Don’t think you’re being a hero by having dozens of key performance indicators and targets, and driving hard to achieve them all. You might say “well all these measures are really important and I just have to achieve them all”. You’re fooling yourself, because all the evidence says that those who prioritise ruthlessly, achieve far more of their goals, and far bigger goals.
Tip 1: Make only a few measures the priority at any one time.
Usually you’re measuring a goal or result because you’re NOT currently achieving it to the level you really want or need. And that means that your business or organisation doesn’t yet have the innate capability to do it well. When you can’t yet do something well, trying to focus on dozens of things is like trying to learn to swim in a giant washing machine.
The more priorities you have, the fewer of them (if any) you will do justice. Each month or quarter, choose just your 3 to 5 highest performance priorities and give your attention to them first.
Tip 2: Display your priority measures everywhere.
You know what they say: out of sight, out of mind. Successful athletes, business people, celebrities – they all know that you have to keep reminding yourself what matters most. Every single day. At least once, every single day.
So carry your priority performance measure graphs and targets around with you, put them before anything else on management meeting agendas, hang them up on the office walls. One CEO I worked with hung laminated poster-sized graphs of his 3 most important performance measures right outside his office door, updated daily by his personal assistant.
Tip 3: Practice focusing on your priority measures.
While keeping your performance priorities in clear site all the time can actually make some real progress toward achieving them (a phenomenon of the reticular activating system 1 in your brain), if you want to truly achieve those results, you have to take deliberate action.
Practice every day focusing on your priority performance ratios. Read your priority goals and visualise them being achieved. Plan each day to ensure you are dedicating at least one task to close in on priority targets. Ask colleagues and staff what they are doing to improve the priority measures’ performance. Check and test if actions you and others are taking are having some real and objective impact.
Performance improvement – no matter how big – starts with you.
Changes – like business performance improvement – just won’t happen without clarity of thought, focus, and the discipline to act. Which changes are currently most worthy of your daily discipline and effort?
1 see http://www.make-your-goals-happen.com/reticular-activating-system.html
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stacey Barr is a specialist in organisational performance measurement, helping corporate planners, business analysts and performance measurement officers confidently facilitate their organisation to create and use meaningful performance measures with lots of buy-in. Sign up for Stacey’s free email tips at www.staceybarr.com/202tipsKPI.html and receive a complimentary copy of her renowned e-book “202 Tips for Performance Measurement”.