It sucks to have to manage your team closely, especially when most good people want to grow. So how do you let them know why they’re here, how they can help, and how they can solidify themselves in their jobs, consistently getting better and better results that serve the company? Because if you could, you’d fill up your company with people just like that. And you’d both love it!
The funny thing is, when we talk like this, it sounds like money and business aren’t really that important, but the person is. Some might ask, “How do you keep people happy AND expect them to be productive?”
And the answer is more businessy than you might think. You do it through clear KPIs.
If people can see how their job affects the big picture, they can own it. No longer are they order takers, but they’re contributors in your success. In other words, KPIs let people know why their work matters.
That’s all great, but lots of people try to use KPIs and fail miserably. So what does it take to use the concept of KPIs effectively in your organization?
Let’s talk about that. But first, a concept that will make all this so much easier.
“If it’s not easy, it doesn’t happen.”
Well, there are some things we do even though they’re hard, but those things are usually still fun or absolutely necessary (like taxes).
But how many times have you told a friend you wanted to get lunch, and really meant it, but life got in the way.
It was never scheduled, so it wasn’t easy.
Set up the path of least resistance to lead to success. Let’s talk about how to do that.
Make KPIs the Path of Least Resistance
Here’s how to make the path of least resistance also the path to success in achieving your KPIs:
Meet with your team regularly.
KPIs get lost if there’s no explicit process to review.
A standing meeting removes the work of setting up the meeting. And if you follow the same process each time, it’s easier for them to know what to expect. So…
- Set up a standing meeting.
- Let them know how to prepare.
So how should they prepare? Find out by reading the next steps.
Define What to Measure
The key to great performance is to take the work off yourself and let others help. If you let them know how their job helps your job, they can participate in the creation of KPIs for themselves. This is especially helpful when you’re just getting things going. And it’s a great approach for two reasons:
- They’re less likely to be dissatisfied with KPIs they helped to create.
- If they suggested them, they probably understand them. This prevents miscommunication.
- Ask them to suggest 3-5 of the most important things they think you should measure.
- Ask them to explain to you why these are the most important things to measure.
Defining what to measure is just the beginning. Nothing actually happens if you don’t evaluate monthly. But when you do, it shows them how valuable their job is, and creates the expectation that their jobs are valuable to the extent they reach their KPIs.
And failing to work with you to reach their KPIs probably means they’re a bad fit. But having those KPIs could give them the focus they need. Plus, it could put them on the same side as you, as a comrade in reaching those KPIs. Especially if they understand how it will help you.
- Review the KPIs.
- Ask them which areas they reached and which they didn’t.
- Ask them what they’ll do to fix what’s broken and build what’s working.
- Ask which areas are most promising: are there some easy wins? Is there an especially tough problem that needs a lot of attention, but would be valuable if solved?
Get them On Your Team
KPIs are all about getting people on your team. They can involve and focus your team. And if you do it right, you’re treating them like an ally. Now, their KPIs support your KPIs, and you’re on the same team.
None of this stuff happens by accident. It happens because you’re purposeful and organized. And if you’re organizing yourself around KPIs, you’re demonstrating that they’re important to your team.
And now you’re aligned.