KPIs and measures are like scales and gym membership. They are great, but only if you use them (and regularly). No matter how good your management information system is, you must make sure that the team are engaged with it. This means
- The team use the system regularly to help make business decisions
- They trust the output
- They are able to meaningfully challenge aspects of the system and see a sensible response to those challenges
How can you make sure this happens?
1) Make sure your measures are clearly and visibly aligned to your organisation’s strategic objectives (see how to align to your strategic objectives)
2) Make sure your teams objectives are also aligned to the organisation’s strategic objectives. People will use KPIs to move them towards their personal objectives. You must make sure that their objectives and the organisation’s substantially overlap, otherwise their efforts will be to actively push things in a counterproductive direction.
3) Weave the reports and output into the fabric of the organisations management control system. What does this mean in plain English?
- Know how and where reports will be used. What meetings will they drive? What level of detail will be needed?
- Redesign reports and dashboards alongside the meeting “Terms of Reference” (click here for a sample meeting terms of reference) – do this with as many of the meeting members as possible. If this isn’t possible then make sure you at least get their feedback.
4) Make sure the reports are really simple and easy to understand. Use the BlinkChart approach to strip out unnecessary details and visual clutter.
5) Respond to feedback. The faster the better. You can rapidly undo all of your good work by ignoring broken or flawed KPIs, measure or reports. People rapidly lose faith when they don’t see problems being fixed rapidly and visibly. There’s a lot to do there, but the first step to better engagement is to improve at least one of these drivers, they don’t have to be perfect overnight, just better. You can get more practical help by following the hyperlinks above.