This episode is about how to measure and improve team performance.
The podcast discusses team performance and the importance of focusing on measurable results. It emphasizes the need to set targets and assess whether the team is meeting those targets. The transcript also mentions the use of metrics and measures to track performance, with an example of how implementing a barcode system improved stocktaking accuracy. The conversation touches on the challenges of measuring subjective factors like workplace satisfaction and highlights the potential for manipulation in surveys. The transcript concludes by mentioning five effective metrics for measuring team member performance: attendance, quality, quantity, velocity, and efficiency. Welcome to today's ninth podcast of Leave or Get Out the Way and this is the host John Thornton and Chris. Alright so today we're talking about team performance. So not just building a winning team Johnny because we covered that in our last episode didn't we? Yes. How do you know that they're winning? How do you know that you're winning team is winning? Well it's only by the results. Oh yeah that's right. It's about the results right? Yeah. Can you score a goal? Can you win? Win the game. Everything's results. The numbers. Does the numbers meet the goal? Yes, yes. So you set a target, a budget target, a sales target for example, and does the team meet the sales target? Or is that what affects you as a person? A target of zero, less than five injuries a day. You know targets, numbers, can they achieve? So that's what high performance teams are about. The numbers. Can you achieve the numbers? A top of the rugby league team, grand final, can we win the grand final? Can we win the league? That's the numbers. Can we win the game? How many points do you have to get each game? You know. We wouldn't even argue odds would reflect team performance. Of course. Yeah, odds. In sports prep they're trying to predict the outcome right? That's a real good way to start off. It's about metrics, measures, and not just the numbers or the results right Johnny? It's the underpinning system to generate a consistent measure of those metrics. So you compare right? That's right. Take the average and see where you're at. You know, a baseline, and then see how you can improve your numbers at a macro level. And so the macro level of what you're doing is what you want. So performance indicators right? What we found in previous workplaces where we weren't actually phased about the value of the metric. It was about the trend. Are you going up? Are you going down? And in particular when you have subjective measures, whatever those metrics, KPIs, numbers will be right. You obviously either want to see a sustainment or an improvement. You don't want to see a retraction. Yeah Chris, we never had suggestive metrics. Numbers, you've got to leave, and the trend has to be downwards or upwards. If it's like mistakes, then mistakes have to be done. And the numbers have got to be numbers. Numbers don't lie. Humans lie. They manipulate. They cheat. They try to get around bribing or other stuff to get around it. But numbers, facts and figures, are the truth. And you can't hide behind what you've got there. So yeah, so like, you know, it's a trendsetter's example. We were doing stocktaking work. Our way was doing advice paper. We were counting and writing. People were making mistakes from counting, to writing it down, and then from there, inputting it to the computer. It was painful, and it made a lot of sense. We went from $30,000 right off, right? We changed the system, we went to a barcode system, right? We were the human factor, we went to a barcode system. The trend of the next two years went from 30, down to 15, down to 5, down to 1. So we trended all the way down. Because we got better at using the technology, everybody understood what it meant, and everybody followed the stuff throughout the year, to the point that everybody conformed to the best. And that gave us a really good result at the end of the year, for stocktaking. That's a great example. And before we do go into an example of a structure to, I guess, determine what you'd like to measure for those who are listening in their workplaces, right? One very interesting KPI that we had, or metric, if you will, was, you know, you talk about humans and how they live, and you need numbers, and numbers don't lie. We had one that was about workplace satisfaction, which was really tricky. And we had a narrative that was scaled, where you had this workplace is basically absolutely terrible, horrible, I'm looking for another job, to the middle ground, which was like, I'm happy and satisfied, you know, okay. And the element to the very top of the of the scale of the workplace, because big defense, you know, we're all about morale and wanting to maintain and sustain our workforce, because we don't want attrition, right? The very top of the scale was, you know, I love my job, I can't wait to get to work, those real stellar things. And each one of the points in this scale had a score. And so, obviously, the lower the marks, because they're dissatisfied, then