Skip to main content

Using KPIs to Drive Behaviours

When I was driving to my client yesterday I was listening to an interesting debate on the radio about GPs being paid to diagnose dementia (you can read more here). The reasoning behind this is to increase the number of people on a 'dementia register'. This is good example of how measuring a specific feature of a business / organisation can affect the outcome. In this case they have added an incentive too.

So, how would this relate to your business?

I spend a fair portion of my time reviewing the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of a business with my clients. They may be achieving their KPI targets, but sometimes are left wondering why their overall performance is not where it should be. KPIs can be really effective, when done correctly.


If KPIs are only focussing on the output of a business then it can be a 'win at all costs' scenario that evolves. The day to day work life may be chaotic, but if you only measure the output then developing a consistent system of working can lose out to fire-fighting and running around narrowly averting disaster.

When the KPIs don't mean anything to the individual they often don't lead to a change in performance. If the metric cannot be translated into meaningful actions then the KPI has failed; it is not just there to be recorded and reviewed, it is there to provide direction when choosing the next action in the business.

Using one KPI in isolation is a risky proposition when making business decisions. Just like the dashboard of your car you need to have several (or Key) pieces of information to make an informed decision. Watch out for people who are making decisions based on one metric alone, often it is an incomplete view of the (business) world.

I do hope that the GP incentive scheme provides some meaningful results, but not at the expense of other diagnoses being overlooked due to the focus / incentive. KPIs are the same in your business too, they are there to help steer your business. If you feel that they not working, not generating effective actions to improve performance, then it might be time to look at your KPIs as a group and see if you have the right ones.



Giles Johnston
...optimising MRP systems and re-engineering business processes

Popular posts from this blog

Kaizen improvements need to be specific

Do you find that your Kaizen improvements don't always go to plan? If you do, then you're with the majority! Whilst there is great deal of 'trial and error' there is a simple approach that can help. Available from Amazon Being specific about critical parts of your improvement can uplift your results. So, how do you go about doing this? The most direct route is to be clear about which parts of your improvement are critical. From here you can explain, in detail, what you want for those items. This might take some practice as many of us have become lazy in this regard. We take it for granted that our team 'get us' and will know what they need to do. If you ever feel that something basic is missing from an improvement ask this question: "What does good look like?" The answer should put you back on track. About the author: Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes and

Where to start with Kaizen, if you just aren't sure

Kaizen is a great word. It is a word that can unleash the potential of both a business and an individual. Kaizen means more than just continuous improvement. It is a word that is linked to: Confidence Growth Exploration Courage Many people I speak to, that are new to improvement projects, aren't sure if they are on the right path when it comes to embracing the spirit of Kaizen. If you are also one of these people then let me share with you a few thoughts that can help you feel at ease about starting and leading change. Start with your concerns A great place to start your improvement life is with anything that isn't right. Getting your concerns out into the open really is the first step for most of us. If you aren't happy with something, raise it. This isn't only a great place to start, but something that you shouldn't give up. Whenever a standard is not being met, or not even defined, get vocal and then do something about it. Start small The intention of Kaizen is

Stimulating Kaizen opportunities - the 'mechanical' way!

I often end up in conversations about how to stimulate Kaizen ideas and opportunities. If you have read my other posts, you will know that I split the improvement journey into two halves. For many people, the initial Kaizen focus is all around fixing things that are wrong / not working properly. Once you get past this point you need something else to focus and motivate you to generate improvement opportunities. The two halves of the Kaizen journey The discussion that I often end up in, is the one around the imagination quandary. People talk to me about not being creative, or not being inspired to come up with improvement ideas. Do you ever feel this way? It seems that there is a popular view that some people are creative and some aren't. Great Kaizen ideas are not just the product of 'creative' people. There are lots of ways that you can generate improvement ideas without having to sit on a mountain top cross legged waiting for inspiration. Finding a 'mechanical' w