The Importance of a Target Destination.
As the following conversation famously demonstrates a target, a goal or an objective is key to staff understanding where they need to get to and the journey that will get them there.
Alice asked, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
President Kennedy very well understood the importance of spelling out a target, in clear and concise words. When urging for the Space Program he didn’t settle for an unambitious goal such as “Let’s beef up the space program and see where that gets us.”
Instead, he famously proclaimed on May 25, 1961, “that this Nation should commit itself to achieve the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.” A target destination and a time frame!! That’s a winner in engaging and motivating people to take an action.
These two important components of motivation can equally be applied to your staff for the work activities they do every day.
What Did I Achieve Today?
Employees want to leave their job at the end of a day knowing they achieved progress in their daily activities. Satisfaction comes from knowing they have advanced towards their target, overcome challenges, and helped the company achieve its business goals. This is when their drive to be successful is at its highest. Motivation is at its lowest when they feel they cannot make more steps towards their goals, they are stopped by red tape or other obstacles and they have no idea how the company is progressing.
Sales in particular, is an epic journey towards a target destination. Providing a clear target to aim for and celebrating achievements along the journey motivates the team to take action. If they are falling behind colleagues they will take note and put in the effort required to do the same level of activities as their colleagues.
The Destination Determines the Journey.
People play harder when there is a scoreboard and their performance against the target is being watched. A study by Aberdeen Group found that companies using leaderboards to score performance against a target realized a two times higher year-over-year net income growth and three times higher year-over-year sales growth than those who didn’t.
Measure the metrics that matter in order to provide the focus for team members. Everyone likes to know where they are going and how to get there. Focusing on the activities within the rep and managers control also maintains focus. The rep and manager can control their activities that contribute to the sales, such as call, meetings and emails, however it is harder to control the clients decision making process.
Understanding how we got to here, what journey have we undertaken is as important as the journey going forward. You can learn a lot from the obstacles you overcame and the lessons learnt. Spinify grew out of Matt Bullock’s previous company eWAY. Understanding the journey of ecommerce (written by Big Commerce) was particularly helpful in ensuring both eWAY and Spinify were successful ventures.
How to Show Progress
Leaderboards are an effective way to show an individual their progress against a business activity. A leaderboard is the visualization of staff performance against the business’ key metrics. This transparency of the raw score of activities and most importantly the progress towards the target destination increases employee productivity.
When staff know their performance is visible to the entire office, they work harder to make sure their ranking on the leaderboard improves. The very act of keeping score on their progress motivates people to produce better results, be they on lead indicators such as calls, emails or meetings or on lag indicators such as deals won or sales.
The leaderboard can also highlight employees who are doing great work by singling them out from the pack and highlighting their good work. Milestone and target achievements can be celebrated along the way, so that individuals and the team feel good about what they are doing. Displaying this information on a TV in the office enables all company stakeholders to be included in the progress of business results and to celebrate with the team.
If athletes never kept score, performance wouldn’t be at the standard it is today. Golf scores would be higher, baseball pitches would be slower, Usain Bolt wouldn’t have run a sub 10 second 100 meter race! Introduce competitive behaviors, fuelled by physical competitions, display a scorecard and your business will seem similar results. Staff performance will increase and the workplace will be a happier one.