How best to align with company metrics that are lagging? 

  • When dealing with new ideas and company metrics, it's essential to balance leading and lagging indicators. You can align yourself with outcomes or metrics, even if they are lagging, as long as they inform your progress.
  • Two analogies come to mind:
  1. Think of it like a gear system, where each metric is a cog, and they interact to drive progress. It's not about one big cog but many interconnected ones, each influencing the other's speed
  2. Imagine the measures as constellations of connected stars. Bright stars represent significant metrics, while dimmer ones are on the path toward brightness. It's about understanding how these metrics connect and feed into company metrics, even if they are more lagging.

Are metrics that inform goals, goals themselves? 

  • Metrics alone are not goals; they form a chain. The top-level metric informs the goals of the next organisational level, creating a chain of connected metrics. Ensuring these metrics connect is vital for success.
  • However, some metrics, like net promoter scores, can be challenging because they aggregate contributions from various sources, making it unclear who exactly influenced the score. This complexity poses a significant challenge.
  • An example of metrics that inform goals could be in a sales pipeline. In a scenario where revenue is the goal, tracking the progression of potential customers through various sales stages or minimising dropouts (metrics) can provide confidence that it will eventually lead to increased revenue.

What to do if you’re driving the wrong result, and not able to adjust?

  • The right goal should steer certain behaviours, and drive people in the right way. 
  • In the goal-setting world, there is a misconception that when you set objectives they must not be broken. In reality, when you set your goals, you know the least, as you are looking forward and speculating. The agile way to work is that you adjust and you learn, as you go - if you don’t, you can go in the right direction. 
  • Everyone needs to know that it’s okay when things are wrong to feel confident in understanding when things are going wrong and to be empowered enough to vocalise this. By involving people in the goal-setting process, they’re invested in these outcomes and feel confident enough to advocate for them if things are going wrong.  
  • Putting a timeline on this experiment/ set of goals forces the conversation of ‘is this still valid’. Practice recommendation here.
  • No simple rule exists to know when you should persist and when to desist. 
  • Christina Wodkte - If you’re trying OKRs for the first time, you’re going to fail. 
  • The prioritisation system can help (P0, P1-4). When applied correctly it is a great tool to use. If something changes during the cycle, you can course correct and change the priority of your goals to reflect the new context. 
  • Check-ins allow you to stand back from the day-to-day, and view the whole process of your outcomes - easy then to see if you’re moving in the right direction or not. 
  • When you align your outcomes to the results you want, the evidence of the measures needs to be built into the process.

How do you measure success?

  • Teams often use proxy measures to demonstrate their contribution towards strategic goals, which can sometimes present a challenge, as people become more interested in this measurement than the overall goal.
  • Using multiple measures, including proxies or imperfect metrics, offers flexibility and can still signal progress, eliminating the need for one perfect metric.
  • The aim is for every measure to be necessary to achieve your goal, and sufficient to show progress when combined. Grouping these measures can reduce the pressure on finding the one ‘perfect’ metric.
  • This approach is practical because it's easier to obtain various measures rather than investing significant effort in a single, perfect metric. It's a balanced way to track progress without overwhelming ourselves with too many metrics.