How to Use Visibility to Drive Performance

I believe that visibility of what matters drives the changes that matter.

In this episode, I will show you how you can create results that matter—those that impact profitability through visibility systems.

If you already have every employee knowing exactly what high performance looks like, and you have complete visibility on how every employee is doing on the most important things that matter, stay tuned because I’ll share with you another level of performance enhancement.

On the other hand, you may feel like you really don’t know how every employee is performing every week, and the ones who look busiest may not really be the ones that drive profit. In this case, you’ll enjoy knowing that you can take a lot of risk out of your organization because low performers cause others to leave even if you can’t see who is struggling to perform.

And if you already have one or two visibility systems in place, you’ll find out how interconnected systems of visibility are the magic that transforms performance.

There are a few challenges to putting accountability visibility into an organization, however.

First, unlike most traditional systems, which measure the wrong things, you need to understand the right leading and lagging indicators. Let’s face it: approximately 87% of your customers have a negative impact on profit. So who cares how many new customers you have this month? It’s the wrong metric.

Second, in contrast to most attempts to bring visibility metrics to a bank—which overcomplicate and don’t really drive performance—you need to understand that information is not communication. You don’t just need metrics. You need performance breakthroughs driven by the right metrics.

Third, when you bring visibility to low performance, you may lose many team members—people who, if given the right education and tools, could be rock stars. So getting visibility before having the right education and progress on results can be a cultural disaster.

If you are facing one or several of these three challenges, consider yourself normal.

I’m going to give you three steps you can take to create an accountability system that optimizes results and drives sustainable performance improvement—as opposed to a mass exodus, guilt, and shame.

Step 1. Ignore performance dashboards; instead, realize that you must follow a natural pace and progression of ever-increasing improvement tied to what really matters. Cultures are vulnerable. Almost every bank has a few employees that came from a big bank, and when they hear that accountability will be coming to your bank, panic sets in. They stir the pot for others, not knowing that what you’re doing is completely different—empowering instead of deflating. The result is that people start looking for the door.

Step 2: Roll out an interweaved system of visibility with an appropriate progression. Ever-advancing daily huddles, weekly radio reports, quarterly celebrations, and other optimized systems need to be weaved together in the right order. Each serves a different purpose and each must be reported on an advancing level as people learn more and progress in their effectiveness of execution.

Step 3: Understand that traditional “stack rating” actually has proven to lower performance in all industries. Guilt, shame, and fear are not good emotions for building performance. That said, there are ways around this, and being able to celebrate breakthroughs and top performance of individuals and teams is imperative to performance breakthroughs.

So, three places to start. First, do not start with a performance dashboard, or you could blow this into a mess of epic proportions. Second, create a grouping of interconnected accountability systems that makes results visible, and make sure that you sequence the advancement of expectations. Third, create a mechanism that celebrates top individuals and teams, and breakthroughs from others and still have accountability for those “under the performance line” without humiliating and embarrassing them.

Join me in the next episode, when I will show you how to create a “raise the bar” performance improvement system that has systematically skyrocketed performance at hundreds of banks.

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