As leaders, we know that numbers are critical to running a successful business. But how do we make numbers matter to your people at all levels within our company? Revenue and profit may be “sexy” to our leadership team, but not necessarily to those at other levels. In fact, it is possible some team members do not care AT ALL about revenue or profit. Shocking, I know, but it is quite likely.
So how do we find numbers that everyone cares about? First, we need to have the right people in the right seats, then we can tackle the question of meaningful numbers. If we’ve hired well, our employees are already engaged and are driven by our vision so they are already motivated to succeed.
We have a responsibility as a leader to translate between what the leadership team needs out of the business and what the employee needs out of the business. Both need to be happy and fulfilled in their work. Both need to see results. It’s a balancing act.
So how do we create KPIs that our employees will embrace?
1. Know what you want to achieve
By getting absolutely clear on the desired outcomes or results expected from their role. Stop and think: What it the number one result you need out of that role? Is it a new client, financial clarity, or amazing client experience?
2. Set measurables that are relevant to the role
Now that the end result is clear, you need to identify the critical activities that will produce that end result. Work backward from the result to figure out what causes that desired result. You may want to engage the person in that seat in identifying these activities.
Let’s take a look at a specific seat in a business: a salesperson, for example. One goal is to get a new client. What are the activities that create a new client? I.e. getting warm leads, warm lead phone calls to set up presentations, doing presentations, following up after the presentation, negotiating a deal, and signing a contract. Therefore, the trackable activities (KPIs) for a salesperson could be the number of warm lead phone calls, presentations, and signed contracts.
3. Create a goal
Now that you have identified the critical activities, create a weekly goal for each one and track it. You might have to make a ‘best guess’ for each goal, but that’s okay, action is more important than perfection here. You can adjust the goals later if needed. Just get started and let them evolve.
4. Track it
These numbers now become a daily focus for that individual. They are tracked and reviewed weekly between you and your direct report – every week. The discussion doesn’t have to be long if the numbers are on track. But if the numbers are off track, have a deeper discussion about what is going on, identify where there are struggles, and work with them to solve their challenges. We want to help them win. These measurables, or KPIs, can be excellent engagement tools to deepen commitment.
Bottom line, if everyone in your company was laser focused on the activities that drove the most important results in your company, how would that impact your company? How connected to the results would your team feel if they know that their success was impacting the company as a whole?
People want to be fulfilled and engaged and they need something to tell them that their efforts are making a difference, that their efforts matter. If they know they’re knocking it out of the park and their efforts are helping the team win, then they will feel fulfilled. And that’s not a small statement.
So, take this back to your team, identify the critical activities in your business and track them. Then watch the sparks fly as the results start rolling in. Don’t forget to celebrate the big victories, before you move the finish line and focus on a new goal.
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