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Road to KPIs

A couple of weeks ago, a work colleague from of our French office came for a meeting in our Arizona office followed by some vacation time.  What started as a work meeting turned into a lot of fun and a new friendship.  When my new friend and I sat down for our first beer, I asked him what his plans were for the next couple of weeks.  I was amazed to discover everything that he had planned.

After working from the U.S. office for a week, his schedule launched into high gear.  In a matter of seven days, he and his girlfriend enjoyed:

  • A road trip through Arizona on a convertible Mustang
  • A B&B in Sedona with a view of Cathedral Rock
  • Breakfast in Flagstaff, AZ
  • The sunrise and sunset in Monument Valley
  • A hike through Antelope Canyon
  • A Jet ski tour of Lake Powell and a visit to Glenn Canyon Damn
  • An overnight stay at the Grand Canyon and a day hike
  • A B&B in Kanab Utah
  • A sunrise in Zion’s National Park
  • A tour of the Hoover Damn
  • A 2-night stay in Las Vegas.

The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions

I am an Arizona native, I’ve lived here for most of my life and to be perfectly honest I have intended to make this sort of trip, every year.  Unfortunately, a lack of commitment and executions has prevented me from doing what my friend did in just seven days!

When I think about what my friend and his girlfriend accomplished, the first question that came to mine was “how?”  I pondered this question, and the answer was simple.  A plan was crafted, it was reviewed, and the team was committed to its success.  Once the trip began, there were mileposts, road signs, landmarks and towns that let my friend know where he was compared to where he wanted to be; these markers measured moment-by-moment progress.

The road signs, mile markers, and landmarks were his indicators as to how well he was performing against his goals and in this case, the desired destinations.  He didn’t just hope he would get to his next goal and aimlessly wander the Arizona highways; he crafted a plan, knew his milestones and more importantly knew, in real-time, where he stood against achieving those goals. His teammate (in this case, his girlfriend) knew the goals as well and knew that sleeping late or staying longer would impact the attainment of their next goal.  If they hit traffic along the way, they knew that they had to collaborate and combine their opinions and decide: do they skip the next stop, speed up, or risk missing the agreed upon destination.

Planning for Success is One Thing, Measuring is Another

There is a beautiful correlation between our goals and intentions for business as well as for vacation planning (among others).   Living in Arizona all my life, I have great plans to see the Grand Canyon every year, take my wife to Sedona, see the sunrise over Monument Valley and take the time to hike through Antelope Canyon.  And just like work, there are things I want to accomplish and things that I must accomplish. The only way we can be successful is if I plan well, connect to the information needed, collaborate with my team, combine our opinions and be transparent to everyone in the company as to our attainment to our goals.

Data is data.  It doesn’t matter if it’s financial, sales, manufacturing, the opinions of our peers and the input from third-parties.  None of that is useful alone; it becomes impactful when we choose to connect to it with zeal, combine what is meaningful, create a set of KPIs and transparently communicate with our team the progress of our success.  Someone wise once said it’s the journey that matters.  It’s my opinion that measuring the journey is how we make it matter most.