It’s no coincidence that my business name unmeasured is the opposite of “measurable” KPI’s. Unmeasured is about those important parts of our work that can’t easily be measured. The human or soft skills such as leadership, empathy, trust and so on, skills that have no measurable KPI. Sure their impact can be seen and it’s not entirely immeasurable, but it’s hard to post them up on a bar chart.
Knowing how your firm is performing is important, and business owners should be paying attention to collecting and reviewing performance data. The point, however, is that knowing the KPI’s gives you only part of the picture. Underperformance, for example, might be due to shifts in the market, competition, work inefficiencies, management issues, problematic staff, or something else – are these due to a deficit of human skills or something else? [there’s no right answer] Underperformance might equally come from poor decision-making, leadership deficiencies, a lack of trust and staff dissatisfaction, ineffective time management, poor teamwork and communication, or some other human skill based issue. These skills can’t be measured but their impact can be identified.
Instead of understanding just the numbers, what if KPI’s were about Knowing your [skills] Prowess and Inabilities? It’s a clunky hijacking of KPI for sure, but the important part is that KPI’s are about awareness. Whether that’s awareness of performance indictors, or of the skills limitations that might be hindering the performance of the business.
Businesses need to focus on both the data of performance and the human skills side too.