TL;DR: If it doesn't change your behavior, then it's a BAD metric!
Originally Written: 04-May-2022
Word Count: 712
Read Time: 6 minutes
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the critical, or key, indicators of progress toward an intended result.
In a business or organization, KPIs provide a focus for strategic and operational improvement, create an analytical basis for decision making, and help focus attention on what matters most.
As Peter Drucker famously said, “What gets measured gets done.”
If you measure how quickly you get the product out the door from when a customer first requested it, you will see improvements in order lead time.
If you don't know Peter Drucker, that's fine, but what you need to recognize is we are all measuring something.
In fact, if you measure how many push ups you do each day, you will see a change in how many you're doing.
The same goes for calorie counting, god help you if you do.
What I'm trying to get at here is that humans are complex creatures.
We have feelings so abstract, we struggle at times to put them into words that are meaningfully heard by others.
We have logic, so cold in its structured approach to solving problems ,that it makes us question if others even have hearts.
In the middle, we have something peculiar. A zone of chance and possibility for an individual to step into a logical decision with their feelings in mind or, even more successfully, step into an emotional decision using logic.
Mind you, the previous example could also be catastrophic.
Using our feelings to dictate how we ought to behave in a context where logic is needed can diminish our credibility.
So, too, do we do the same when we use logic where feelings are meant to be felt.
It's one thing to have utter equanimity and a laser focus in the moments that matter.
It's another thing to learn what it is that pulls us in those moments when we find ourselves stuck with the burden of choice.
What? You mean we're human? We're not robots?
No. Fuck no we're not. In fact, we're hoomins.
At least according to my cat.
Now that I've adequately diminished my own credibility, I will apply some logic to this essay.
Key performance indicators can be thought of in a personal context in many, many ways.
Common KPIs instilled by religion include times married, times had sex, and church attendance rates.
Common KPIs instilled by capitalism include annual salary, net worth, credit score, and car value.
Common KPIs instilled by parents include grade point average, test scores, and even how many kids we have, if at all.
Am I making you uncomfortable yet? I know I am.
These kinds of indicators were paramount, at least to me, while growing up in the context I was raised in.
There are many contexts through which a person can grow through.
In fact, there are as many ways to make it through life as there are people who have ever been born.
For if it weren't for the changing conditions and variables surrounding time, space, weather, war, conquest, and culture, we'd all have quite the repetitive experience.
Instead, we just get more of the same shit.
New day, same shit.
Doesn't that suck?
What if it didn't have to be like that?
What if the way you receive results in life is based on the key performance indicators you are deriving for your own success?
Ever feel like you're chasing a carrot? Running a rat race? Looking for the finish line?
There isn't one.
Change is constant and the best we can do is let life flow around us instead of trying to affect our will upon it.
Our scope of control on things outside of ourselves may well be close to 0.
Our scope of control on things inside of ourselves, on the other hand, may well be close to 1.
One whole person.
One whole life.
If that is your key performance indicator, then what actions do you see you need to take today to make it happen?
If your objective is to make it to the top, then have you ever declared yourself at the bottom?
If not, that may be your first step.
Which is to recognize where you're already standing.
There is good news, however.
Only one way to go from here.