If you work in the public sector, your organization is probably engaging in some level of performance measurement. Good metrics help you gauge whether your services are performing efficiently and having the desired impact in the community.
Performance metrics are great! But they’re not doing their job if they’re hard to organize, find, analyze, and share. This is where an online Scorecard tool can make the difference.
If you’re already tracking performance, you may be wondering why you would need to invest in an online Scorecard tool at all…
Scorecards are Like the Post Office
One of my favorite answers to this question comes from Dr. Robert Frost of Measurement International. In a paper on the value of Scorecards, Dr. Frost asks us to envision two kinds of post offices. In the first, the post office dumps all its mail into one big barrel. Customers must come in and rummage through the barrel to find their mail. In the second post office, mail is sorted into PO Boxes. In this scenario, customers come into the post office and know exactly where to go to find their mail. This saves them time, energy, and a headache.
Well, Scorecards are kind of like the second post office; they organize our performance metrics in a way that is visually appealing, makes sense, and allow us to rapidly find the information we need to make better data-driven decisions.
Online Scorecards add even more ingredients to this winning recipe:
1. Visualize Your Progress and Achievements
“Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about seven bits of information…Images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.” -Dr. Lynell Burmark, Ph.D.
Have you ever heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words?” People are visual creatures – our brains are better equipped to process large amounts of data and information when that information is presented visually (in a picture, graph, etc.). Good Scorecards don’t just organize our data; they visualize it for us automatically! By looking at a graph, map, pie chart, or other data visualization in a Scorecard, you can spot patterns more quickly than if you were agonizing over excel sheets or written reports.
2. Engage in More Effective Communication
Presentations using visual aids are 43% more persuasive than presentations without visual aids.
Visual information isn’t just easier to process, it’s also more persuasive. According to researchers at the University of Minnesota, presentations using visual aids were found to be 43% more persuasive than presentations without visual aids. Because Scorecards are highly visual, they are a great addition to any meeting or presentation. Need more funding for your program? Pull up your online Scorecard at your next budget meeting to provide a clear, visual representation of your performance and you might just get it.
3. Waste Less Time Trying to Locate Data & Spot and Correct Poor Performance
You can’t change if you don’t know you need to change. You won’t know you need to change unless your performance metrics are easy to find and analyze! Good Scorecards allow you to organize your metrics in a way that puts the most important information at your fingertips so that you’re always up-to-date on what matters most to your organization. The visual aspect of Scorecards comes into play again, here. Looking at a performance measure that is plummeting rapidly on a line graph is probably going to elicit more of an emotional response than reading a paragraph explaining the same information.
4. Encourage Action and Innovation
I think that we can all agree that the point of measuring performance is to improve it (or at least prevent it from getting worse). The best Scorecards don’t just measure your performance but help you to actually improve it. Some Scorecards, like the Clear Impact Scorecard, guide you through a disciplined process to analyze and improve each metric. By allowing you to include the “story” behind your data, collaborate and share data with partners, identify potential solutions, and develop and execute an action plan, the Clear Impact Scorecard helps get you from “talk to action” and further along your journey to achieving measurable impact.
5. Link Programmatic Performance to Community-Level Strategy
By allowing you to organize your performance metrics into different categories, Scorecards can help you make the connection between your programmatic efforts and your impact in the community. The best Scorecards will allow you to organize your metrics by community-level efforts AND programmatic-level efforts so that you can see the connection between the two. Being able to visualize how all your efforts “fit” together helps get everyone in the organization on the same page and working together towards common goals.
Tracking metrics is a great first step towards becoming a high-performing organization and achieving your vision in the community. But to make concrete, measurable progress, we recommend investing in an online Scorecard tool that is designed for your industry’s needs. If you work for a nonprofit, foundation, government agency, or other public sector organization, watch a demo of the Clear Impact Scorecard today to see how we can help you get on the fast track to improving your performance in 2018 and beyond!
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