Maggie was poised and ready for her first day as Marketing Manager for a large toy supplier. She had a series of questions during her first meeting with her Director, Doug. She asked, “What are your expectations for me in this role?”
“I expect you to be great!” Doug said with confidence.
“I can be great—but, for example, how many new social media followers do you expect per week?”
Doug shrugged. “I don’t have a precise answer for that.”
“How many product launch presentations are to be conducted each week?”
Doug shook his head. “I’m not sure, exactly.”
“So, what is your definition of great?” Maggie asked.
“Put it this way,” Doug said. “I expect big things from you, but I don’t have anything specific for you.”
Maggie stood befuddled, experiencing the exact scenario that plagues manager-employee professional relationships over and over again. It’s an endless cycle of ambiguity and frustration. Maggie had walked right into a situation with a seemingly clueless director who was ill-prepared to lead or manage his direct reports.
There’s No Magic Bullet for Greatness
I believe people who take on leadership roles want to do well for their company. The problem is, they don’t always create a clear path for their employees. Managers would love to have “great” employees. They would love to see their employees positively impact their department and the company. But results don’t come magically. Your employees need the necessary tools, a direction, and crystal-clear expectations.
What if Doug could articulate exactly what “great” meant to him? It might look a bit more like this…
Defining the Path to Greatness
“What are your expectations for me in this role?” Maggie asked.
Doug replied with confidence. “Here’s a scorecard for you and the team with a few measurables that will help us understand where you and the other team members are on-track or off-track. On this sheet you can see each measurable has a goal.”
“This makes a lot of sense,” Maggie said. “What happened with the last Marketing Manager?”
“Justin couldn’t hit his goals, and he was constantly off-track. Hence the red.” Doug said. “We found out that at the root of the off-tracks, he simply didn’t want the position anymore and really didn’t match our values. As you can see, he really began to decline over the last month. What are your thoughts on your measurables and goals?”
“My past company didn’t have anything like this, and that was frustrating,” Maggie said. “You never knew where you stood. This makes it black and white. Each of the measurables seems logical for the most part, but I think the goal for New Posts seems irrelevant if you get plenty of likes.”
“Hmm, good observation. I’ll add that to our Issues list. We want you to love your scorecard and make it count.”
Building Great Teams
The Scorecard helped communicate the Director’s expectations for Maggie and her team. By using a handful of measurables, both leading and trailing indicators, for the Marketing Manager function, it also helped define what success in that function meant. Combined with the set goals for each measurable, it crystallized what on- or off-track really means.
The Scorecard tool gives us an indication of what is and is not working. This gives the team clarity on issues and more confidence in identifying the root cause. No magic is required—just a simple, fundamental tool.