank of the players and their name. It may seem obvious but it’s important to have numbers indicating the ranking every player occupies on the leader board. Being number one is a matter of status, I want to see the number 1 next to my name if I am first on the leader board. The same goes for the audience, they want to know who is the best at their favourite sport. By giving this information first the designer of the leader board awards status to the players and informs the audience about who is the best at what they are interested in.
Next element of this leader board is a list of flags indicating where each player comes from and which country they represent. The designer here wants to remind us that Tennis is a sport that people play all over the world. It’s not a national but rather an international phenomenon and each player represents his or her country. Players feel proud to represent their country of course and audiences from these countries are proud to see their flag up there on the leader board.
Third element is the movement of players and how many places they went up or down the leader board. This element shows the progress of players in time. Maybe I was third last month but now I managed to climb to number one or two. It’s important to show how stable player’s performance is. The best players always perform well over a long period of time.
Finally, we have points! Points are rewarded to players for playing the game. The better they play, the more points they get and they perform better than their competitors. This is the element that determines the ranking in every leader board. This is the numerical feedback we have been talking about. Points can be very useful because we can quantify performances based on them. You can see how many wins each player made throughout the year and how many times he lost.
What does the Gamification Gurus Power 100 achieve?
Let’s have a look now at how numerical feedback helps the gamification industry grow by changing behaviours.
A leader board that rewards people to share good content online related to gamification works on three levels as well. First, we have the designer (Toby Beresford in our case) that wants to motivate gamification professionals to share content regularly to grow the industry and create a buzz around it and around Rise, which is his product and he wants to demonstrate its usefulness.
Then we have the players, the gamification professionals that their reward is status that helps them boost their profile in the gamification community. I also think that getting credit from your peers when you share something useful is very motivating. The same goes for some of the conversations that start online and the information you may get on a new project you didn’t know about.
We can’t forget the audience of course. People that want to know more about gamification and they can have a look at the leader board to know who to ask for some information and knowledge on gamification.
Getting numerical feedback from this leader board has really changed the way we think about our social media. We all know that it’s very good to promote good content on social media and have active profiles that help you promote your work.
Participating in the Gamification Gurus leader board though, has really changed the way we use social media. We now feel that we get something extra for being active and for creating engaging content.
As we mentioned earlier, points can really help you analyse a performance and see what you need to improve and of course how well other people are doing on the same thing. Curiosity is in all of us and can motivate us to participate in something to see how good we are compared to other people.
PS. Editor’s note: you might be interested to see that Pete has increased his score from 24 this time last year to 73 (out of 100) on the Gamification Gurus, and Vasilis has increased his from 31 to 65: