Saturday, June 22, 2024

Scorecards: Knowing What You Are Doing Really Matters

How to spend your time on what really matters and know what you do is making a difference. 

One of the biggest concerns I hear from executives is the gnawing feeling that is created by being busy, even consumed each day but not really knowing for sure they are spending their time on things that really matter and that what they doing makes a difference. Am I just spinning my wheels or really getting somewhere?

One of the most effective ways I’ve found to take these questions off the table is to create a scorecard for each key objective and faithfully update it monthly.

What is a scorecard? A scorecard is a simple graph that charts a key objective’s value over a time, usually each month over 12 months. The most effective scorecards also compare each current month with last year’s number, as well as each month’s planned number set at the beginning of the year. Some scorecards also incorporate a forecast number for each month that provides a reality check and a predictor of what the number is likely to be given current sales and marketing information.

My clients find them particularly helpful in their weekly and monthly planning efforts. Nothing focuses people more than the realization they are accountable for reaching a number at the end of the month. Seeing that goal at the beginning of the month naturally helps them to ask, “How am I going to hit that number this month?” “What do I need to do this week and each day to make that a reality?”

How To Create A Scorecard

Creating scorecards takes a small investment of time but fortunately there are tools out there that make this job relatively painless.  MicroSoft Excel, Google Docs, Numbers for the Mac all have the capability to quickly and easily create a chart from a spreadsheet.

My One Page Business Plan clients easily create them by filling in their data for each objective and the online system creates that graph automatically. You can also find an example set on the DVD in each of the One Page Business Plan books.

Accountability Is The Key

Creating the scorecard is a good step in the right direction but the real power comes from updating and reviewing them faithfully each month. This creates a sense of commitment and accountability. There is something about seeing your results in a graph that brings us back to reality. It is a very motivating experience to see the fruits of your efforts as you meet or exceed your objectives. It’s also a great motivator if you’ve fallen short.

In either case exploring what contributed to the results and acting on those factors ensures continued performance improvement going forward. Once you a deeply committed to this simple process you will never wonder if what you are working on really matters or exactly how doing what you do is making a difference: it’s all in the scorecards.

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