that draws down the total numbers. And we used to do it that way, to return emotive responses that are human and subjective into a general marker that you could spread across the workplace by having a workplace survey and scoring. You could actually get a trend. Yes. You know how to gain that? How people cheat on that? They have a big party at the start. To make a little bit of that work, right? To make a really good old party. Yeah, yeah. And then you can send out the email, you know, the survey. Oh, that's dodgy. So, you don't really get a fair result. Because through the bosses, it just made everybody, you know, happy. Or, like, you want to make everybody sad? Yes. Do you really want some people? Guess what happens? Everybody's scared. So, it's all gamified, like, you know. Yeah, you got to take... Even the customer survey stuff, right? You email all the customers saying, survey, you know, how are you feeling, what's happening, score one out of ten, all that kind of stuff. All the character customers that you're faced with, ten, ten, ten. They're not happy. Not happy. The ones that, well, I feel a bit, you know, drunk or whatever. Oh, British Aluminium, oh, I had an issue with that guy. Smack it. Smack it. And you get this kind of, like, oh, what happened here? It's like, oh, he has a little problem with one of the doors that's wrong, we'll replace it within two seconds. And I'm like, so maybe it's this storm out of a teacup, trying to, I'm like, yeah, kind of distort the results. But obviously, it's outside pace, right? Yeah. Like, if there's like, 50 people saying yes, and one or two people saying no, they're like, they only respect them, right? But like, if you're having like, ten of those, a big group of guys that are negative, then you have a bigger problem. Not that we're going to talk about statistics, but they're outside something called a standard deviation, and you would actually neglect those results because they're way outside the distribution, yeah. Yeah, that's right, yeah. So yeah, but again, the way, yeah, why don't you go like that? You meet them all and say, hey, guys, there's a customer meeting here. Oh, come on, thanks, that's a great idea. After you sign them all, be like, hey, this is a five-star product service. When you receive this email, give feedback, five-star, mate. All right, good. So, and that's the other thing, right, the usefulness of the information you're interpreting. That's right, yeah. We also had a subjective thing about the transparency or the perceived transparency of communication and stuff like that. And often, when we did see trends up or down, we could actually make some pretty strong correlations as executives of the organisation at the time where I was at, as to why that was. Because obviously, you want to know causation. Yeah. Yeah. But having said that, Johnny, let's go give our listeners a bit of a framework. And you had some good ideas that we shared moments ago. So I was reading on a website called risepeople.com. There's a blog there. And in particular, one of the blogs is Five Effective Metrics for Measuring Team Member Performance. And this was published on the 10th of August. And so it focuses on the individuals and their performance. And in turn, by focusing on the individuals, you focus on the overall team and the metrics of the individuals can be extended to the team, right. And of these five measurables, you're able to get feedback for growth for your organisation, because you can see where you're at, see where your team is at, and it helps you to plan and achieve more. So if you know your team's got capacity, or if they're struggling as it is, you can determine what can we do from here? Can we take on more work? Do we need to get more fish in the current baseline of work, etc. So Johnny, one of our first Five Effective Metrics is simple, attendance. So not just if people are turning up, right, you know, you want value for money from your staff that you're hiring, they've got to turn up. Yeah, that's right. But having said that, if you do have people that have a routine of not attending, well, you're missing out the potential of them doing the work. They're not fully present, right? Or late. Or late, yeah, or again, you're missing out on that full potential. That's right, yeah. Having said that, you don't want presenteeism either, people can turn up to work and do nothing. That's right, yes, that's true. But you can measure attendance. Yeah, attending is a good baseline for everything. The second performance metric to look at is quality, which can be subjective. So how often does your team's work have to be redone? How often is there rework required because of defects? Is it attributed to one particular member or is it attributed to one particular system? And if you've got poor quality, well, you've got an issue, you've got waste, right? Again, you're not getting full potential of your team and you can measure that somehow. You can develop up a metric, big quantity of rework done over a certain period of time, etc. But to the same note, John, we've got our third metric, which instead of quality is quantity, which