To Improve Performance, Keep Score

If you want to win, someone has to lose. “No more ribbons for participation.”

That’s Ben Keenan’s prescription for getting peak performance from your workforce: Adopt the professional sports model for managing your workforce.

“These sports franchises have the same challenges we do in HR,” Keenan told his DisruptHR audience in Des Moines last fall. “They have to attract, retain, engage, and motivate their athletes to consistently perform, year-over-year.”

The way Keenan sees it, the secret to accomplishing that is the contract. Sports contracts, he explains, “combine the elements of motivation, incentives for high performance, and objective results.”

Translating that to the workplace requires that “we have to keep score.” “There has to be winners and losers to create the competition in order for this to succeed,” says Keenan, R business partner at Principal Financial Group.

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Whether you buy Keenan’s winners and losers argument — he says think Blockbuster — “Creating a Sports Gig Economy” should get you thinking about how to energize your players to be more competitive.

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