There are many powerful tools for cultural alignment (purpose, vision, values, mission, etc.), but leaders should never underestimate the power of a WINNING NUMBER to align and energize the team.

The crazy scene after the incredible win of the University of Tennessee Vols over the Alabama Crimson Tide is an excellent example. While purpose, mission, values were all on display by the Vols during the game, it was the SCORE that galvanized the team and emptied the stands.

Would we have seen the same reaction without a score?? Unlikely.

Scores ARE important. Scores give feedback to the team that they are on track. Scores give quantitative evidence that their efforts are paying off. Scores give the team a clear reason to celebrate.

Many people roll their eyes at the proliferation of “participation awards” in kids sports, and for good reason. They take out the meaning of the effort and dilute lessons we should all learn from healthy competition.

The right numbers can provoke a positive emotional response. It is why Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace courses are so popular. People are excited to make progress on their “debt snowball” or increasing the size of their nest egg.

One CEO I work with is passionate about keeping the team on what she calls the “Culture Path.” Scores are one way to know we are on that path.

If culture is defined as WHAT an organization decides to do and HOW it will go about it, then scores are essential.

Logic gets people to think. Emotion gets people to act. The right number can help the team to do both.

Leaders shouldn’t shy away from scores. They create a positive culture of accountability. Get clear about what winning looks like. Your culture and your team will be better for it.

(Need help on setting meaningful scores? Check out the MIND Methodology Playbook for information about Most Important Numbers and how to choose the right one for your team.)