is easier to measure. So the amount of throughput achieved, the amount of widgets made per X, Y, Z. And you may mention about speed and velocity in this case. Velocity, yes. So velocity is product output versus time. And as the output increases, it's faster. Sometimes the quality goes down, because you will make more mistakes because you're trying to go faster. And the risk increase, you might injure yourself as well. So always having a steady velocity of getting through the work, knowing that you want to do the job right once and not having to repeat it because that slows you down is a very good KPI. That's a good point. We got a saying in defence, particularly when we're doing weapons training, when you don't want people to rush and make mistakes, is that slow is smooth, smooth is fast. So in turn, slow is fast, right? Yeah, yeah. But when I did a case study, there was this thing with Aldi. I know Rowan, cousin Rowan works for Aldi. And they measured his beef up on the tilt. I'm sorry, Aldi, the grocery store. Aldi's grocery store, yes. And it was a check-up point. And they said how many times he had to pass and serve customers. And they measured his performance on how many products per minute he was zapping through the machine, the bucket scanner, for an hour. Because he always gets to serve the customer. So it was like bang, bang, going as fast, you know, pay money, bang here. And they give him a score of what his performance is and how he could improve better. Because if there's a line of 10 people there, you've got to work, right? Oh, I just missed off the shimmy thing. Oh, the shimmy thing, yeah, that's right. Customers become disgruntled, they go... That's right, yeah. So both quality and quantity, they're both linked back to the organisation goals in particular. Because it's about throughput and product directly. The fourth measure of performance is efficiency. So work is done on time, your employees have a good handle on resources that are available to them and the time limits granted to them. And also to that note, excessive overtime. If your employees are constantly doing overtime for what you think is actually a reasonable amount of time given for a job, then perhaps their processing or the system that they have to use for processing isn't efficient to support them if they're constantly doing overtime. Well, that comes back down to velocity as well. Efficiency, you find out the time and see why this guy's as slow as what's happening here. That's a good point. There's a link there. There's a link there. There's a correlation there. Yeah. Has he been trained? What's he doing? Was he talking too much? Is he being distracted? What's happening? Because that, then, if you're not focusing, how can you make him focus that time zone? Yeah, that's right. So there's definitely a correlation between quality, quantity and efficiency. Linked up. And the last one, John, is initiative, which is hard to measure as well. So when I'm talking initiative, it's when employees raise their hand and ask for help as required. Will they jump in to help when they see that it is needed? And by having high initiative and seeing high initiative, it demonstrates, in general, there's team satisfaction and team engagement or engagement of individuals in amongst the team. Again, difficult to measure. Yeah. No, I don't think it's that difficult. I think it's called initiative is more like continuous improvement. What things can he see or the staff can see that can help him improve his job? Be more efficient. Take more, you know, if I'm here and I know I have to get up here by doing this, this is my initiative, I should do this. This is what I thought to do because he's there. So that's the initiative part. And you can solicit that. And yeah, there's rewards and coaching and everything else. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So that gives an idea of team satisfaction, which is important, obviously, for retention and people being motivated that way. But remember, we're also talking about the iceberg. We're only doing the top part of the iceberg. It's the final part of the person's feelings, their home life, their tiredness, their awakeness or the family life or whatever that's happening underneath. That's going to affect their emotional state for this on a daily basis. So that rationale as to why a metric is the way it is. That's right. So good call, Johnny. And that's that's a good point. This article or this blog rather on RisePeople.com, it ended the article by saying at the end of the day, team members are people, similar to what you're saying, Johnny. People have lives and they're not just resources to be consumed. So if there's certain behaviours, there's underlining reasons for it. Now, one thing I do want to bring up is, is that, is that to do with, that's also to do with measuring performance. They're the five basic essential ones. But it's not just about measuring where you're at, John. We want to also increase performance of our teams, right? We measure, let's go do an initiative to go and try and increase the performance of our team now that we have a baseline throughout