A week ago I finished coaching another season of soccer. Two games into the season, a dad of one of my players offered to shoot some video of a game. Through a nine-minute clip of a 60-minute game I was to able to see a few things happening that I didn’t catch from the sidelines while the game was being played.

We watched this video as a team and I used the insights gained from it to coach my players on a few very specific things we needed to improve and to reinforce a few things we were executing well. It also allowed us, as a team, to celebrate the teamwork it took to score our goals, like the one my son scored in the video above (I know, shameless!), including the steal, the first pass, dribbling to open space, the cross, movement without the ball, and finishing the play with the ball in the back of the net.

As I watched this video, I pondered what made those few minutes of video such a great learning experience and a powerful coaching tool. I thought about how I could apply it to my world of business leadership, business metrics, big data, and analytics and realized these insights:

  1. A new perspective. Video shot from the other side of the field and from the bleachers allowed me to see the same game from a different perspective. Metrics, analytics, and data mining can provide a whole new perspective on our routine business and the chance for honest critiques of and fresh ideas for our leadership.
  2. Pause and rewind. Watching a video allowed me to stop and analyze what happened and why, and even see things I missed entirely during the game because I was distracted by something else at the time. Metrics, analytics, and reports allows us to pause and see what’s really happening. Alerts and benchmarks allow us to catch situations we may have missed because we were preoccupied with other urgent matters.
  3. Watch objectively. I already knew the outcome of the game–we won! The video allowed me to watch objectively and prepare for the next practice rather than trying to win the game. You won the big sales opportunity and your quarterly sales target was reached. Now, take the time to look at the quarter or the opportunity objectively to understand what happened and what you can do even better next time. Take time to focus on your leadership.
  4. See it for themselves. Rather than me just talking about it, my players could see it, learn from it, and try to replicate it. I have found in my years of coaching and in leadership, something magical happens when people can visualize what I’m saying. Not only do they better understand what I am talking about, but they can visualize executing it themselves. There is tremendous power in making your data visual, understandable, and actionable.
  5. Compare for improvement. I try to never compare one player to another with the intent of demeaning one of them, but rather always to help and encourage both of them – the one to improve and the other to keep doing it well. Benchmarking your company, your division, your salespeople is an excellent way for your team to understand your expectations and goals and how they, too, can achieve great results.

You might not have an opportunity to capture streaming video of your business, but you have a stream of data being captured in your business every single day. Take advantage of this resource to pause, rewind, visualize, watch, and learn from what is happening. You will improve your leadership and your team will improve their performance.

Question: What is your best tool for evaluating your team’s performance and improving your leadership? Please leave a comment.