The aim of this blog series is to remove these common business leader blind spots by focusing your attention on each issue and bringing visibility and understanding to concepts that will be easier to see and, therefore, improve over time. Let’s take a look at the benefits of Collaborative Accountability.
Blind Spot #4 – Lack of Consistent Company Performance Monitoring
This article focuses on the fourth of five blind spots many business owners have when trying to grow from 5 to 50 employees. In our previous article, we discussed the first blind spot: not seeing the value around consistent company planning. The second blind spot focussed on how to maintain employee accountability, while the third highlighted seeing the importance of high-quality weekly management meetings.
The fourth blind spot lies in not realising the importance of consistent overall company performance monitoring. This exists for two main reasons:
This may be true to some extent but this belief comes unravelled when things become more complex or detailed. Mentally maintaining a general idea of the sales volume is more manageable than tracking the gross profit on a specific type of work. Additionally, we tend to forget how numbers are trending even when they are important to us. Utilising efficient, documented performance monitoring, such as with a company scorecard, retains performance information objectively so it removes our tendencies to remember things the way we’d like versus what actually occurred.
I agree with most business owners that there is minimal value (though certainly some) in reviewing numbers that occurred in the previous month or quarter. It is like thinking you could affect the outcome of a game by watching the replay highlights. Effective company performance monitoring is about reviewing numbers where the results indicate how the game is going to end if things continue on the current path. This gives the business the all-important opportunity to take preemptive actions that can affect outcomes. This is the difference between a KPI (key performance indicator) and KPR (key performance result). An Indicator attempts to predict the future while a Result is something that cannot be changed or affected.
Even when business leaders realise they can’t effectively monitor their business without first monitoring KPIs, it still requires work to obtain an effective scorecard for a company.
The goal is to keep your performance monitoring scorecard to between 7 and 10 statistics, though when beginning that number is often more like 15-20. Over time and consistent performance monitoring, companies settle into a scorecard that has around 10 numbers that include mostly KPIs but a few KPRs. The management team develops a level of trust and comfort that when the numbers are good the company is actually doing well, and when numbers fall off, they are highlighting issues that need to be resolved in order to keep the company’s financial results on track.
When business leaders invest the time and energy required to generate effective company performance monitoring it allows them to better predict what’s coming and to be able to navigate the inevitable issues that arise in business from time to time.
Scorecards should add fun and objectivity to a business and its management team. Start visually tracking more of your critical performance numbers consistently and see what happens to your ability to identify problems sooner and begin resolving them faster. After all, problems usually get bigger the longer they are left unattended, so the sooner you spot them, the easier it will be to resolve them.
Until next time, enjoy the process!
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