Master Class: How to Create Meaningful KPIs, Metrics, and Measures

Jun 23, 2023

Check out the PowerPoint presentation from the session and the recording of this discussion on Zoom. Here are our takeaways from the session!

Make Your Measures Meaningful (10:41- 26:09) and SLIDES 7-10

The basis of a great strategy is the ability to show progress. We must create momentum, proof of effectiveness, and movement toward our vision through measures.

Tracking and reporting is the mechanism at play, but more importantly, it is the meaning within your measures. Here are 5 MUSTS when you create your plan’s measures:

Metrics Vocabulary: A Brief Run-down (17:50-20:00) and SLIDE 11

  • Measures and metrics are the actual thing we are measuring, such as the returning customers compared to last month.
  • Targets are what we aim for.
  • KPIs are the holistic basket of measures of the most critical, quantifiable outcomes that express the health and success of an organization.
  • Key Results from OKRs are the strategy execution tool and the basket of measures to achieve an objective and can be cherry-picked for KPIs.

Simplifying OKRs and KPIs (20:10-32:20) and SLIDES 12-14

OKRs and KPIs work together. As we said above, KPIs are selected key results and impactful success measures. They can live in different levels of your plan, but identifying good KPIs is worth its weight in gold.

PRO TIP: If you use OKRs and KPIs, acronyms can get confusing fast.

Just be clear about what your most important measures are! Of course, if this is already working within your organization, don’t mess with your naming or structure.

Leading vs Lagging Indicators & Where Measurability Lives (32:56-42:00) and SLIDES 15-20

Leading KPIs vs lagging KPIs.

Part of creating a holistic picture of your organization’s progress is looking at different measures, like a combination of leading and lagging indicators. Using a mixture of both allows you to monitor early warning signs closely when your plan is under or overperforming (leading), and you have a good hold on how that performance will impact your business down the road (lagging).

Get clear on where your measurability lives.

Sometimes measures are embedded at the strategic goal level at the top, sometimes at the objectives level in the middle, and sometimes they are part of the Key Results layer and roll up.

Moving from What Happened to What’s Next (42:10-54:15)and SLIDES 21-25

We must know where we are against the goals, projects, and initiatives we set!

Dashboards are great to show where you’ve been–but we want to shift into seeing what we are doing monthly, annually, and year-to-date to drive the performance of the organization. A KPI scorecard can help spotlight these important indicators.

Shift thinking from Output to Outcomes.

A huge shift we can make is from focusing on outputs to focusing on outcomes. That starts by ensuring you understand what, who, results, and change from our work. On a monthly and quarterly basis, think about what outcomes you’re working towards instead of what you did or accomplished.

Our Favorite Tips from the Session

Create metrics that show the business or customer impact we MUST deliver.

Focusing on impact is where you will see the needle move – metrics help tell the story.

Myth-bust the glam metrics (that are not driving your business).

Glam measures make us feel good (like website traffic), but do not drive business. They are often volume-based metrics that show organizational capacity but aren’t necessarily meaningful.

Monthly and quarterly cadence is the heartbeat of how strategy turns into results.

Power lies in both how meaningful measures are structured and communicated. Use your reviews to focus the conversation about how to move forward effectively. Without that, the reviews become flat.

Don’t tie compensation to OKRs.

Instead, tie them to KPIs.

Check out this resource for benchmark reporting: Certinia (formerly FinancialForce)

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