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“.

How will the world be better when everyone is Success Tracking?

If Success Tracking spreads then we will see more people and organisations reaching their potential. 

This is our vision, it’s a picture of the way we want the world to be.

Rise was founded to provide technology and services that enable Success Tracking.
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A lot of potential remains unlocked because:
  • we don’t persist,
  • we don’t continue to iterate,
  • we accept the status quo or;
  • we expect external circumstances to change around us (e.g. winning the lottery).
By hoping for big wins, we can end up sitting around doing nothing, when we could have been making a start.
Success Tracking is the art of intentional, incremental, improvements that we make ourselves. It is:
  • Owning the 20 mile march.
  • The slow route to success.
  • Kaizen, little by little, 1% improvements.
  • Starting with one starfish
  • A journey worth taking note of.
  • Diligence, discipline and perseverance.
  • Achieving mastery, autonomy and purpose.
  • A mindset that runs counter to the prevalent get-rich-quick culture but it works!
I think there are two ways to success:
  1. the fast way – you get lucky and succeed fast – you land a big fish, you hit a home run or you win the lottery
  2. the slow way – hours of measured practice, tracking performance and optimising to improve, all add up to eventual success

The slow way is the best way because:

  1. It’s repeatable – you can apply the same approach to other roles
  2. It’s satisfying – you can feel you genuinely earned it
  3. You’ve achieved mastery – you know not just that you’re successful at something but why you are successful, it wasn’t just luck
  4. It’s respected – friends and peers will value your persistence
  5. You can take time to enjoy the journey – make friends along the way, take note of the highway, study the geeky aspects of what you’re doing. The journey to success can be as worthwhile as the achievement itself.
Slow success of course can take time – it took Gamification Guru Andrzej Marczewski 5 years to change career to his dream job – https://blog.rise.global/2017/07/04/7-ways-to-train-for-your-dream-job-lessons-learned/ – but change it he did, tracking his progress all the way.
Maintaining interest in performance over a long period of time is hard.
Most of us start with good intentions. We set up a dashboard we plan to check regularly, reviewing our analytics and optimising behaviour but over time we inevitably fade.
Success Tracking offers a methodology for us to achieve success by keeping us interested in our weekly or monthly performance.
Success Tracking does this through:
  • newsletters – we receive regular news bulletins tracking our success
  • storytelling – personalised stories  that bring the data to life “personal best!”
  • community – when we journey together we go further, we conform to peer behaviour
  • positive scorekeeping – we focus on tracking what we what more of so its always aspirational
We’ve set up Success Tracking University as an place for us to teach and explore the Success Tracking paradigm. Together we can make a vision of slowly achieved potential a reality.
I am keen to hear how you can help!

Why leaders must take control of the score

As a leader, one of your jobs is to keep those you lead focused on the goals you are trying to reach.

An underused tool in every leader’s toolbox is to create and share “the score”.

“The score” is how you have decided everyone should measure success, whether as individuals or as a group.

Whether we realise it or not, we all take account of the score in our daily lives. Indeed,  if you don’t share the score, people will invent their own. This can have hideous consequences as people chase after the wrong activities. No, it’s far better for you to take control of the score by choosing which KPIs matter and communicating them clearly.

As a leader it is your job to identify the scores that matter for the objectives you are seeking.

To do this, first write out the objectives and the success criteria for those objectives. These may be fairly numerical already. Then break down those objectives into the constituent parts and identify the important signals that you can measure reliably and easily. These are the metrics that go into making your score.

Next you need to attribute the score correctly. You have several options:

  • personal scores – this is a score for each individual. This approach works best in a group setting where there isn’t really a team objective – e.g. a conference, a group of separate businesses or a very large business
  • team scores – a score for your team. This works best when you are seeking to focus the efforts of your internal team – e.g. a KPI such as number of visitors to our website each month
  • market comparison – in more mature markets it may be more useful to focus on the comparison with peers – e.g. we are the number 1 supplier of milk in our region.

Finally, as a leader it’s not only your job to identify the scores that matter but also to communicate them regularly.

This could take many forms from a weekly email to a big screen TV leaderboard in the office. Whatever you choose, you need to remember that facts don’t speak for themselves. The medium you choose is important – people will take more notice of a leaderboard engraved in stone than one hastily scrawled on a piece of paper!

