Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September 2018 and has recently been updated and revised for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
I recently had the honor of learning about the top leadership KPIs from a session by Verne Harnish, Gazelles. Over the last four years I've also seen the impact of his principles here at New Horizons Learning Group and in surrounding businesses, through both personal and professional relationships. Recently, I heard Verne deliver a Leadership keynote at Microsoft Inspire, a worldwide celebration of new technology, ideas and leadership.
Verne’s session addressed the Top 5 Leadership KPI’s You’re Not Measuring. These leadership KPIs, Key Performance Indicators, challenged my thinking of how to stay productive and make an impact. We kicked off the session by addressing the goal of our organization and our role within our organization. Put simply, the goal of any company, organization or group is to help make peoples’ lives easier or companies’ processes and deliverable smoother. Put even simpler, the role of leaders within these organizations are to help make our teams or employees effective leadership through coaching and development. So, how do we accomplish that?
KPI 1: Ratio of “No’s” to “Yes’s”
To grow your company and individual production, you will need to focus intently and prioritize your time effectively. Focus on what the most impactful activities are and say “No” to the distractions. Verne addressed the most common “No” will be to your own team. Yep, he lost me here too so let’s unpack this.
We’ve heard since we were young professionals be weary of “Yes Men/Women.” They often over commit themselves or enable you to take on too much at once. Why is it then that we as leaders become the ultimate “Yes Men/Women” once we have a team to manage? For me it’s because I don’t want them to fail and I think I know the best way to do something. If you are answering "Yes" to all of your team’s questions, how are you helping them become independent operators of their days? Learn to say "No" and be willing to teach people how to get to "Yes" without you as the knowledge roadblock.
Application: Discover your leadership voice.
KPI 2: Meals with Influencers
If you’ve read the book Never Eat Alone, you can skip to KPI #3. If not, here are my cliff notes. Your success is the sum of your surroundings, including those you learn from, help, grow and partner with. Meeting and eating with key people in your life and organization will help you grow more than any Skype, Zoom or GotoMeeting will.
Step 1: Make a list of the Top 25 relationships you need to be nurturing: a partner, upset or prospective client, vendor, or even a competitor.
Step 2: Nurture those relationships, online, in person and out of the office.
Step 3: Assure this is for every leader in the company, not just sales.
Application: Extending Your Sphere of Influence
KP1 3: Calendar Against Constraints
Let’s take a hard look at what the first domino in our series of constraints is. Is it Time? People? Investment? Technology? No, it cannot be all of the above. Pick one of these and reverse workflow until you can identify what the first area of the bottleneck is, then commit to overcoming the constraint and allow yourself to thrive. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. Our first KPI makes a lot more sense now.
Application: Prioritize your time effectively. Set aside 90 minutes each day to tackle the constraint.
KPI 4: Most Total Brains
Many leaders question, “Do we have the right people on the bus at the right time?” This KPI challenged this question to go a step further…”Do we have the most right people on the bus as possible?” Do you have the right people on your team, and in your network, not just on your org chart? Do we have the right relationships with influencers in our industry? In our company? In our own development?
I’ve grown up in an era of technology revolution and have developed successful interpersonal skills to keep building relationships. Technology is essential and is no longer is the only distinguishing factor for a company. Every company is a technology company, it’s now the human capital that will allow us to take this technology to a new level.
Application: Inventory your organization, what key personnel and relationships are you missing?
KPI 5: Quiet Reading and Thinking Time
You’ve heard this time after time: read, journal, meditate, etc. If Warren Buffet and I have time to read, so do you. Do you drive to work or listen to music? You have time to squeeze in a chapter via audible. If you have the ability to read, and choose not to read, you are no better off that those who are illiterate. Next up on my reading list, The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins.
Application: Download Audible and Get Your First Book Free
If you are interested in learning more about your Professional Development journey you can browse the Center for Leadership & Development powered by New Horizons offerings to build, strength and enhance your leadership skills. Contact us to schedule a time to prepare you for the next steps.