At our company we wanted to find out exactly where we had gaps in our operation—either in customer service, or other in-house areas like packaging or training—so we decided to create a simple company scorecard.
The words “company scorecard” can evoke thoughts of data gathering, spreadsheets and painful diagnosis, so we took a different approach: we asked our employees for help creating it.
We asked them to each pick 5 – 6 key attributes of our business—not just what they felt needed improvement. We ended up with over 30 suggestions, from how to package shipments to improving overall quality, so each employee picked their top 3 to 4 choices.
With some executive coaching, we whittled them down to these 6 attributes:
- Sales and Marketing
- Capital Investments
- Cash Flow
Now comes the difficult part of implementing actual measures, right? Not really. We decided that instead of trying to come up with hard measures for each attribute, we would instead grade ourselves like a customer would.
Each month we rate our performance, giving ourselves an A – D letter grade. At first I thought we’d be easy on ourselves—but we weren’t. Thankfully we all had passing grades, but we spent most of our time discussing the mistakes that got us there.
By the forth month we had moved forward to real improvement suggestions, because when the results don’t change behaviors have to.
As CEO and principal owner I saw a bunch of suggestions we acted upon and others we dismissed as a group. These ranged from everyday choices (new equipment purchases or changes in personnel) to much bigger ones (investing in new ERP software).
The grades are improving and we’re seeing attributable growth, all in just a few months. Just as important, we’re also seeing improved attitudes: our employees appreciate getting a good score as a result of their hard work and good choices.
In the end we learned a valuable lesson: performance measures are key but they don’t have to be difficult, just honest.
I hope you find this insight helpful,