Performance Transparency: The Path to Progress

January 25, 2021 Kasey Chas

Part 11 of a 11-part blog series on the Rockefeller Habits for Associations.

If you’ve been following this series of blog posts about the Rockefeller Habits, then you’ve probably noticed the thread of transparency that runs through many of them. For example, ensuring your lines of communication are visible and efficient (Habit #3), proactively collecting employee input (Habit #5), and establishing a clear “line of sight” between individual and organizational goals (Habit #9) all imply openness, communication, and accountability.

These Habits, which largely encourage us to operate in a way that is easy for others to see what actions are performed, are consistent with what we at PROPEL have believed for a long time: when you make things visible, you get better (and faster) decisions.

This brings us to the 10th and final Rockefeller Habit.

 

Rockefeller Habit #10: The Company’s Plans And Performance Are Visible To Everyone

We like to refer to this 10th Rockefeller Habit as “performance transparency” for short. Before we jump into its details and implementation, let’s briefly review a case study that does a fantastic job of demonstrating the benefits of this principle.

Case Study

There is a whole chapter in When Millennials Take Over dedicated to transparency, including a case study of Menlo Innovations, a software company that puts their entire project management system up on the wall in their office.

Everyone can see how much progress everyone else is making, down to the level of individual tasks. But they don’t use this system to bust people who fall behind.

On the contrary, when everyone’s progress is visible, the people who are ahead can make their own decision to go help someone who is behind. No managers needed for that. No boring project status update meetings. Just people making good decisions that move the company forward—all enabled by transparency.

Implementation of Performance Transparency

The 10th Rockefeller Habit takes the principle demonstrated by the Menlo case study—which we like to think of as radical performance transparency—and applies it to overall company purpose, goals, and progress. This includes:

  1. The proverbial core values posters on the wall designed to:
    1. Keep the mission and priorities of your organization alive.
    2. Serve as a useful reminder to drive both behaviors and critical decisions.
    3. Serve as a useful alignment tool for all employees, members, and stakeholders.

2. Extensive use of dashboards and scorecards so everyone can see the progress being made on company goals including:

    1. Progress toward the goal you’ve set for the quarter.
    2. “Critical numbers” that are the leading performance indicators for that goal.

Your dashboards and so-called scoreboards should be accessible and highly visible to all team members. Having a digital way to make these things visible is particularly important in today’s remote work environment.

And as you know, many times, less is more. So create simple, compelling digital scoreboards that let everyone know how progress is coming with a quick glance. Departments and individuals should also highlight their own unique goals, plans, and leading performance indicators to drive insights and accountability.

Being able to see that the leading indicators are not on track is not meant to expose anyone. 

Rather, it’ll prompt people to intervene to right the ship, just as we saw in Menlo’s system. 

And they don’t say two heads are better than one for nothing. But this sort of teamwork is only possible if everyone has access to those leading indicators in real time.

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Ripple Effects of Performance Transparency

Imagine if everyone in your association, from the office assistant to all top executives, were working in tandem to move the needle forward? What could you accomplish if everyone was aligned, accountable, and armed with the visibility to make quick, informed decisions?

Think of the impact it could have on progress as well as the breadth and depth of trickle effects it could have on organization-wide enthusiasm, innovation, creativity, and beyond.

Getting Started

At PROPEL we use Align software to accomplish this Rockefeller Habit of “performance transparency” by enabling the visibility of scoreboards and progress-tracking everywhere.

All employees are able to see the company’s critical numbers and quarterly priorities in the software, and we update progress toward those metrics sometimes on a daily basis. Then individual employees can set and track their own priorities and numbers that are then shared in their team meetings.

Learn more here about how we can help you build a culture of accountability and transparency where everyone is aligned.

 


Photo by Agent J