Developmental Performance Indices Vs. Balanced Scorecards and Dashboards

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Photo by Mitchel Boot on Unsplash

When we attend a performance of a Broadway production, an internationally recognized orchestra or ballet company, or a school talent show in which our children perform, we hope, even expect to be enlivened. We are truly elated to have our expectations exceeded and aspirations raised for all future performances of the same nature. We often say “that has spoiled me for future performances now” or “that score and conductor raised the bar on that Mozart piece.” We know when the performance is “perfect” because it gives us life. We feel lifted up in some way we were not before and our description of the experience is filled with energy filled words. “That was extraordinary, or fabulous.” We have been given something that opened a door to life. It makes life even more worth living if only for while, and life seems richer. All else seems more possible in that moment.

If we held this idea of how we engage our fellow humanity, we would have a very different world in which we live. When we experienced others bringing this to us, we would have a very different life. And if businesses held this idea of how they put products and services into the lives of those they effect, those companies would have a place in our lives forever. We would count on them to continue to raise the bar and to bring us even more life-giving experiences. They would become non-displaceable in our lives.

Instead, what most businesses do is measure is what matters to them. How would we feel if what they measured was the number of people in the audience and the upselling of concessions they were able to do. And checked on the margins compared to others plays or concerts. We would see it in the “performance” because their minds would be focused on the wrong things.

The most interesting part of this idea of using “life-giving” as the criteria for performance indices is that it is the most profitable way and viable way to run a business even as it makes it more vital and alive place to work and create. It creates a culture of collaborative creativity.

The method used to develop such indices is crucial because it is very easy to fall back to traditional indices without consciousness — the dashboard, the triple bottom line, or a balanced score card.

The place to start is always with our consumers. For each consumer group, we ask what truly gives them life? And when we touch an individual consumer, what would be life-giving in that moment. In a consumer products company, for example, talking with a consumer services person, it may be as simple as a consumer being heard and taken seriously. For a new mom, it may be “peace of mind” that everything that touches that newborn’s life—air, food, surfaces—will support a healthy and vital life. Asking how you will set performance indices that point to that an indicator of bringing what you can to each of these situations is the basis of developmental, life-giving, performance indices. For example: Every known or suspected toxic substance will be meticulously managed for our consumer so that we do no harm and help them overcome potential harm. That’s what they want us thinking about.

Originally published at on July 9, 2009.

Sr Fellow Social Innovation, Babson | Best Selling/Multi-Award Winning Author | Regenerative Paradigm Educator

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