Tom Cox, an associate, and I met early in Wilsonville as we hurried to a 7:00 a.m. appointment in Milwaukie. Neither of us had eaten breakfast. We dashed into McDonald's for an Egg McMuffin. While standing at the counter, I saw a white board with a bull's-eye target on it (photo attached) that said, "80/53". After Monica (photo attached) waited on us, we asked, "What does that sign mean?" She said, "Our target is to complete every customer transaction within 80 seconds, and we're currently averaging 53 seconds. See this?" and she showed us a readout on her cash register of how many seconds had transpired while she waited on us - 64 seconds (photo attached). We could feel her pride in being part of a team that is exceeding their target for excellence.
Do you believe this target with up-todate scores has added meaning to Monica's job or just created stress and frustration? Everything I have learned in the past 40 years of study and training thousands of upper and middle managers has proven to me that we all need targets to shoot for. Dr. Maxwell Maltz documented in Psycho-Cybernetics that we are, by nature, goal-striving devices. We function at our highest and best when we have a goal to shoot for. When we have a goal to strive for, what we are doing becomes more than just the drudgery of a redundant task. Instead our work provides a sense of personal achievement.
We all want to know the score. When you go to the Blazers game, watch the ball go through the hoop,
heads turn in unison at the Rose Garden stadium to look at the scoreboard. As fundamental, as basic as this is, I find that most companies have not made the targets as clear as they were at Monica's McDonald's. Most companies don't have a scoreboard out in clear sight for all to see or a read-out that gives instant feedback on how we are doing on our performance. Your scoreboard doesn't have to be complicated. A white board will do the job.
I encourage you to set targets, keep track on a "white board" and at the end of the day, shift, or period, put the stats on a trend chart. Most companies have this statistical information somewhere. The problem is that the score is not close to the people who do the work. The person who sees this information is up in their office and can't change a thing to improve the score. The person who can change things to improve the score doesn't know the score until it is way too late to pick up the pace and change things.
I encourage you to reexamine your systems. Do you set targets? Do you keep score? Do the people performing the tasks know the score? Do you keep trends on those scores? Do it. Performance will improve and your associates will find more meaning in their work. You can stop worrying and fretting, get out of the business of trying to control and command. Instead you can become a coach and a confidante.