The score is an essential part of leadership. We all take account of the score whether we realise it or not. As a leader you can leverage the score and its communication to achieve the goals you’ve set for your team.

A great example of the importance of leaders and ‘communicating the score’ has recently taken the world’s media by storm. The Republican Party or Grand Old Party (GOP) Presidential candidates for the 2016 US elections recently debated each other on Fox News and presented to the audience what “scores” were important to them to keep and raise for the country. From here on in, how these individuals communicate their leadership goals to the people will be paramount. The use of Social Media will be more important than ever in reaching out and speaking to the electorate. Therefore we plan to monitor the online influence of the candidates and how this correlates with their popularity in the polls. Why not follow the The GOP Candidates Social Media Power Board and see for yourself. Interested in how much influence you have online? Why not join our Online Influencer Board and see how you compare?

 

 

Beware! People invent their own scores if you don’t give them yours.

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.

Scorekeeping vs measurement: the former will get you to drink your milk!

This is taken from Chuck Coonradt’s book “Scorekeeping for Success”.

What’s the difference between measurement and score keeping?  According to Chuck, “the major difference between score-keeping and measurement is that scorekeeping by nature is a positive process, while measurement is a negative one”.

Measurement Scorekeeping
Catches people doing it wrong Reinforces behaviour we want repeated
Is externally imposed Is chosen by player
Is presented after game Is dynamic
Forces competition Allows competition
Maximises excuses Maximises  celebration
Discourages ownership Stimulates ownership
Causes unnatural inhibition Is natural stimulation
Is too big to correct Is frequent enough to fix

Consider tracking a child’s growth in height, done by a nurse at the child’s doctor’s office versus by the child’s mum.

Measurement is what the nurse does when she measures how tall a child is, marks it at the doctor’s office on a chart that is never seen again, and uses it to place the child in a national percentile that lets him know that he is not the tallest person in his age group in the country.

measurement vs scorekeeping

Scorekeeping is what your mother does when she periodically measures how her child’s height and makes a loving mark on the wall, charting his growth; in a manner that is visible, encouraging and stimulating.

mum measuring

 

The nurse’s measurement will result in no behaviour change. Create a defeatist attitude based on realisation that most kids are taller than you are. It won’t get you to drink your milk.

The mum’s scorekeping, as the marks proceed progressively up the wall, motivates the child to drink his milk as he sees the progress he is making.

Grandfather of Gamification, Chuck Coonradt, explains infinite scorekeeping

When I wrote the “Game of Work”, in 1984, there were five core principles that would be considered, by many, to be the DNA of Gamification. They are as follows:

  • Goals Must Be Clearly Defined
  • Scorekeeping Must Be Clear and Predictable
  • Feedback Must Be Frequent and Appropriate
  • Rules Don’t Change in the Middle of the Game
  • There Must Be Freedom to Perform and Choice of Methods

Coach John Wooden said “It is what we learn after we think we know it all, that really matters.”

I agree, and after almost 40 years of hands-on experience with over 5,000 organizations, and hundreds of thousands of practitioners, I believe the most important learning has been that the creation of a culture of appropriate feedback is the most significant of the five principles we previously identified.

This principle is much more significant than I first realized and is the cornerstone of improved employee engagement through the gamification process.

The next great learning was that scorekeeping’s primary purpose was to create agreement between player and coach (not measurement or metrics). Feedback is based on:

  • When (what is appropriate frequency);
  • What Kind (celebratory, or corrective); and
  • How Much (primarily determined by the recipient)

Feedback is appropriate. This is the basis for judgment of the effectiveness of the scorekeeping system and scorecards within that system.

I am not a management scientist, like Jim Collins, but rather an observer of the different motivational levels demonstrated by the same people in different circumstances. Our observations produced a bit of a tongue twister, when we asked “Why will people pay for the privilege of working harder, than they will work when they are paid?

Let us learn about the power of infinite scoring from our experience with the games people all over the world love to play. The scorekeeping systems have several elements which make them the sustainable worldwide standard .

