Rigorous measured training of individual athletes and the team is implemented as one of the critical success factors in overcoming the efforts of competitors. The training itself focuses on skills development, the enhancement of behaviours, and forming the team into a cohesive unit capable of exemplary performance.
During training, the coach takes careful note of performance measurement metrics such as sprinting speed, stamina, recovery ability, ball control, positioning, teamwork and even tactical understanding. Possession of these skills may get the player a place on the team; but critically, when the game is on, none of these input evaluations matter any more.
The only things that matter for measurement in achieving the goal are outputs and behaviours – number of goals scored, tackles made, yards gained, perseverance of effort, and points won; these are the contributions that secure the player’s place for the next contest. The ultimate measurement appraisal is how one actually plays, which is starkly articulated in the sporting truism “you are only as good as your last game!”
Despite all the evident benefit of executive training in companies, it is remarkable that, with very rare exceptions, there is relatively little demand or provision for the necessary equivalent training for boards, their chairs and their members.
In my opinion this is mainly due to four facts contributing to confusion in the area of board development and training.
1. Very few boards have clear board goals as distinct from enterprise goals, therefore it is impossible to develop clear output driven training to enhance behaviours for the board, its chair and its members.
2. Hard edged evaluation of board performance and that of directors is extremely rare, and even where it is present it falls well short of the standard of evaluation applied to CEOs and senior management.
3. Suitable common-sense board output performance metrics are very hard to find, and it appears that little work has been done on developing practical, easily applicable measurement in this vital area.
4. There is still a high level of resistance to formal board and director evaluation in the boardrooms of Britain and Ireland despite lip service paid to the value of continuous improvement.
So where are the Sir Alex Ferguson's of the Boardroom?