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What is the True Measure of Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?

In the vast world of corporate governance, accurately measuring a company’s success is indispensable. Drawing from my rich experience of over twenty-five years, I’ve observed how top-level executives often wrestle with this intricate undertaking. I’ve heard a CEO say, “KPI discussions often dampen our team’s spirits.” Another confessed, “The mere mention of KPIs sends managers scurrying for the door.”

An insight into the character of the ubiquitous KPIs can explain such reactions. There is a prevailing dominance of data analytics, overwhelming managers with complex spreadsheets, thorough financial breakdowns, and detailed production metrics. Gradually, they feel entrapped in enigmatic dilemmas that seem neither comprehensible nor appealing.

For leaders to address this, they must underscore some vital truths about KPIs.

In sprawling enterprises, a significant amount of time and resources goes into gauging employee satisfaction. There are entire HR sections focused on conducting satisfaction surveys and promoting routine interactions between managers and their teams. While commendable, senior executives often find themselves pondering the actual returns of these efforts.

KPIs should resonate with the fact that value creation is a two-way street. Consider this: Why do we want engaged employees? Because their role is indispensable. It’s crucial to understand the criteria that vital stakeholders use in decision-making, and concurrently, determine what the organization offers in return. Effective engagement with employees hinges on meeting their expectations, which tools like satisfaction surveys can track. Yet, an equally essential facet is monitoring the collective productivity and ingenuity of the workforce—a realm where many companies fall short.

Sales: A Similar Narrative

Sales departments often grapple with a similar conundrum, emphasizing company gains over customer value. A client of mine, Grace, who heads a community bank, narrated her journey, “Earlier, our board meetings were solely about sales figures. But as we started focusing more on stakeholders, our performance reviews took on a richer hue. Now, we delve deep into KPIs related to driving sales, like customer feedback and rankings from reviewers like Canstar.”

For Grace, technology and societal changes have played pivotal roles. “We’re in an era where consumers have a clear vision of their needs. Thanks to technological strides, especially the power of social media, gauging performance has become more transparent.”

Deciphering Connections

To many, a series of performance metrics might seem just like cold, hard numbers. Since they often exist side by side, managers rarely probe how they influence each other. Yet, KPIs should be harbingers of the future. Positive employee interactions today can lead to satisfied customers tomorrow, which can translate to better shareholder value later on.

Understanding this deeper role of KPIs fosters a spirit of self-reflection. I once worked with a cooperative focused on sourcing and grading avocados for retailers. Brian, their Managing Director, highlighted, “Charting our KPIs spotlighted the grading process’s crucial role. Accurate grading not only affects how we pay our growers but also ties in with our clients’ reputations for consistent quality. These factors, in turn, drive our sales and profitability.”

Numbers Tell Only Part of the Tale

KPIs offer glimpses of bigger realities. The word “indicator” inherently signifies this partiality.

Years back, I helped a non-profit formulate a KPI dashboard. This entity, which runs schools for autistic children, continually revisits its scorecard for relevance. As the CEO mentioned, “Every year, we tweak our scorecard for better alignment.” Metrics with feeble ties to their core mission, such as media visibility or capital spends, gave way to indicators like corporate sponsorship and volunteer fundraising. They’ve also streamlined their KPI list from 16 to 12 for ease of oversight.

As your organizational or industrial environment morphs, be ready to recalibrate your performance indicators. It’s an evolutionary process. As Grace pointed out, technological progress, social media dynamics, and even events like the Covid-19 pandemic are reshaping business terrains. It’s imperative, then, to rethink our performance measurement paradigms. View performance in terms of mutual benefit, stay attuned to interlinkages among indicators, and be nimble in adapting to the ever-changing scenario.

Social media marketing and inbound marketing are not two distinct approaches. They complement one another and are essential for expanding a company in any field.

Every year, new trends emerge on social media. Platforms fluctuate in popularity. Due to several factors, including global events, consumer expectations vary. As technology develops, you can be forced to use novel strategies to attract clients. However, using social media is still in vogue. There are around 3 billion active Facebook users alone. Instagram has 2 billion users, TikTok has more than 1 billion, and YouTube has over 2.5 billion.

Social media should be used in your inbound marketing strategy simply because of the huge amount of consumers it allows you to reach on one platform. Here are seven additional reasons to think about it if you’re still not persuaded.

  • Consumers expect it
  • it increases brand awareness and establishes you as an expert in your field
  • it allows you to tailor content to different target audiences
  • it fosters opportunities for building relationships
  • it boosts SEO
  • it keeps you informed of market news and trends
  • it provides a high return on investment.


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