How well does your team work together? We know that teamwork in sports—or lack thereof—is usually the difference between a win and a loss: the muffed handoff to the fullback (ouch), the perfect execution of blocking in a 20-yard run (first down), the pick-and-roll pass inside for the bucket or the grounder to the right side to score the runner from third (high five!). Each are critical plays that, when well executed, propel a team to victory. In your business, processes are even more complex, and the difference between creating a satisfied and dissatisfied customer often comes down to teamwork: the promised return call that’s made (trust), the detailed notes on special materials (quality), bringing in a specialist team member at the right time (expertise), hand holding a sensitive customer and properly passing that hand to another team member so the customer feels confident (care).

It starts with a conversation.
Start with the end in mind: teamwork. You win as a team, so the first step is to get buy-in from your team on how you can tell if you’re winning, or how to score the game. It’s human nature—we care more about winning when everyone sees the score as the game is being played. So, begin the conversation among your staff. Find out how each individual feels your team should measure the outcome of teamwork. Is it customer satisfaction, quality of job, cost-to-price margin, turn time or other measurements? Obviously your goal is to optimize teamwork, so pick one to five Teamwork Tracking Numbers (TTNs) that represent more than one function. Then measure and post the results weekly or monthly for all team members to see. If everyone is in one location, it’s easy to post on a wall; if not, set up and post your results to a password-protected website, blog or database so team members can log in and see how they’re doing.

Since you don’t have scoring for an opposing team, create benchmark numbers as the “other team’s score.” This is a standard that, if surpassed by your team, counts as a win. As an example, if customer satisfaction was one of your team’s TTNs as scored on a 1 to 10 scale, you may set the standard of 8. That means customers who score you a 9 or 10 are a teamwork Win, an 8 is a Tie, and anything below an 8 is a Loss. As you score “the game,” you’ll post your team’s Actual TTNs (see sample scoring on the right), the Standard and the Variance. If the Variance is positive (make it green), your team has a win; if it’s negative (red), your team has a loss. It’s a long season, and racking up winning streaks during the year is the key.

Expand the conversation and build your team’s capabilities.
After you’ve been tracking Wins and Losses for a few months and your team members fully understand the scoring, you’re ready to start involving your team in improving performance. To start, hold team meetings or have members submit ideas on how to get more Wins. What needs to improve? Is it individual member quality or handoffs? Does a process need to be changed?

Sit down with each team member and collaborate to determine how they can improve their capabilities so it will best impact team performance as measured by TTNs. This is crucial—it’s not enough to say, “You should learn how to answer customer questions so calls won’t go to voice mail on Sally’s break.” Instead, say, “If you learn how to answer customer questions while Sally is on break, you’ll help our team get more Wins because you’ll improve our Customer Satisfaction TTN scores.”

Finally, hold weekly or monthly meetings on performance and celebrate improvements. By keeping the conversation going, your team members will come up with the best ideas on how to get more Wins!