I was hanging with a flock of other EOS Implementers® from Michigan a few weeks back. We were talking about a number of topics when Ryan Henry, an Implementer out of the Lansing area, said, “When numbers are democratized is when you really begin to push accountability down in the organization.”  The comment really struck me.  After our meeting, I was looking over my notes and thought about why his comment struck me so much.  I realized it was two things.  The first thing is that the comment is very true. The second thing was that many of my clients needed to hear this message.

“Jim, they just don’t understand the numbers, so there is no reason to give ‘em to them.  They are just ignorant of how things really work,” said a really lovely human being who happened to be a Visionary who was just a bit off track.

“So,” I started, “the root of the issue is ignorance?”

“Yes, I think it is,” said the Visionary.

“And what do you think is the best way to fix ignorance?”  Silence.  Then a few smiles around the room and a frown from my Visionary.

“Well, I guess education,” he said in a not very happy tone.

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Now, I wouldn’t always push the topic because how the owner and his leadership team want to run the organization is up to them.  But our Visionary here had been telling us that he really wanted a focus on making the company more profitable.  How can people “focus” on something they don’t really understand?

There is a common misconception with business leaders; this misconception is that their team doesn’t have the ability to understand the numbers. This can lead to business leaders not giving their team the information they need to truly be successful, like the Visionary above suggested. One of the main things this thinking does is removes the scoreboard and the yard markers.  We then get frustrated that our employees are not playing the game well, but they don’t have the information to really know how they are doing.  The EOS Scorecard™ is a huge piece of this, but if we do not include the financial results, teams are still left in the dark. Teams need to know where they currently are and where they need to get to, and the financials are essential to that.

So, the cat is out of the bag as to how you fix this issue.  It takes education and training.  Help your team understand that the bonus they got, the new truck they drive, and the debt that was all paid off came from the organization’s ability to be profitable.  Help them understand how overtime can really hurt profitability.  Help them see daily or weekly how their project or work is doing and what they can do to help make it more successful.  The more they know, the more they can help, and the more successful the business will be.

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