Guest Post by Mark Miller

People love to keep score. Leaders help people keep score. These two facts both contribute to improved performance. However, improvement is not automatic; a key driver in the process is the scorecard. Today, I want to address the fundamental question every leader and every team has to struggle with: What’s on your scorecard?

On the surface, it seems like a simple question. In reality, it can be one of the most difficult and important questions a leader has to make. An effective scorecard enables a leader and the team to quickly identify critical issues and to monitor the impact of their work.

I often draw the picture above and share the following story to stimulate the conversation regarding what should be on the scorecard…

Suppose you’ve been stranded on a deserted island for 5 years. When they come to rescue you, you ask, “How’s the business (or church, or school, or whatever you’re charged to lead) doing?” The response: “Which 3 numbers do you want?”

That’s all you get – not an annual report, not an Excel spreadsheet, only 3 key numbers. Which ones will you choose? The numbers you choose are your leading contenders to be on your scorecard. Without even realizing it, if you’ve chosen wisely, you’ve identified the primary health indicators for your business/team.

Often when I lead a group through this exercise, there are questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked ones and my responses.

Q: Can we have more than 3 numbers?

A: For the purposes of the exercise no – in reality, sure. Be careful – too many metrics on the scorecard diffuses focus and can negatively impact your results.

Q: What if we really want to track dozens of different performance metrics?

A: That’s great. You can track anything that you believe will enhance your performance; just don’t put them on page one of the scorecard.

Q: Is there a second page?

A: There can be. Think about a major league baseball pitcher. On page one of their scorecard you might find: Wins and Losses; Earned Run Average (ERA) and Innings Pitched. However, on page two, you might find: pitch count, pitch location, pitch selection and even release time to the plate. If you aren’t getting the outcomes you desire, you can often find clues on page two.

Q: Can the scorecard change?

A: Absolutely. I’ve seen many scorecards that are anchored by a few constant metrics; but also contain one or two key numbers that change over time as the needs of the business/team change.

These are just a few of the questions that you and your team can think about. At the end of the conversation, be sure your scorecard embodies the outcomes you desire because… what gets measured gets done.

Note from Bob:  You were probably hoping that Mark would give you the answer to “What are the 3 key numbers you should ask for?”  By now you have realized that he did not!  So, what are the 3 key numbers that you would ask for?  

Please share your answer below!  Thanks!

Mark Miller is the V.P. Training and Development at Chick-fil-A and a best-selling author and communicator.

Would you like the link to Mark’s blog? greatleadersserve

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27 thoughts on “WHAT’S ON YOUR SCORECARD?

  1. Eric Nelson says:

    I love the scorecard. As they say…… if we arent keeping score we are just practicing. Thanks for the timely reminders and thought provoking posts Bob

  2. Eric, what 3 numbers would you want?

  3. beckahr says:

    Can’t wait to show this to our leadership team!

  4. Tom Meiner says:

    We are just getting started on this. We count new scripts initiated and new languages recorded. Need to do the hard work of finding our third measure.

  5. Great start Tom– just for fun–what might be the 3rd measure? There are no right or wrong answers.

  6. Dion Steinborn says:

    WIN – # of new Professing Believers BUILD – # of Engaged Disciples SEND – # of Multiplying Leaders

  7. Dion – Good Answer–Thanks! This is a fun exercise!

  8. Tom Horvath says:

    1. Profit – Are we making any money? (a lagging indicator)
    2. Pipeline – What does the incoming revenue look like? (a leading indicator)
    3. Marketplace/Competitive – Are we still relevant and providing value? (a gut indicator)

  9. Tom–thanks so much for sharing your wisdom with us!

  10. John Elzinga says:

    Guest Satisfaction
    Employee Engagement
    UCP [Unit Controllable Profit = gages Sales to three primary expanse catagories]

  11. John Thanks! What do you think if this exercise?

  12. Neal says:

    Great question! For me personally the 3 are:
    • Am I daily making space for God?
    • Do I feel closely connected to my immediate family?
    • Am I continually learning?
    For my ministry I want to share this challenge and hear the responses but mine are:
    • Identify potential leaders
    • Leaders feel prepared to face challenges
    • Staff retention is healthy

  13. Fernando says:

    I appreciate the focus. If you are looking at too many metrics and can not make heads or tails on what to do with all the information… focus. If you really are not keeping metrics the way that you should, this is a great way to get started. The simplicity of FOCUS.

    Going after a new market in Mexico, what I want to know from my sales reps and marketing team to get the pulse on our efficacy there:
    1)How many new customers are you committing to me in the next 90 days?
    2)How many qualified prospects are in our pipeline that have viable “next steps” associated with them?
    3)How many new “touches” will our marketing folks have made with new prospects in the next 90 days?

    The answer to this question will give me a very good idea of how we are doing.

  14. Pam Smith says:

    1. FTE (full time student equivalents from which I can approximate tuition income)
    2. Headcount
    3. Donor base

    Then, my next comment would be: “Now that we have that info, on a scale of 1-to-10, how well is the community stewarding the mission and vision?” (See, Bob Tiede? I can’t help but to launch into coaching questions, even after 5 years on a desert island.)

  15. Fernando and Pam–great insights! Who do you plan to share this exercise with?

  16. Dan Tavsancea says:

    For our entire movement in EERu my 3 questions would be:
    1. How many countries do we have in Stage 1, 2 and 3
    2. How many staff do we have
    3. How many multiplying disciples

    Regarding our Area Operations, my 3 questions would be:
    1. Number of countries which have leaders for their Operations
    2. Financial situation
    3. Financial trend

  17. Ben thomas says:

    Thanks for the post Bob. Here are my 3 for me personally:
    1. Am I receiving God’s love and sharing it with others today?
    2. Am I loving my wife and kids in ways that please the Lord?
    3. Am I being obedient and faithful to what God has put on my plate today?

  18. Dan and Ben–Grateful for your insights!

  19. Drew says:

    Really enjoyed this one, as it resonates with a lot of what I heard at CSU ’11 with keeping things simple. For me on campus, my top 3 would like this:

    1. Number of gospel conversations.
    2. Number of students involved in discipleship (discipled & discipling)
    3. Number of alumni actively pursuing evangelism, discipleship, etc. in their local church or workplace. (helps determine our 100% Sent efficacy)

  20. Adam says:

    Campus Ministry:
    # people come to Christ
    # people able to disciple others at a basic level
    # people sent out as missionaries (vocational or marketplace)

  21. Drew and Adam looks like you are both in agreement! Thanks for responding!

  22. Lorna Johnson says:

    Impact Campus had these for our 1st Seasonal Emphasis-Freshman Outreeach:
    # of Leaders coming back early to Fall Session
    # of Evangelism Faith Goals
    # in The Journey Groups (Follow-up)

  23. Thanks Lorna–this looks really good!

  24. Beni says:

    As a financial manager it is often a challenge for me to narrow it down to the “score card”; in my case the 1-3 most most important financial info that will be helpful to the leaders… how much money we have; what amount is undesignated and our ‘problem’ accounts (in deficit or heading for deficit)..

  25. Beni it is fun to see your response–thanks so much! Are you going to take your team thru this exercise?

  26. Dave Hine says:

    1. # of highest level leaders on the team (before and after the years stranded)
    2. # of generations of leaders in the ‘pipeline’ ”
    3. # of total equipping leaders throughout the system “

  27. Love it Dave! Thanks for sharing your insights!

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