Dressed smartly and exuding confidence, Suzie felt she could take on the world. Today was her first day as an intern in one of the best publishing firms in Accra. Intently taking notes at the orientation, she portrayed a perfect picture of a professional until her mind went blank when the moderator mentioned KPIs. ‘None of the lecturers talked about this,’ she mused. The question which kept resonating in her mind was ‘What at all is a KPI?’
Suzie was able to get through the day with a fair idea of what a KPI was from subsequent meetings at her assigned department. Looking it up on Google (thank God), she chanced on many different authors explaining KPIs. She liked that of bestselling author and Business Influencer, Bernard Marr, which said Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) provide a way to measure how well companies, business units, projects or individuals are performing in relation to their strategic goals and objectives.
Simply put, KPIs are ways of measuring your performance in relation to your objective or goal. Do you recall all the New Year resolutions you made last year during the watch night service? With hands lifted to heaven, faith that scares the devil away, and a can-do spirit, you promised to save more money, exercise more, complete the building project, spend less, and many others. Some months down the line and you are nowhere near the realisation of your dreams. Mostly, these promises just end up on the following year’s resolutions.
Most times, there are no clearly drawn plans as to how we will achieve these resolutions. A Key Performance Indicator helps you know what you want and devise ways to achieve it. Some goals, which are just not realistically attainable, are what we spend a lot of time on. A KPI helps us get rid of over-the-top goals that we strive to attain. There are many KPIs to choose from. However, settle for a KPI that is relevant to you as an individual, company or project. One way to evaluate the relevance of a KPI is to use the SMART criteria. The word SMART is broken down into Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. In other words:
• Is your objective Specific?
• Can you Measure progress towards that goal?
• Is the goal realistically Attainable?
• How Relevant is the goal to you, your company or project?
• What is the Time frame for achieving this goal?
So consider having a KPI for that online course you are undertaking and the building project you want to complete. Working mothers could utilize KPI to plan meals for the family and remember those Parent Teacher Association meetings so easily forgotten (yeah right!). You could even have KPIs for your exercise routine to track your progress and achieve that flat tummy or six-pack you so much yearn for. It helps you asses your growth regarding every area of your life. For the busy bees that are all over doing so many things and never getting any of them done, KPI is a perfect tool to monitor tasks we have to undertake.
When your company has KPIs on what to do and how to do it to achieve your objective, it helps you to assign the right people for the various tasks. A single person will not be overwhelmed with so much work whilst another spends precious time on social media. This also fosters teamwork as workers see themselves as a team rather than individual components. People bring their expertise on board to help the organisation achieve its objective.
The innate desire to succeed is what drives us and to attain the heights we envision for ourselves. We must have a definite plan on how to get there and what to do to get there. Of course, you need a KPI.
By: Esther Wepia Kopiah