Archive | key performance indicators

Compare Yourself to Yourself

I’m a big proponent of using scorecards to monitor progress to well-defined objectives. Earlier in my career, I ran a software company that used scorecards to help dozens of companies around the world ensure their execution was in line with their strategy. When using scorecards, I’ve cautioned that unless you compare yourself against an external…

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Red queen effect

The Red Queen Effect Explains Why You Aren’t Getting Ahead

For much of my career, I’ve argued that people design key performance indicators (KPIs) incorrectly. One of my own favorite blogs made the case that, unless you compare yourself against some external benchmark, you might be making progress towards achieving your KPIs but actually losing ground. Simplistically, if you’re growing by 20% and the market…

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Dilbert Claims Systems Trump Goals

No, this isn’t some new comic from Scott Adams about Dilbert interacting with Donald Trump – although I’m laughing about the possibilities. Instead it’s a central tenet of Adams’ most recent book titled How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. Adams relies on his trademark humor to describe “the strategies he has…

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March Madness Metrics: 2015 Edition

It’s March Madness, Baby! Most readers will recognize this catch-phrase celebrating the annual NCAA men’s college basketball tournament whose opening rounds just concluded. The tournament includes 64 teams organized into four separate regions which play over three long weekends until deciding a champion. Some – including me – believe it’s the most exciting tournament in…

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Quick Guide to Performance Management

After many years as a performance management enthusiast, I sometimes forget how much confusion there still is around the topic. Since I’m a big believer that standardized language helps reduce confusion, I’ve decided to summarize some of my deeply held beliefs on performance management: An objective describes what you want to accomplish. For example, ‘win…

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Smooth-sailing Fallacy

In a McKinsey Quarterly article entitled “Management lessons from the financial crisis,” UCLA business professor Richard Rumelt coins the term smooth-sailing fallacy: This smooth-sailing fallacy arises when we mistake a measure for reality. Competent management always looks deeper than the numbers, deeper than the current measures. Incompetent management just focuses on the metrics, on the body…

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Lawn Activities, Yard Outcomes

Performance management continuously invades my personal life, whether it’s on airplanes, during mentoring, or at Thanksgiving dinner. Here’s another example: Not long after I moved into my previous house, a friendly neighbor came over to welcome me to the block. Amid advice on local stores and restaurants, he pointed out that my front lawn wasn’t…

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