It’s common for leaders and managers to want everything to improve all of the time. I assume that’s part of what they think their job entails. Pushing people to achieve more. Maximising performance.
If you stop to think about it for a second and ask yourself: Why does everything need to be better? You might find it hard to come up with a good answer.
It’s easy to default to a position where every KPI needs to be better. Whether that’s much better or just incrementally.
The reality is not all KPIs are equal. Not all need to be improved. Not every KPI that needs improving needs to be improved now. It’s common for KPIs to require a lot of effort to just maintain good or good enough.
So is the answer to ‘this KPI needs to be improved’ – why?
There’s another angle here as well, always asking for more when some levels of performance are already great is demotivating.
For example, imagine Jane works in Accounts and does both Payroll and Accounts Receivable. She has worked really hard to get debts to under 60 days, they were 95. And there are rarely issues with payroll. How will Jane feel if we create a stretch goal of getting 60 days down to 45?
There are Jane’s in every company and in every department, working hard to keep great at just that. We need to make sure we don’t undermine and under-appreciate their efforts with blunt rules like – “everything needs to be better”.
So the art of strategy, performance management and OKRs is knowing what to improve, when and by how much.
Learn more about how to write OKRs with great OKR examples.
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If you want to know more about how to go about separating what needs to be improved from what’s good enough, or just not for now, here’s download I wrote: