In a competition outside of business, whether that be a sporting event or the speech and debate team, keeping score gives people something to be competitive about. A football team has the ball, they are at the 10 yard line of the opposing team, they are down by four points, and there is only a minute left in the game. The football players probably try a little harder during that play versus a play on the 50 yard line with a minute to go.
The reason both football teams try a little harder when the football is at the 10 yard line is because the game is too close to call. We always want to be on top. We want to be a player on the winning football team. A 24-22 win and a 60-0 win are both wins. We like the ability to have a high score, or at least a score higher than the opponent.
Keeping score is a motivational factor that makes you push at the end. The runner in 6th place picks it up on the final lap to catch up to the person in 5th place. The 6th place finisher does not get to score a point for the team, but the 5th place finisher gets to score a point for their team. The need to get that extra point (and in numerous cases, the medal), will give the person in 6th place more motivation to catch up to and outrun the person in 5th place. The need for 1 point increase productivity, and in this example, leads to a much better time for the race.
Football players try a little harder when the game is at stake. Runners push it on the last lap in order to get more points for their teams. A great way for entrepreneurs, business people, and anyone else to be productive is by keeping score. Although you may not have a runner in front of you who is currently in 5th place, you have your goals. What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want to follow a certain amount of people on Pinterest, get a certain number of followers on Twitter, or do something else?
I decided to start off February by keeping score. The results have been incredible. Here’s what was on my scorecard:
- Write 20 blog posts
Schedule 10 days of tweets
Write KeyNotes for 12 videos
Complete and finalize 8 videos
Schedule 10 days of posts on Google+
Write down ideas for 20 Vines
Post 5 Vines
That’s a length scorecard, but I was able to accomplish everything there…in just a week. I tallied my way from 1 to 20 blog posts, and I tallied my way through all of my other goals as well. Keeping score gave me a sense of urgency. Since I started this particular scorecard on a Thursday, the following Wednesday was like my 4th quarter. I had to get everything left on the scorecard accomplished in two days. I did a lot of work prior to those final two days, but I also did a lot of additional work prior to that 4th quarter. We know from sporting events how challenging it is to pull off the comeback from 28-0 in the 4th quarter. Instead of getting in that hole, I decided to do my work consistently. Then, I kicked it in on the last two days just like runners do on the final lap.
There are two lessons we need to learn from this. The first one is that keeping score has the potential to dramatically increase your productivity and giving you the sense of urgency you need to succeed. Success does not happen if you stay in the comfort zone forever. The second lesson we can learn from this is that there are a lot of things we can learn from sports.