KPI Webcast: Questions & Answers - Part 2

By Barry Pruitt

Here are the second set of answers from, "How to Use KPIs to Focus Your Team and Keep Your Plan on Track."

Q: How do we motivate the team to achieve the KPIs? 
  • Begin with KPIs that are easily measured and that can be impacted by the effort of team members. When a team member has control, you can hold accountable, and the combination equates to motivation. Be sure that you don’t choke them on too many KPIs at one time (Is Your Team Choking on KPIs? Special KPIs Give Your Team Kick-Butt Focus!). For example, one client in manufacturing has KPIs for sales that fill one page of a spreadsheet. By narrowing the quarter focus to 3 KPIs they were able to motivate sales team members to take the right measureable actions to drive them towards company goals.
Q: How often do you update your KPIs? Weekly? Monthly? And how do you rally the team around them?
  • Weekly is the norm so you can make adjustments quickly when yellow or red, and, so you can explore lessons learned when super green. On rare occasions, the data to status can only be collected monthly, and therefore the KPI is statused monthly. However, this minimizes opportunity for improvement. Involve the team as much as you can so they have an automatic stake – with responsibility assigned to a champion.
Q: Having buy-in is important, but does the goal get diluted with employee participation?
  • No, it’s the opposite. Goals become diluted when you have too many. But, when you have more employees focused on a single goal you have more energy exerted toward it increasing the likelihood of success.
Q: I'm confused on the weekly KPI review. Billable hours are one of our KPIs. We have a quarterly and a weekly target. Should we review weekly whether we hit our weekly number or whether we think we'll hit our quarterly #?
  • When possible, I advise weekly targets because they offer more opportunity for adjustments (12 after the status of week 1), versus monthly status, which offers only 2 adjustments during the quarter (after month one is statused). (See the above question, “How often do you update…”). Determine a way to measure the result and a leading indicator.
Q: Is employee participation in the KPI development necessary for buy-in?
  • It’s helpful for transparency and teamwork. Pat Riley once said something like this, “Almost everyone can go along with not having their way – but, almost everyone resents not having their say.” I’ve found that to be true. According to your situation, employee participation may not be practical, but you should attempt whenever possible.
Q: If KPI is trying to modify behavior how can you separate person from the outcome?
  • Remember, we’re trying to modify behavior not modify people. We can’t make people do anything, but we can change the environment to make it easier to do what we want them to do. When you focus on results and the activity that leads to those results, you make it easier for a team member to modify behavior. When you do the opposite and make it personal, their internal human resistance makes it harder to get them to do what you want.
Q: Just wish to know how will various departments align to this KPI
  • This question underscores the importance of communication. Various departments and team members must know what the objective is through communication. Consider challenging various departments to discuss-debate-agree on how they might best help achieve. This often leads to KPIs at the departmental level that support the company and its’ direction.

Q: When a KPI is Subjective ("Successful Interactions") how do you ensure accuracy?
  • Like a speedometer on a car that is sliding on ice, you will have a very hard time getting accurate measurement with subjective KPIs. Continue to ask questions (in the webinar we recommended you ask questions at least 5 times) in effort to get to the right answer. Helpful questions could include: what will successful interactions look like when they are happening? What will successful interaction data look like? Discuss, debate, and agree on results expected. The objective is to find a number to measure the KPI so accuracy is better measured.

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Barry Pruitt


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