Wyse Coaching - Business Development & Leadership Coaching | Detroit, MI


Random Thoughts Make the World Go'Round

Make Your Own Key Performance Indicators


Ok, I will admit it. I am a “pat on the back” addict. It’s true. Nothing brings a smile to my face quicker than a “good job” email, or a “man, that was an amazing blog” comment. I can’t help it, it is part of my make-up. It is why I constantly ask for feedback and am always checking to see how I am doing.

You may be thinking that this might not be a big deal, and in fact, it is not uncommon amongst most professionals. The truth is that it became a HUGE burden in my professional and personal life. You see, when you are constantly seeking the approval of others, you are giving them the ability to control the metrics of your own personal success.

Let me explain a little further. Let’s say that you are like me and that you are always looking for a “kudos” gesture from your boss to validate the work that you’re doing. And let’s say that your boss is the kind of person that does not easily give positive feedback. There is an immediate incongruence between what you crave and what is given. Does it mean that you did a bad job if you did not get a pat on the back? If you a measuring success by the number of times you receive positive feedback then it might feel that way.

In today’s world, everything is being measured by the number of likes, shares, subscribers and clicks we receive. It creates a false sense that good work is tied to these numbers. Now, I am not trying to put down these metrics, I just want to make a distinction between popularity and good work.

For example: Let’s compare a Transformers movie to a more artsy movie, let’s say La La Land. Does the amount of money Transformers made in the box office make it a more successful movie than La La Land? Not necessarily. It depends on what you are using as your performance indicators. If your performance indicator is number of tickets sold you may say Transformers is a more successful movie. If you go by the number of positive reviews, then La La Land would be the more successful movie. It all depends on what you are using as your Key Performance Indicator (KPI).

So here is the scoop. Successful organizations make it very clear as to what your KPIs should be. In order to get a good review, you need to do X, Y and Z. It is clear and everyone is on the same page. So why don’t professionals do the same for themselves?

If I were to ask you what your KPIs are what would they be? Would they be something that you can control, or would it be something that you rely on someone else to provide? This is an important distinction because whatever you choose to be your measure of success needs to be something that you are comfortable with.

In my case, I had to adjust my personal Key Performance Indicators. Knowing that my measure of self-worth was tied to me receiving positive reviews, it started skewing the way I worked. I was more concerned about getting a pat on the back than I was about giving my best effort. That meant that I was doing things to gain visibility, instead of doing what I knew was right. Even worse, when I did not get a pat on the back, it negated all the hard work I put into anything I did.

Eventually, I decided that I would no longer judge my success on getting recognition, but on whether I put my best effort towards the completion of it. I needed to be very honest with myself so that I could evaluate my performance accordingly. If I felt that I left it all on the court and that there was nothing else I could do to improve on what I did, I was at peace. If there was more that could have been done and I just simply missed it, then and only then would I view my performance as less than desired. This allowed me to take control of my performance, instead of relying on an arbitrary indicator.

So… what I am saying is that being deliberate about how you will measure your success will make a difference. Take the time to determine what that is. If you are looking for a new job will you measure your success on how many interviews you will be called in for, or the quality of offers you receive? If you are writing a blog will you measure your success on the number of likes you receive, or on the review of a credible source?

Regardless of what you choose, know what your internal KPIs are so that you can adjust your work to fulfill them. Or, like in my case, adjust your KPIs so that you can be ok with what you are producing.

Good Job Andre. On to the next!

Andre Mello is a Business Coach and maximum effort is one of his KPIs. He has been in marketing and leadership for over 17 years. To connect with Andre please visit www.wysecoaching.com

Andre Mello