My Radical View of KPIs- and 3 examples
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are commonly used metrics for a business. You may use quarterly returns, cash flow, % new sales, #of clients retained in your daily life. Accountants and MBAs are taught to master these. As if they were gospel.
But they are not gospel. They are a choice.
What if we these KPIs were only metric among several?
1. Posted on the door of my home office are two examples of alternate KPIs. One is a list of financial metrics by month (e.g. revenue, expenses, investments, monthly gross, bank balance, and % of 12 month goal.) That visual keeps me focused on business. And it teaches our high-school aged daughters something about business. The second list is called “Passionate Actions.” These are the reasons why I work. Listed monthly are the family trips, personal trips, adventures, life decisions in the past and in the future. I update both lists quarterly, or so. Together, these KPIs keep me focused on 1) the top line, 2) bottom line, and 3) key lines.
2. According to recent articles in Fast Company and the TED community online, there is a new KPI being adopted in several countries in Northern Europe. They measure Happiness. As a social construct. And as a material currency. Details are at http://blog.ted.com/2006/09/26/happiness_exper/ Can you imagine using a Happiness Quotient, HQ, as a measure of your personal success? Makes me wonder if we are missing this KPI in America. The health and social benefits of happiness as a choice are well documented. The alternatives are even better documented (e.g. depression, violence, poor health and diet…)
3. Alienation. Anomie. Social Isolation. These are not commonly discussed points at your local breakfast Rotary Club, or while watching your kids play soccer. But these are social facts in America. Especially for men, who are being replaced by women throughout every business segment in America. These people may be too sad to talk. They do not easily build relationships. So, perhaps we need to adopt radical new KPIs such as “The number of direct conversations with people per day. The quality of conversation per day. The number of hours helping others per day.” Relationships define business success, and psychological health. We know that those who live longest have a strong social network. Hmmm… solopreneurs are not the only ones who need to guarantee social contacts. Look at any coffeeshop or bookstore or library for examples of lonely people. Watch how many fathers are at school bus stops, or PTA meetings. Scan any online dating company. Did you know that you can now “Rent-a-Grandma” to watch your children? Makes me wonder what would happen if we were to create KPIs around constructive social relationships.
Like many readers, I have shelves of books on Success. I regularly send subscriptions of Success magazine to my most engaged coaching clients. Creating “success” is a work in progress, and the metrics define the outcome.
What if we were to adopt a new view of KPIs?