You are probably intrigued by the “Happy Feet” title and are wondering what in the world this blog is about. No, it is not about penguins, dancing, or anything crazy like that. It is about the difference of taking performance from the level of good to great. Why I relate this to penguins, I have no idea- except that whenever I see penguins walk, they take little tiny steps… and a lot of them. Over the years, I have related this notion of taking a lot of little steps as the only way to move a team from “good” to “great”. Typically, there is a fine line between the two. Rarely it’s the big things that must improve in order to push the team over the line. Most often, it is a process of fine tuning several small things that is key.
A simple example can be found in golfing. Personally, I am a horrible golfer- so this is more of just my understanding than my personal experience. A high handicap golfer can shave a lot of strokes off by changing and improving things in the “big picture” such as lengthening their drive, keeping the ball in-bounds, or simply being more consistent in hitting the ball straight and solid. Going from a handicap of 80 to one of 78 requires improving many different nuances of the short game (and especially putting). To get from good to great, you’ve got to tweak the smaller aspects that make up the big picture- and it is important that you understand the reaction of every action you take.
This is the crux of my point. So many times people in leadership and/or management do not fully understand all of the tools that are available to them. I’m talking more in terms of having quality data points to track progress in real-time; versus just looking in the “rearview mirror” once the end of the month financials are published. In running my business, there are 10+ different KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) that I use on a regular basis to understand both the current health of the business and what trends will look like in the future. Utilizing all of these KPI’s only works if you understand the reaction caused by every action. So, like taking many little baby steps, you have to tweak actions in your business all the time to stay on course and to improve. But before doing so, know the reaction you will get and ensure that it moves your proverbial ball forward and does not give you unintended consequences!
Having trouble knowing what are the real KPI’s to run your business? Ask yourself this question:
If you are on a secluded island for one month, when you return, what are the KPI’s that will immediately tell you how your business is doing?
CSI Tech & Anteo Group Unit Manager