measuring. How do we do that? And I wanted to talk about the concept of stretch goals, which you're familiar with. Yes, stretch goals. Yeah, you get goals, you get a baseline and then you look at growth and how can we grow the company? And then you go, stretch, how can we go further? So Elon Musk says stretch goal is to go, missions go to Mars. That is like a stretch goal, right? It's a big stretch goal. It's huge for the team, for his team. But it might just land on, it might just land on the moon, right? So stretch goal is having a vision and setting it up. So can we go from here to here, which looks impossible, but if you can break it down, we can achieve it as a team. But we may not get there, but at least we've tried. And instead of trying and failing, they're not trying at all. And you've actually, and you learn from it too. And you've done, you've done better than what you would before you even tried to stretch, right? That's right, yes. So there's a good saying, aim or shoot for the moon, land on the stars, right? That's right. Which poetically is beautiful saying that, you know, landing on the stars is still a beautiful achievement, even if you don't make it to the moon. From a poetic sense, it works great. If you're an astronaut, you're going to be fearing a lot. But, yeah, that's the difference. Yeah, that's right. Yeah, it's all about pushing yourself and finding out what you are capable of. Like, you know, sometimes you don't know what you can do unless you try. Like there was a guy that did, I saw, he was a grown guy in a movie. And he was like a guy sat on his back and he was on his fours. And he was like, can you carry him blindfolded to the 20-yard line? And he said, OK, nice. And then he walked. And by the coast, he didn't tell him where the 20-yard line was. He just said, keep going. Keep going. He walked the whole, he walked the whole field. And then he said, stop. And he said, the problem with you, son, you thought you were going to go 20 yards. I believe you've walked the whole field. And you did. And you did. So, as I said, you've got to take that belief in that person that they can do it. As a leader, give them that belief and they will do it. And I'll walk you with me and you've got to come with me. If you don't want to come, then nothing much the leader can do, but you've got to be willing to come. There was a good article that explored this quite a bit. And there's quite a bit that before one does implement stretch goals into their workplace, they should do some research about the management of that goal. And I'll get to that in a second. But a lady by the name of Kelechi Udogwu from Wrike.com, well, she wrote a story rather from Wrike.com. It was from the 7th of June 2022 and talked about team stretch goals. And she said about it being high risk, aggressively ambitious and also rarely achievable. However, the benefit of stretch goals is that it can boost motivation amongst your team and also has associations with increased autonomy and self-esteem because, you know, you're trying for an amazing goal. It is quite a stretch and you've got to look at processes and look at ways you can do it. And often you get a lot of real deep, critical thinking about how can we do things differently and really flip things on the head and experiment to achieve these stretch goals, which is great. You want to solicit experimentation and new things to achieve this. But conversely, not managing stretch goals properly does impose a risk of creating a disconnected work environment and demotivating employees by not achieving those goals. So you've got to let them fall gently and show the silver lining from the ambition of stretching the goal so they can keep motivated, right, and you can control that. And Johnny, she finished up by saying a SMART goal, so specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Yes, the SMART goal is realistic. A stretch goal is grand. And you've got to be careful with the potential for it to lead to crisis with confidence and employee engagement. But that's another thing that you can look at to improve team performance, not just measure, but performance. Yeah, performance, yeah. So Johnny, that comes, that puts us at the end of our episode. Yeah, nice episode. Nice episode. Well, thank you to those who have listened all the way through thus far. It has been a bit of a journey, but our 10th episode will be really interesting. Oh, yeah, the finale one for this season. So we're going to be looking at ways that we can allow leaders and those who are aspiring to lead to be able to go and self-reflect and self-measure where your strengths and weaknesses are. We're going to be thinking about a questionnaire, quiz and ways to measure where you are in your performance and where you need to focus your attention to improve your leadership. And this isn't a once-off thing. As a leader, you'll always be testing and adjusting and always looking for ways to grow. It's something that's never resolved. You're always growing whilst you're breathing, right? That's right, yeah. So to that end. That's another episode of Leave, Follow and Get Out of the Way.