Every time I write a blog entry I’m sidetracked for about five minutes before I begin. These five minutes are spent looking at my page views and occasionally my other stats like the survey and articles printed. These numbers are very modest and they are not why I do this. But it’s nice to see when a post is popular or someone has actually printed a post off (that means they paid for it – its a stretch, I know). The best, of course, is comments. In the land of the internet comments are gold.
I’m driven intrinsically to improve my writing and my analysis of ideas, but seeing some sort of score is motivating as well. Which brings me to the prompt for this post. HBR.org has a blog post by Michael Schrage called Why Keeping Score Is the Best Way To Get Ahead . He uses a story about a steel executive named Charles Schwab (not the same guy). To get a plant to produce more heats he pits the day shift against the night shift in a good natured competition. He does this by simply writing a big 6 on the chalk board. That one number was symbolic of what the day shift could produce that day. Not to be out done the night shift produces seven and documents it on the chalk board – 7. The friendly rivalry is born and the mill becomes a peak performer.
Schrage then goes into how leaderboards can have negative impacts as well. It’s worth thinking about, but when the measures become part of the everyday job, they lose their fun and motivation drops again. I’d introduce these competitions periodically and make the count about something that is easy to improve but has a cascading impact. I’d focus it on behaviors that I want to become habits.
With all that said, I’d try to inspire my team to find little personal counts they make their own. No one would have to know about them except for themselves. They can keep their own score. It’s like the five minutes I spent before I wrote this entry.