kpi smart

"Okay, you want to increase sales by 126% this year. But what has changed about the market, your strengths and opportunities? You can’t sink one hook in the river and expect ten fishes at once! Unless you now…"


S-M-A-R-T is a mnemonic acronym, giving criteria to guide in defining organizations objectives, for example in employee-performance, project management, management and personal development – yes, you should have a smart KPI on personal level too.

For the sake of introducing you to this concept – if it’s new to you, we’d define KPI.  KPI is the abbreviation for Key Performance Indicators - a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively an organization is achieving key business objectives.

Organizations use KPIs at multiple levels to evaluate their success at reaching targets. There are two key levels of KPI – the high-level KPIs and low-level KPIs. High-level KPIs may focus on the overall performance of the enterprise, while low-level KPIs may focus on processes in departments such as sales, marketing or a call center.

Many executives and managements device KPIs in not too smart ways that leave their team quite disconnected from the indices and motivations required to measure up. They also confuse KPI with business metrics (This will be distinguished in later articles. Like our facebook page to be notified).


·         Specific objective

·         Measurable progress

·         Attainable goals

·         Relevant to your organization

·         Time-bound goals

Specific objective: As an example, let me ask: “Why are you going online with campaigns?” Your reply: “We want to be the most successful company in the country.” Yes, that is ambitious. But which company doesn’t want to be the most successful? You have to be specific, not vague!

Here are examples of specific defined objectives which can be deciphered from your organization’s strategic direction:

-          Strengthening customer relationship channels

-          Becoming an opinion leader

-          Exposing your brand to a demography

-          Developing leads

-          Identifying influencers

As part of being specific, you have to be specific about who will achieve what outcome. In cases where there is a chain of command, you have to be specific, for example, on how the procurement department supervisor must provide services to the sales department in specific ways – this too should be measured.

Measurable progress: How do you know if you are attaining your specified objective? A measurement does it. For instance you might decide to increase sales by 25% in the second quarter of the year. To achieve this, you have to know what your sales were at the same time last year. You should also be able to know the variable factors that existed then. I like to put a range in this regard. 24 – 26% is a range and give or take, your average is still within range. Usually the lowest level is preferable in your expectations, even though you should push for the uppermost level of the range.

Attainable: Okay, you want to increase sales by 126% this year. But what has changed about the market, your strengths and opportunities? You can’t sink one hook in the river and expect ten fishes at once! Unless you now have fishing nets at the right parts of the river, you’ve only set up your team to fail long before they even started. Be modest and realistic. Here is where you can enlist professionals which do not exclude your team.

Relevant to your organization: Your peer manages an advocacy organization but you manage a manufacturing or marketing company. The KPI of your peer might not work with yours, at least to a considerable extent. Also, the variables might differ. A McDonalds with a KPI based on global market strategy doesn’t have to be your best model if you are not operating at that level yet.

Time-bound goals: All Key performance indicators should be measured within a specific time frame. Again, I like to do this based on segments of the overall time frame. Rather than waiting for the end of the year, how about reviewing and publishing reports on monthly basis? This will aid in forestalling redundancies. Such segmented appraisals will not only be used to see the performance of individuals assigned to certain tasks, but will also assist in generating feed backs, which might even bring to light factors that weren’t considered from inception.

Worthy of note is that in being SMART with your KPI, don’t aim to victimize anyone. Every component of your team should be motivated not to be the weak link in the overall chain. Expect changes in the circumstances of individual team members and device ways to help them stay on course.



- , Eze Uwaezuoke


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