One of the benefits of key performance measures (KPMs) is that they help you and your team focus on results rather than activities, and prevent you from falling into the “busy trap.” Unfortunately, an element of human behavior is that when we don’t know what to do, we tend to run in circles, staying busy but accomplishing very little. Good leaders armed with solid KPMs get everyone to settle down, focus on priorities and get results.
Measuring results helps reinforce priorities and keeps the team focused on what is important. Mid-level managers in particular need to avoid the busy trap of day-to-day urgencies (the “putting out fires” phenomenon), and instead keep driving toward their goals.
Smart companies design their metrics to drive innovation as much as (or more than) efficiency. Often companies set targets for improvement that are too low and don’t drive revolutionary change. Don’t just ask for 2% – 3% improvement; ask for 10% or 20%. The only way to achieve that is to think outside the box and innovate.
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