Rabat - To measure your success, you need "something" that tells you in a regular manner how you are progressing towards your objectives. This "something" is called performance indicators. A strategy is a plan, a series of results you want to achieve. The indicators show you whether you are achieving those results or not. But as their name suggests, the indicators give you just an idea, an indication, not all details about your performance.
Rabat – To measure your success, you need “something” that tells you in a regular manner how you are progressing towards your objectives. This “something” is called performance indicators. A strategy is a plan, a series of results you want to achieve. The indicators show you whether you are achieving those results or not. But as their name suggests, the indicators give you just an idea, an indication, not all details about your performance.
Consider your business or strategy like the car you are driving: the gasoline, temperature and speed needles tell you about the performance of your car and allow you to make decisions: to speed up or slow down, to put the gasoline in your reservoir, and to be careful that the engine does not overheat. The indicators of your strategy allow you to make decisions : Where to put the cursor ? Is it necessary to make additional efforts or invest more? Which parts of your work you need to work more on? Indicators allow you to navigate better and change course if necessary.
To develop effective performance indicators, work as team. You need the input of a good number of your collaborators. But you have to follow certain rules to develop a good set of indicators sufficient to inform you about your productivity and your performance.
Identify your indicators.
Ask yourself: what will allow me to measure whether I am on track towards achieving the expected results? To be able to think that through, you must define the expected result in a precise manner. A result must be clear, precise and intelligible. Only then can it become easily measurable. If your objective is: “Increased sale of cars whose price does not exceed x”, your indicator is easy to identify: “The number of sold cars whose price does not exceed x”. But if your result is poorly formulated: “Ty to improve sales and after-sales services,” the indicator becomes more difficult to identify: How would you measure “trying”? Selling which cars ? Are you interested in selling or after-saleservices? etc.
The golden rule: clarify what you want to achieve before measuring it. It is important to formulate your results in a clear way, and as results, as “already achieved” facts in the future. “Increased sales” is better than “increasing sales”. A “result” is a change that takes place in your work environment, not just a state of mind or an illusion. “The government adopts 10 incentive measures presented by business leaders” is a real change. It is better than “Business leaders lobby the government” or “Business leaders are disappointed by government ploicy,” which are actions or states of mind that are difficult to measure. A well-formulated result allows you to come up with a good indicator to measure it.
Your indicators must be direct, precise and adequate. “The number of people who visit a showroom of agricultural machinery” does not measure in a direct way the result formulated as follows: “Increased sales of agricultural machinery by 10% each year.” The “number of sold agricultural machinery units” measures it directly. When it is not possible to get direct indicators, use indirect measures; but simple and direct indicators are highly recommended.
A precise indicator is univocal. “Number of companies that sign a contract to purchase scanners” is univocal. It measures only one thing. But “Number and type of companies that sign a contract to purchase scanners” is not. It talks of “number” and “type” and as such we don’t know which of the two it tries to measure. An indicator must also be “objective”: easy to identify and to see with the naked eye.
If a single indicator is not sufficient to measure the expected result, you can develop another separate indicator. An adequate number of indicators is essential to measure the extent of your achievements. For a result like “Increased export of cherry tomato cans”, you can have two indicators: “Volume of exported cherry tomato cans ” and “Out-of-the country sales value of cherry tomato cans”.
Your indicators should also be quantitative and practical. It is not always possible to have quantitative data but try to quantify as much as you can. Use measures like “number”, “percentage”, “rate”, “volume”, “value in dirhams” etc. Use quantifiable data to measure success. Remember the car you are driving: the dashboard tells you in a quantifiable manner about the speed, the temperature, and the gasoline in the tank of your car. Everything on it is quantifiable, direct and objective
Be practical. Develop indicators for which you can have reliable but easy-to-collect data. It will take you a very reasonable time to find the data for how many “Insurance policies sold this year”. But if you want to know how many customers have left for the competition because your people are not very helpful or welcoming, you will be spending a lot of resources collecting data that may or may not be reliable.
Measuring your achievements is important for the modern business entreprise. But be very careful. Do not overdo it. Some indicators are sufficient. Do not get lost in measuring and monitoring. Do your work first: and measure from time to time. But remember that the right indicators should be simple, precise, objective, direct, adequate and quantifiable, if possible. Indicators measure both success and failure. But at least they tell you in time if it is working or not; they don’t tell you why it is not working, though; it is up to you to design ways to evaluate why your strategy is or isn’t working.