I was looking for a reference guide of common KPIs to make it easier for the leadership team of one of the companies I work with to identify appropriate metrics to drive execution.
I reached out to my network of colleagues in Gravitas Impact Premium Coaches. They suggested Key Performance Indicators: The 75+ Measures Every Manager Needs to Know, by Bernard Marr.
The problem was there was no audio version and no text-to-speech feature. Listening to books while driving or walking my dog is my only option.
So I found this “for Dummies” version by the same author. It did the trick.
The gist of it
In Key Performance Indicators for Dummies, Marr provides, not only a list of common KPIs across the essential areas of financial, customer, internal efficiency and people, but also a comprehensive guidebook to developing and implementing KPIs.
While the book, in places, goes into more complexity than is needed for many mid-size companies, he does a nice job of explaining how KPIs connect with and support business strategy and execution disciplines.
Marr, an expert in KPIs and big data, emphasizes how KPIs, effectively developed, can support a learning culture of fact-based decision-making where leaders test business assumptions and strategies through metrics.
He also shares common pitfalls to avoid, such as tying compensation directly to KPIs, which unwittingly creates an incentive for employees at all levels to distort results.
The alternative, in my experience, when incentives are implemented to support an already developed performance culture, is to tie them to numbers that are regimented, centrally controlled and therefore not easily manipulated, such as financial results.
The irony of this book is that, while it’s designed as a go-to reference for picking KPIs, it recommends - and rightly so - to not just pick them from a list, but to do the harder thinking as a leadership team of what you’re aiming to achieve and what number you can track to tell you you’re making progress.
Length of book: 320 pages.
Bernard Marr is founder and CEO of the Advanced Performance Institute and author of 16 books on key performance indicators, metrics, big data, analytics and artificial intelligence.
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