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CEOs measure strategic alignment in market share, EBITDA, and shareholder value. They often resist less tangible indicators, such as “We have worked tirelessly to develop our mission and vision. But in the end, it’s near impossible to measure whether they have truly been adopted by the organization, or produced any value.”

 

Markets and demand shift fluidly today. In the time it takes to impact the bottom line, the activities and outcomes that got you where you are may have become irrelevant. Emerging best practices indicate that weekly KPIs produce the best results. How should CEOs think through the ones that they, as well as all team members, should be held to?

 

Let’s start with a simple principle: A CEO’s strategy determines the allocation of time, people, and money. KPIs should measure, across the organization, the allocation of resources deployed against corporate objectives. They help ensure different functions, which all have visibility into these KPIs, are aligned in hitting the objective.

 

This snapshot is from a recent review of corporate strategy for the executive education center of a top-tier business school. The school’s corporate strategy had a core objective calling for increased market penetration. Market research determined there was a high volume of new customers they could pursue. This objective drove the need for realignment across functions:

 

  • Sales: Compensation paid on new customer acquisition had to be tracked and in line.
  • Marketing: Head count had to be added to drive the content required to develop awareness and nurture prospects.
  • Programs: Time had to be spent researching the market problems that drive a prospect’s decision-making.

     

The executive team had to make sure the corporate strategy was cascading across the organization—applying time, people, and money correctly. Each function had to understand what the other functions were doing to be productive. Setting KPIs for themselves and for their teams helped ensure a transparent and aligned organization. As you consider what will help you allocate resources, keep three principles in mind:

 

  • Agility: Refresh dashboards As market dynamics shift, proactively refresh your KPIs and build new dashboards.
  • Visibility: Make dashboards readily accessible in conference rooms or WebEx bridges. Many professionals are visual learners, and illustrating performance helps accelerate adoption.
  • Routine: Review dashboards weekly, and elements of them daily, to focus the team on these numbers.

     

Before any member of the team makes a decision, they should consider the impact on their KPIs.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Kearney

Helps clients adopt emerging best practices to help them make their number.
Learn more about John Kearney >

John has been with SBI since 2011. He has worked with executives in Executive Education, Media, Telco, IT Services, and others. Under his leadership, organizations have successfully grown revenue and improved Sales and Marketing Effectiveness. With a focus on aligning strategies across functions, John has delivered strategic solutions that are actionable and executable. Prior to SBI, John earned his MBA from the University of Notre Dame.

 

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