It’s hard to believe, but we are almost a quarter of the way through 2021. For many companies, the first few months of the year are spent finalizing annual plans, hosting company kickoffs, and aligning teams on how to achieve their goals.
As leaders shift their attention from setting their plan to executing, they must now find a way to measure performance and navigate decisions that help keep the company moving forward.
One of the most effective ways to understand overall performance without getting bogged down is to create an executive scorecard that helps surface information in an insightful way.
But convincing your leadership team to introduce yet another way to do reporting is never easy. One of the most common questions we hear is, “How can I best roll this out to my team?”
After meeting with hundreds of operations leaders, we put together a few key steps to help you successfully build and implement an executive scorecard for your company.
Start with ‘Why’
The best way to start building an executive scorecard is to first understand the purpose. You need to be able to answer the question of, ‘Why is this valuable for our team?’
Let’s start by first thinking about some of the reasons why reporting might be broken for your team: Do you report on too many KPIs? Does your team struggle to understand where to focus your attention? Do your KPIs drive timely, relevant conversation on the areas most important to your business?
By understanding what isn’t working today, not only do you help provide a blueprint for success in rolling out a new scorecard, but you also help define the ‘why’ behind it.
Many companies see the executive scorecard as a way to quickly understand what is going on in their business, and surface key insights that allow for proactive conversation and decision making. An executive scorecard done right can save countless hours sifting through meaningless data, and turn what was more of a ceremonial process of reviewing KPIs at the start of a meeting to a much easier way to get into the heart of the challenges facing your business.
Once you are able to address the ‘why’, you can now address the ‘how’.
Connect Your Scorecard to Company Objectives
For many of the companies we work with the challenge often starts with a lack of value being delivered by an executive scorecard. While the initial ‘why’ may have been well intentioned, the project quickly morphs into a hodgepodge of KPIs lacking context. The executive scorecard isn’t just a random collection of any and all updates you think the leadership team might want to see.
Instead the scorecard should be tailored with this thought in mind: Is what we are reporting on critical to meeting our quarterly or long term objectives? If not, then it isn’t something we need to be reviewing and wasting valuable time discussing each week.
Rather than adding KPIs for the sake of adding KPIs, think about your executive scorecard as the pulse on the critical objectives currently taking place across your business. While the scorecard might feature KPIs, those KPIs themselves stem from objectives with commentary, updates, and insights that span multiple teams. This is really what’s critical for the business.
Remove Friction from Updates
One of the most common reasons why executive scorecards go sideways is that no one wants another task they have to complete in yet another software platform. And we get it. Especially if you haven’t seen the value yet or had a poor experience with a software that promised similar results, the last thing you want is to get fooled again.
Let’s remove the barrier to entry for your teammates. No work, other than your normal work.
Connect your scorecard to the data sources your team already uses. Hubspot, Salesforce, Quickbooks, Jira, etc. You get the benefit of real-time data, and they get the benefit of automating their updates on objectives.
Trust me, I know how much time you spend chasing people down, urging them to update their KPIs and objectives. Let your scorecard solve that challenge for you.
Create a Clear Cadence for Review, Collaboration, and Taking Action
So let’s say you’ve made it this far. Your team understands the value of an executive scorecard, they are bought in on connecting performance to key objectives, and they are all for the idea of automating updates. Perfect. Now comes the final part: embedding the scorecard into your normal cadence.
It isn’t enough just to stand up your scorecard and have metrics flowing into it. You have to use it, and in a more basic sense, establish how it will be used. As you introduce your scorecard, don’t forget the ‘why’ behind it in the first place.
Establish a regular cadence for when and where it will be reviewed. Maybe this is replacing a former way your team did reporting or carving out 10 minutes in your weekly team meeting. Regardless of when and where you review your scorecard, set up a regular cadence for doing so.
Further, create a simple structure to help identify what needs to be discussed. Early on, you should consider whether each leader will report on their sections of the scorecard or whether you will have one leader walking through each of the areas. Provide space to identify trends, discuss performance above or below expectations, and identify areas where teams might need support.
Share Performance with Your Team
After you’ve successfully created your executive scorecard, don’t forget that it can be just as important to align your entire company around the key results you are tracking. While not every part of the scorecard should find its way to the broader company, there will still be results that inspire and motivate employees as they see their contributions directly impact the company’s performance. Whether it be at monthly company stand-ups, a shareable link accessible to the company, or even an integration into Slack, share it with your team.
If your team is looking for help starting your executive scorecard or for the best way to review it in your regular team meetings, we’d love to help! Feel free to request a demo or reach out to our team.