Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what’s normal.
Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.
In a nutshell
For most of my 48 years working life I’ve observed that in the very best workplaces progress towards shared objectives has been visible via scorecards and/or scoreboards of some kind.
When ‘The Balanced Scorecard’ concept began to be adopted from 1996 not only did the pictures get better, so did what was being pictured.
In the last 8 years there’s been a further raising of the bar as the wisest people apply ‘The Progress Principle’ which was rated by Harvard Business Review as the breakthrough idea of 2010.
You can learn more about ‘The Balanced Scorecard’ and ‘The Progress Principle’ via the companion resources web page to my Remarkable Workplaces book.
The key for me about ‘The Progress Principle’ is the insight "making progress in meaningful work visible.”
I’ve never thought much of the idea that what gets measured gets done. I’m much more aligned with the following:
“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”
William Bruce Cameron in 'Informal Sociology' published 1963.
3 recommended actions
1) Have a candid, convivial and compassionate conversation with your team about your keeping score philosophy.
Ask these questions:
How much is our focus on tangibles or outcomes/results?
How can we get better at focusing on intangibles or processes or routines/rituals, i.e the things that lead to our outcomes/results.
2) Explore "making progress in meaningful work visible” with your team.
How could you embrace it and make it integral to daily work in your workplace?
3) Use visual formats and processes that the people involved relate to
Beyond traffic lights, graphs, thermometers and the like, what visual formats will you use to “making progress in meaningful work visible,” and that people really relate to?
Recommended Deep work
1) Over time create harmony between Key Human Indicators and Key Performance Indicators.
I first learned the phrase Key Human Indicators from futurist Gerd Leonhard.
I also love Gerd’s idea of androrithms "those qualities that makes us human" having more meaning than algorithms.
In my work with clients the behaviours that demonstrate the living of values are key human indicators. Here’s an example from Jamie Wilson, Sales manager for Victoria, Australia for Haymes Paint:
“In all interactions and transactions with fellow employees and business partners we perform with passion, pride in our work, professionalism, and the highest levels of honesty.”
Key Human Indicators are also the essential skills required to thrive in the new world of work.
Below is a partial list of these skills. What would you add to the list?
empathizing, collaborating, creating, leading and building relationships. Source.
Influence, Self-leadership, Communication, Agility, Resilience, Proactivity, Teachability, Curiosity, Vulnerability, Humour. Source.
2) The skills referenced above are all critical to value delivery. What other lead value delivery indicators need to be maximised in your workplace?
The format in which people receive what they want is one such lead indicator.
Elements of your customer’s experience when doing business with you are indicators.
I love the insight that it's jobs being made redundant not people. Learn more about this.
Make a list of the jobs that you believe will never be redundant? What you've listed are a key to value delivery.
Being of value is the great quest we're all on. As Einstein put it:
"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value"
3) Create and execute a plan over the next year to improve your communication, conversations and presentations in general and the other Sparkenator roles. Include your being better, wiser and more valuable as a Sparkenator in "making progress in meaningful work visible.”