  • They are credible to the participants – all players accept the scorekeeping methods before being asked to play
  • They seldom change, if at all. Basketball took years to determine define and adopt the three point line, and then had to have several different distances.
  • They are objective – even the scoring of ice skating, diving, and gymnastics, (seemingly subjective) are governed by principles that insure the consistency which is necessary to gain credibility from the participants and viewers (fans)
  • They maximize the number of winners.
    • Compare 144 employees playing in a company golf tournament. – 6 different flights separated by player handicaps, 24 players per flight. Then you add longest drive, closest to the hole, and maybe even an award for most lost balls, and you have the possibility of multiple winners and several games within the game for overall best player.
    • Contrast that with the same 144 players in a tennis tournament where there will be only one ultimate winner. The first round 72 folks lose, and 72 move on to the next round., where another half of them will lose, until the final two are standing and then one of them will lose, resulting in a single winner. Unfortunately, the end result is 143 players whose final memory of the experience is a loss.
  • They allow the comparison between my CURRENT PERFORMANCE, MY PERSONAL PAST PERFORMANCE, AS WELL AS AN ACCEPTED STANDARD. For example,
    • Whether you are in a marathon or other measured distance running the primary goal is to beat your personal best, or
    • Golf , where a handicap (based on past personal performance) allows all of us to challenge ourselves against our previous performance
    • In both cases, there is a world record, and of course PAR, but the vast majority of participants are motivated by the comparison to past personal performance.
  • They are dynamic. Meaning players know the score during the game (which allows them to change their behavior to win, before time runs out)
    • Hockey fans are much more enthusiastic than figure skating fans because they know the score during the game.
    • A figure skater only knows how she/he did after the performance is over with no chance to improve.

The very powerful question, which drives human behavior, on and off the job is “Am I winning, losing or don’t know the score?”

Leaders, Coaches and those of us who assist them, must stay true to the principles of established scorekeeping to bring true employee engagement and satisfaction to the workplace.

The Game of Work is just like the Game of Life. Everyone wants to be a winner. With clear and predictable scorekeeping, you can win.

For additional information you may contact us for a free executive summary of ‘Scorekeeping for Success’ via email or visit our website

By using the core Game of Work principles, we have much more than just a shiny new object. We will have a very valuable tool for management and an opportunity for individuals to reach their full potential.

Just remember – “Given a Good Game, People Will Play Their Heart Out”.

This guest blog was written by Charles “Chuck” Coonradt, labelled as “the Grandfather of Gamification” in a Forbes Magazine article in 2012 by Ken Krogue

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Chuck is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of The Game of Work, founded in 1973 and dedicated to the success of its corporate clients. Graduate of Michigan State University. Internationally recognized in the fields of goal setting and profit improvement, as an author, consultant, and speaker. Chuck’s best selling books The Game of Work, The Better People Leader, Scorekeeping For Success, Managing The Obvious, and The Four Laws of Debt Free Prosperity have been labeled management “must reads.” He is a contributing author to the best selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series and quoted in an additional two dozen books. He is a founding member of the School of Entrepreneurship, Brigham Young University, Marriott School of Management.

The Game of Work’s client list includes many Fortune 500, as well as other nationally and internationally recognized firms. Companies that have successfully utilized and implemented Chuck’s unique concepts include Pepsi Cola, The Chicago Tribune, Nordstroms, The US Air Force and Postal Service, Boeing, Marker Bindings, Molina Healthcare, Coca-Cola Consolidated and International Paper. Over one million executives, managers, and supervisors on five continents have been exposed to Chuck’s ideas on feedback, scorekeeping, goal setting, coaching, choice and accountability.

Metric Hierarchies allowing hybrid scoring systems

Rise is the universal scorekeeping platform – that means any scoring system you can dream up we can support it.

Having your scoring system on rise  means you can automate creation and distribution of scores to each of your players.

In today’s update we’ve launched hierarchical metrics – now you can create sub groups of metrics. This might be useful from a display point of view – i.e. a social media score might group all activity on each platform, for ease of reading.

Where it really comes into its own however is when you want different ranking algorithms for each metric group. With this feature you can now combine absolute and relative scores in a single scoring system. For example you can set base scores for all players (perhaps based on longer term achievements) and overlay a relative score (perhaps based on the past 90 days).

So now the rise challenge. Can you come up with a scoring system and formula that Rise can’t support?! If so let us know…