Does the act of measuring something help improve it? Peter Drucker, known as the founder of modern management, seemed to think so when he famously said, “What’s measured improves.”
Forgive us one moment for going on a bit of a philosophy tangent. However, we can’t help but pause to consider the parallels this quote has to modern business—and the importance of key performance indicators (KPIs). After all, we are in the business of measuring, and thus hopefully improving, businesses around the world through use of KPI-tracking dashboards.
We’re big believers that tracking success certainly does improve your overall operations. Here’s why.
Focus on the metrics that matter most.
Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ll notice that nowadays, data is everywhere. This especially holds true for online businesses. You can track just about anything: website bounce rate; email campaign open rate and click-through rate; website traffic; public relations impressions; sales growth; IT systems redundancy. Your business is a digital machine, humming with data. Almost too much of it.
Focusing on KPIs—KEY performance indicators—helps you to zoom in on the data that matters most. There are a hundred ways you can look at your data; KPIs offer a bit of compromise. These are the numbers that matter to you today, right now. In other words, it’s a tool to help you tune out the white noise and zero in on the highlights.
A fact-based gauge of improvement
Take a look at the facts, and step away from the emotion. You may have your heart and soul in your business’ sales pipeline. In fact, you may feel that those leads are so close to signing on the dotted line. It may seem that an average enterprise account takes 90 days to close. Or, you may be a marketer who is hearing good feedback on a new paid search campaign.
Whelp. The facts—the data—may have a different story to tell. And any numbers geek will be the first to say that numbers don’t lie. The numbers give you the ability to take a breath and see what’s truly happening today, last year, last month. They give the ability to look ahead to the future, too, to predict what’s coming around the corner.
Sure, count on your intuition. But stay grounded in the truth.
Drive accountability across your entire business.
This is the real kicker. The numbers aren’t meant to be hidden away in any one person’s back pocket. For a real business to operate with speed and efficiency, they’ve got to be shared and cascaded down the line.
It’s a simple concept: share the KPIs that matter most to every person in every team. And take off the blinders to the rest of the business by allowing everyone to see what’s happening, in or out of their department.
This is where the real innovation and collaboration begins. Because the KPIs serve as a single version of truth to spark teamwork, improvement and growth at every level.
No doubt, Peter Drucker would approve.