Are you doing all you can to help employees move your company's key numbers in the right direction? Use this checklist to find out.
Post the numbers. Put up the numbers in an easy-to-understand format where everyone can see them. Set up a thermometer, a wall chart, or an area on your intranet. Pass out financial and operation reports with critical numbers highlighted. Ask for a volunteer scorekeeper. The scorekeeper's job: update the board as often as possible. Get the word out any way you can.
Teach the numbers. An important financial or operational number that nobody understands is meaningless. How do we measure operating efficiency? What counts as a warranty expense? Everybody in the company should know (and ideally be able to explain) the importance of key numbers. Give some pop quizzes, and hand out gift certificates or $20 bills for correct answers.
Brainstorm. How can we affect our numbers? Gather feedback from the people closest to the numbers. Conduct experiments. Get volunteers to research key variables and report back to the group.
Forecast the numbers. Can a department accurately predict where its numbers will be next month? Next quarter? If you can forecast a number correctly, you truly understand it.
Play critical-number games. Managers and employees set a short-term target for their critical number, with a small reward for success.
Develop critical-number bonuses. Your bonus system can be pegged to yearlong targets for your company's critical numbers.
Critical numbers get everyone in a company (not just managers!)looking at the same metrics and thus working toward the same goals.