The struggle is real. We’ve all been in meetings about our metrics that produce seemingly endless discussion about the numbers, with no real actions, outcomes or impact on results. CEOs list this as one of their top frustrations – all-talk-and-no-action meetings regarding their Key Performance Indicators or meeting KPIs. A KPI review meeting should be about the actions needed to improve the numbers, not a mind numbing analytics reporting with no forward progress on your goals and objectives.
So, how do you avoid the marathon hamster wheel and have an effective KPI discussion in your weekly team meeting? Teams who are really good at this have two things in common: a properly set up real time KPI dashboard and a great facilitator. Here are some patterns regarding both:
Consider the 4 KPI Categories in Your Weekly KPI Meeting
A really good exec team KPI dashboard will have a succinct list of only 10-12 KPIs that cover 4 categories: Employees, Customers, Revenue, and Processes. Are your employees and customers happy? Is your sales pipeline strong and delivering predictable revenue? Do you have healthy operations and disciplines that you can scale for the future? If the team has visibility on all four key areas, they can avoid being blindsided.
A Key Performance Indicator KPI is meant to measure business performance and business processes that help you reach your 3-5 year strategic plans. The goals is to use these metrics to measure how close you are to achieving your business objectives and let you know where the adjustments need to be made. It's one thing to measure the number of customers (financial success) vs measuring customer support (happy clients that refer you.)
Mix It Up: Leading Indicator & Results KPIs
The KPI dashboard should also be a good mix of leading and results indicators. Result indicators tell you what has already happened (sales revenue, for example). Leading indicators give you an idea of what is to come (sales pipeline, for example). To have a holistic view of your company’s health, your list should be a mix of both types of metrics to achieve your goals. You have to keep the long term business goal in mind to help you create leading indicators - the performance measure that will give you insight into the future, not just the results that have already happened.
Nail the Time Horizons
Each metric can be measured on the time horizon that provides the best insight for the team. For example, is it more important for you to see Weekly sales numbers or Monthly sales numbers? The time horizon you select drives a different discussion. A Weekly sales number provides a very volatile status – it could be Red one week and SuperGreen the next. A Monthly status gives the owner the opportunity to select a high level status color based on their best forecast in the weeks in between reporting the actual monthly number. Each scenario drives a different type of discussion at the weekly team meeting. Decide which discussion you need to have and adjust your time horizons accordingly.
Use KPI Dashboards to Drive the Right Discussion
Decide as a team how you would like to see and discuss your KPIs each week. Some teams prefer reviewing the status colors week over week to highlight trends. Some teams like to see their metrics as charts or graphs. Decide on the view or format that will help you have efficient and solutions-based discussions. Too often, we see middle market CEOs that monitor only financial metrics, which is only one of the strategic goals that you should be working towards. Only count them as KPIs if they are critical success factors, not every metric needs to be discussed every week. Does each team member know how they are measured?
Take Action when Something’s Stuck
Prior to your weekly staff meeting, the facilitator should decide which metrics require a deep-dive discussion. Time should not be spent on KPIs that are Green and on track. If a KPI has had a major shift (from Green to Red, for example), spend time there. Or, if a KPI is stuck in Yellow or Red for more than 3 consecutive weeks, it requires discussion as well. Those struggling KPIs should be discussed, and there should be a resulting action plan to get those numbers back on track. If more than 4 KPIs are struggling, the facilitator should pick the top 3 that need discussion and action plans. It is better to have deep conversations about 3 struggling KPIs, rather than 10 quick discussions that don’t produce actions plans.
Use some time at your next quarterly planning session to review your KPI dashboard. Look at it through the lens of what will help your team have the right discussions every week. Commit as a team to having the best Weekly Staff Meetings ever this quarter!
As a bonus, create a meeting KPI for starting and ending on time. This will create a habit that will get people to pay attention to their time and stay on track for more effective meetings. Make sure that you set it to a realistic time frame.
Looking for some KPI Examples to help get you started? Check out our additional resources:
Rhythm Systems KPI Resource Center
Still not sure which KPIs to focus on? Download our free KPI Guide for help.
Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images