What are your Key Performance Indicators? Whether employee, leader or contractor, are you ensuring your and your people’s performance is being managed and measured regularly?
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Whether you are an executive, a professional a business owner or an employee, have you got a current set of key performance indicators (KPI’s) to keep your performance on track towards your goals?
I’m a personal and executive performance coach and there isn’t a coaching program that we don’t address KPI’s at some point. How could you possibly talk about managing and raising performance without KPI’s?
In my blogs Who is driving your bus? and Are you a “fetch” person? and Cause and Effect, we talk about you being in control of your life and your career and I would ask you the question how you can strive for and achieve success without some form of measurement of whether you are on track during the actual journey?
I have learned that: “what you measure is what you get”.
In the absence of any form of measurement criteria you will at best get “wishy – washy” outcomes. This would apply to you as an employee or to your company if you are the owner, or to your department if you are the boss.
When last have you had a performance review? I have been amazed how many clients I have come across that haven’t had one for a number of (even consecutive) years.
Most companies today, even small and medium size organizations have a formal performance management system in place that includes at least an annual formal performance review, so it blows me away how anyone can go without at least one review each year. That says something about your leader(s) if it isn’t forthcoming, but it also says something about you, that you allow that to happen.
Most of these review systems are designed to end up with a “score” that is used in the allocation of the overall amount of the budget earmarked for salary increases, and usually also used as the measurement for the size of the payment of a bonus or incentive. Without at least one formal review that both parties sign off on, how would you allow those allocations to be made?
I also encourage my clients to be sure that they “fetch” a review discussion 3 to 4 times a year as an employee and to “bring” 3 to 4 such discussions to their employees if they are the boss.
In my performance management training I help my clients differentiate between opinions, anecdotes and factual evidence so that let’s say there were 10 measurement criteria used for a review, that most of them (say 5-6) should be based on measurable evidence or facts, maybe 2-3 on anecdotal evidence (eg like a survey result) and no more than 2-3 based on the opinions of the boss(es). Think about it, if you let them get away with measuring your performance based on opinions, who is driving your bus? This is your performance and your career we are talking about here – how would you let anyone else do the driving for this important measure?
Also, if your are the owner or executive, think about the opportunities you may be missing out on in the positive growth and performance management of your staff, if your managers aren’t doing this properly?
If you are one of those not having had a performance review, may I strongly suggest that you go and “fetch” one? And if your company doesn’t have a performance review system, may I suggest you might ask yourself whether you are in fact working for the right sort of company?
A lot of these performance management systems differentiate:
- the overall goals of the company
- from those of your department
- from your own personal goals or KPI’s.
- They usually also differentiate measurable job performance areas
- from “personal behaviours”.
and I would urge you to be sure that you have specific KPI’s across all of them, not just the company achievement ones “imposed” upon you at the first two of the above levels.
Setting great Key Performance Indicators
I would strongly suggest that you are part of the selection and creation process of the KPI’s with your boss and that you exercise sufficient control over the measurement criteria so that they are achievable and that you are rewarded to “stretch” to exceed them.
A weak KPI might be: “always act professionally”. What does that mean? How could you possibly measure that?
A better example might be: “number of written customer accolades versus complaints” or measured via the annual customer satisfaction survey.
I have come across a great site that can really help you find and adapt thousands of KPI’s by industry or by process and even allow you to benchmark yours against others. You’ll find it at: http://kpilibrary.com.
Personal Key Performance Indicators
Whilst the above refers largely to KPI’s in the corporate or business arena KPI’s are just as important in other areas of your life. Firstly, this topic should be strongly aligned with your goals, where you may recall I suggested you differentiate between:
- “results goals” which you “set and forget” and
- “activity goals” which you measure and monitor.
It’s in the latter measure and monitor category where there should be one or two measurable KPI’s for each goal so that you can be sure that you are on track over the weekly or monthly measurement period. For instance if the results goal is “revenue of x$ from y# of new clients by end of period z”, and an activity goal towards that could be number of “warm contact coffee meetings” per week. Good KPI’s for that could be:
- number of new Linked-In connections per week
- number of phone calls into existing network asking to facilitate “warm referrals”
If you are an executive, a professional or a business owner then I hope the above content serves as a suitable reminder for you to revisit this often neglected area of our business life. This neglect often comes from us “not having enough time” because we are too busy “chasing success”, right? Ironically if we depend on those we lead for the achievement of that success, then relevant KPI’s and performance management should be one of the last areas to neglect.
Why not make a point of diarizing some time to review where your personal KPI’s for the year stand and also where that process stands across your organisation? Is everyone giving it the attention it deserves? Your call. I know that my clients value the focus we place on this in our coaching programs because they know that you can’t measure success if you don’t know what it should look like. The greatest success a client had was to negotiate the doubling of their income package following our coaching preparation for that negotiation! Imagine where they might still be if they hadn’t ‘fetched” that outcome?
If you are an employee or looking at this topic from a personal life perspective, why not set some simple yet visible KPI’s for yourself to match your goals over the next 3 months and implement the discipline to revisit their measurement each week or at least each month?
And if you find that a struggle, why not engage a coach to help you drive the personal performance growth you know you are capable of?
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Nick Gole says
Hi Heiner, excellent stuff. I had a different exposure to “what to measure” in a course I did recently – Process improvement using outside in. What it means is you measure everything based on successful customer outcomes (SCO). All internal KPI’s need to be put into context – just focus on the SCO and win the triple crown – revenue, profit and good service. Will show you the concept sometime we meet – I have implemented it at PowerNET. Cheer Nick
Mike Pascoe says
Excellent – just the sort of tune-up senior professionals need. I would add the measures need to always be simply classified, and coupled, along the lines of outcomes (lagging indicators) and drivers (leading indicators).