in Business

Goals, Competition, and Teams: Building the next generation web design studio

Sales teams for years have had sales competitions. If a certain sales goal was met, or a salesperson sold the most they would win that months contest. Often prizes are involved but more than anything the idea fosters a competitive spirit among the team that’s fun because it makes goals worth achieving. Car dealerships have these all the time and post the sales numbers for everyone to see.

During the construction of the Panama Canal, different teams would compete to see how much “land” they could move in a week. It all started when the Panama Canal Construction Newspaper began printing the weekly quotas for each division. Suddenly an intense rivalry arose.

A good rivalry. The kind that happens today when groups of people work towards the same goal and have a little contest to see who can finish first. The competition doesn’t necessarily have to be against team members. It can also be against previous records. Most billable hours in a month as a whole, for example.

The frequent result is that it inspires people to work their hardest and do more with the same resources. It’s brilliant and at the same time makes things fun. In Panama, the amount of land moved immediately exceeded everyones wildest expectations. Starting a period of incredible productivity.

I’m trying to come up with some ideas in this department. Do you have competitions in your business?

Goals that you work to achieve?

What if the team members are all doing slightly different jobs?

Is there a way to come up with a common thing they can compete on?

I have a couple of ideas I’ll share sometime, and right, now curious about yours.

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  1. Our company has a thing called an “Efficiency Rating” which tracks the amount of time spent on projects and displays a number that gives a rough idea of how efficient one is being.

    Unfortunately, the formula is buggy and doesn’t allow for vague things happening like sales people mis-quoting projects. So it doesn’t do much for competiton and morale.

    Maybe if a proper implementation was discovered and some sort of award was given each month, it would be more effective. Dunno…

  2. To the delight of the employer, it could always be measured in the amount of money earned for the company. You could work on a product’s percentage of completion. Bill got 20% of the layout for the website done today while Jamie got 30% of his coding done. Another idea would be if there were a few design teams in a particular studio, have a judging of which programmer wrote the best code or which designer made the best looking site. Just a thought.

  3. Tom: Interesting comment. A bean counter would probably say that tracking billable effeciency and utilization is the way to go, however I come to the same conclusion you do. A lot of stuff can’t directly be billed to a clients job (sales, project coordination, marketing, financials, etc.). Plus no doubt most jobs these days are fixed bid to an extent.

    Justin: Those are all good ideas, the trouble (I’m sure you know this) with the second idea you have is that all of those things are subjective. In order to accurately measure something you have to be able to track it. Since the whole idea behind this is to track something so you can have team success or team failure (but at least everyone knows where they are in the big scheme of things).

    In the big scheme of things competition and team stuff like this is only good if it’s done with good intentions, actually allows room for success and when necessary shows room for improvement (hopefully as a team). I think these friendly little competitons shouldn’t have losers. That would defeat the whole purpose.

    Ok, enough of a rant!