One of my favorite parts of being a dad was attending my kids’ sporting events. Both of my sons, Taylor and Carter, played baseball from T-ball at the age of 4 all the way to high school baseball. Early on, I helped coach both boys’ teams. Then, I settled in to just being an active (sometimes overly active) spectator.
The high school team had a relatively new field with a beautiful computerized scoreboard. I remember attending many games there. In fact, for several seasons I volunteered as the announcer for the games doing my best to properly introduce each player at bat and remind the parents to purchase as much food from the snack bar as humanly possible.
There is one home game I will never forget. It was my older son Taylor’s team. Just as I volunteered as an announcer, there was also another parent who volunteered to run the scoreboard. This was not just any scoreboard. It was top-of-the-line and featured a very fancy computerized digital display. Thank goodness there was one dad with technology experience who understood how to run this very complicated scoring device. Until that one game…
There was one game that Mr. Scoreboard did not show up. In hindsight, we should have sent a search party.
During the course of the game, the players, coaches, and spectators are constantly looking up at the scoreboard just over the left field fence. After every out, every inning, every score… we look at the scoreboard to refresh ourselves on the current status of the game. We see what inning it is. How many outs there are. How many runs have been scored by each team. We see every important metric we need to know to enjoy the game.
Not this game.
This game there was no scoreboard. No other parent knew how to operate the scoreboard. So it stayed dark all night.
Throughout the game, the players, the coaches, and the parents continued to gaze up at that dark display as they were accustomed to doing. All we saw was blank. Hence, we were constantly in a state of confusion as to what was happening on the field. How many outs? What was the score? Balls and strikes?
This was the most frustrating sporting event I have ever attended.
What about for the players? I am certain they were equally frustrated. Can you imagine playing your hardest, giving maximum effort on every play, and not knowing what the score is?
The truth is that there is always an official scorekeeper on the home team bench in the dugout. Hence, the players would get an update each inning. But other than that, they were always in a state of uncertainty as to how they were performing.
In between each inning, the parents would send a volunteer down to the dugout to find out the score as well. Thank goodness. Otherwise, we were left guessing the outcome of the game.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Many small businesses do a very poor job of keeping score of their “game”. And even if they do keep score, many more small businesses choose not to share that “score” with their team. Yet, we still expect our employees to give maximum effort whether they know or not. I see dark scoreboards in many companies today.
What about your business? Are you keeping score? Are you sharing those key financial metrics with your team members? Are they current?
I love watching baseball and hope to never see a blank scoreboard again.