How do you know?

When I was younger

My parents would reward my brother and I by giving us money for grades. Would would get an amount for A’s and a smaller amount for B’s. The expectation was that we wouldn’t make C’s or lower so there were no rewards below B’s. What does this have to do with business? I’ll come back to that.

Structure is nice

Have you ever seen the kid who doesn’t know their boundaries? They aren’t sure what’s too far? They keep trying to push boundaries that may not exist until something really bad happens. When you see kids with parents who’ve set good boundaries, the kids are more secure and at peace. They’re not constantly trying to find the boundaries by pushing the limits. This isn’t about that either.

A few weeks ago I did something to change how my team works.

See I wasn’t doing a great job of measuring a few weeks ago. I have in the past at other organizations, but a quick transition into an immediately busy season for an organization with some technological debt to pay off didn’t allow for much room to work “on” rather than “in”. I finally had some time and energy resources to do something there. This is what I came up with.

I know….I know…looks kinda like a dumpster fire. Here’s the thing, remember that example of kids and boundaries? Before this I definitely was feeling insecure. I didn’t have a good way of quickly knowing what to tell my team to work on. They didn’t have a way to know that either. Now we do. And we can all be on the same page about it. I’ve built in boundaries for my team to operate on.

It’s not just about knowing and operating off of what you know

It’s also about knowing your team’s drivers and rewarding them for staying in the boundaries you’ve set. Remember the grades thing? My parents incentivized my brother and I for doing well with what they valued. If I value my team staying in these boundaries, then I’ll do well to remember to reward them based on whatever their driver is. Especially if I want to build that into my team’s culture.

Three questions to ask yourself:

  1. What are the important things that you’re measuring? (If it’s important, measure it.)
  2. How are you making your team aware of those measures so that they can make decisions without you? (Taking yourself out of the process and giving them boundaries.)
  3. Do you know individual team members drivers and how to incentivize them? (This is not only for helping your team make decisions from measures, but also to help them be fully engaged in where you’re going.)