Organizational complicatedness has risen by a factor of up to 35 since 1955 according to the Harvard Business Review.
“Today companies, on average, set themselves six times as many performance requirements as they did in 1955 (…) Back then, CEOs committed to four to seven performance imperatives; today they commit to 25 to 40” says Yves Morieux, senior partner with the Boston Consulting Group.
Are you glued to a sticky web of countless targets? How many KPIs are you juggling every day? And how many of these KPIs are actually in conflict with others?
I once worked for a multi-national company with a couple of thousand employees worldwide. With best intentions a “SHEQ” system (safety, health, environment, and quality) based on the norms ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 was introduced. As a by-product the list of targets for a year became a couple of A4 pages long. Just administrating all the KPIs became an immense and not always productive task.
If you too spend more time reporting KPIs rather than achieving them, here’s the way out:
Get the big picture first, then focus on less.
What is the overall goal of your organization? What are your critical success factors? Choose the three critical few by the following definition: if nothing else gets done, achievement of these critical few will still add considerable value to the organization. (Thanks to Allen Moore from PDI for this valuable tip!)
You may want to break down targets further so that people on all levels can relate to them. That’s ok as long as you make sure everyone still sees the forest for the trees.
Throughout the year remain flexible in adjusting targets and KPIs as necessary while avoiding the temptation of the “shiny ball syndrome.“
Be persistent and keep your team on track.
You need to align your own actions and your team’s with the critical success factors. To be successful you have to do this consistently, every day. A great and simple tool that helps you is visualization of KPIs and target achievement.
Recently I was waiting at a client’s office. It was early in the morning and I had a walk around the empty workplaces. The area of the sales team literally caught my eye: a huge poster was on the wall, hand-crafted without fancy computer graphics. The simplicity was striking: the sales target for the year end split into the three main sales products plus the actual number versus target.
When the sales people enter the office, the first thing they see is this chart. Do you believe that reminds them what to focus on for the day? You betcha! In fact one of the managers told me that this approach was not only very helpful for achieving the targets. The team actually asked for increasing the sales target! What more could you want?
To make your way effectively thorough the jungle of performance targets, simply keep the three keys to success in mind: Direction, Focus and Execution! Once you do this consistently you will be amazed how success will trigger more success.
How are you going to apply this? It’s November, and I know you’ll have to set targets for the new year soon…
Want support? I can help you achieve more by targeting less. Contact me now for individual coaching & team workshops to get where you want to be: