Key Performance Indicators

More Musings on Metrics

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“Measuring the wrong things is like running fast in the wrong direction."

I happened across this quote recently and it got me thinking…how do you choose the right things to measure?

As a place to start …

Measure what matters. How do you define the success of your organization? What is your mission, and in what ways do these measurements directly support that mission? For Kansas City’s Harvesters, The Community Food Network, for example, every dollar raised can provide five meals. Simple. Understandable. Meaningful.

Measure what you can manage. It does very little good to monitor a variable over which you have no control. That seems obvious. What's less apparent is the need to extend your efforts past the broad, overriding goal. Take lifetime value, for example. It’s a critical measurement, but how do you change (manage) it? By increasing average gift size…or giving frequency…or retention. Those are factors you can change.

Mind what you measure. Monitoring and reporting is a management process, intended to help you improve performance. It’s not enough to simply assess the past; it’s only of value if you apply it to the future. 

Wait a minute ….

Measure what matters (Key) and you can manage (Performance) to improve the future (Indicators).

Maybe there’s a reason it’s called KPI!