Rethinking KPIs: Beyond Numbers to Meaningful Engagement

“True achievement is measured not by our leaps,
but by the steadiness of our steps amidst the stumbles.”

At 27, I stepped into a Director role at one of Denver’s largest non-profits, marking a significant milestone in my career. By 29, I was embarking on another personal challenge, training for my first half marathon.

Watching the revenue at my organization increase alongside the miles I logged on my feet increasing each week, it felt like tangible proof of success. However, life took an unexpected turn. An economic downturn led to a decline in our non-profit’s revenue, and simultaneously, a running injury restricted my training. Initially, these setbacks seemed like failures, detours from my path of success measured by conventional KPIs. But what happens when numbers don’t tell the whole story?

In both our professional and personal lives, the traditional numerical interpretation of KPIs—Key Performance Indicators—serve as a benchmark for measuring progress.

Often, we gauge our achievements by the things we accomplish, always aiming for upward trends in our “numbers,” whether they be financial, professional, or personal milestones. This mindset, while valuable in driving progress, can sometimes obscure the full picture of what success truly means. It’s important to recognize that success isn’t solely about hitting targets or witnessing constant growth. A setback or a dip in our expected achievements can be just as valuable, offering lessons and opportunities for growth that steady climbs might not reveal.

If we only focus on these quantifiable aspects, we risk missing out on the qualitative factors that contribute significantly to our overall success. Perhaps it’s time to broaden our perspective, to consider KPIs not only as numerical targets but as guiding principles that reflect our core values and priorities.

Redefining KPI’s

Keep People Informed (KPI)

Information is the essence of any organization or personal endeavor. Keeping stakeholders, team members, and oneself informed is crucial for ensuring everyone is aligned with current objectives, strategies, and challenges. This form of KPI fosters transparency and trust, paving the way for informed decision-making and a cohesive effort towards common goals. When people are well-informed, they’re better equipped to contribute meaningfully and adapt to changes, enhancing overall resilience and agility.

Keep People Involved (KPI)

Engagement and involvement are key drivers of success. By keeping people involved, whether it’s through collaborative projects, decision-making processes, or shared goals, we foster a sense of ownership and commitment that can elevate performance and satisfaction. This approach emphasizes the importance of active participation and engagement, recognizing that the contributions and insights of diverse individuals can lead to innovative solutions and stronger outcomes.

Extending KPIs to Personal Life

The concept of KPIs in not just confined to our professional lives. We are constantly measuring our personal successes although we might not refer to them as our personal KPI’s. Just as in our professional lives, redefining KPIs in our personal lives can help us focus on what truly matters..

Keep Personal Integrity (KPI)

Living in alignment with your values and beliefs is a key indicator of personal integrity. This personal KPI reminds us to stay grounded in our principles and to make choices that reflect our true selves. It encourages us to measure success not just by external achievements but by our fidelity to our own standards and ethics.

Kindle Positive Interactions (KPI)

The quality of our interactions with others significantly impacts our well-being and success. This personal KPI focuses on fostering positive, meaningful connections with family, friends, and colleagues. By prioritizing empathy, respect, and understanding in our interactions, we can build supportive networks that thrive on mutual trust and encouragement.

I think it’s time to expand what KPI means to include qualitative measures like keeping people informed, involved, maintaining personal integrity, and kindling positive interactions invites a more holistic view of success. 

It encourages us to look beyond the numbers and consider the deeper impact of our actions on ourselves, others, and the broader community. By embracing a broader spectrum of KPIs, we can cultivate environments that value continuous learning, inclusivity, and well-being alongside traditional metrics of achievement.

Remember, YOU GOT THIS!



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