The correct way to build KPI

A short overview from our Account on how KPI should function

I have taken a week off from my office, packed up and headed to Dalat for a full-week meditation retreat. This method has been my sweet escape for the past 4 years, get-away from the chaotic pop-ups, notifications, messages, deadlines from work and normal life, to find the right balance for my energy and my mind as well. Yes, even meditation facilitators need their time to recover and enhance their vibes too.

During the retreat, we have daily dharma talks on various topics. This time we focus on the topic of Energy and explore different meanings and perspectives on the concept of energy. While we were talking and identifying the positive and negative elements/perspectives/topics within our daily life & activities, one of our meditators asked: "Is KPI a positive or negative element in our life? If it's a negative element, how should we perceive KPI from now on? How can we protect our positive minds from the negativity of the KPI?"

This is absolutely one of those brilliant questions that have been on my mind all the time. We always talk about being positive in daily life, release stress, take everything slow; but in reality, especially in a business world, having a meditative life style does not always match up with the nature of the work itself. The business world is always filled with tensions, conflicts and fears. It is not good nor bad. That is the nature of the business world. On top of that, KPI usually is created, discussed and settled between the top-level and middle managements, which then will get to pass-down to lower level management & employees as announcements. Not that many time a regular employee can get to suggest, negotiate and voice-up what he or she believes is the correct and reasonable KPI for his or her position. Usually, the act of accepting KPI, in many companies and big corporations, is a passive or one-way set of action.

In the end, in that particular dharma talk, we were able to settle with these qualifications that we all agreed that true KPI should have, that are:

  1. True KPI is settled by all 3 levels of management: Top, Middle and First
  2. True KPI should be an approved mutual interest across all members in the company
  3. True KPI should be a positive, fun and interesting challenge, not a mean to create stresses.

Evidently, we were in a meditation retreat, therefore we can only confine and agree to a major common ground. Otherwise, our daily discussion panel will become a session in an MBA course. Hence, it does not reflect every important aspect that one should seriously pay-attention, when it comes to construct suitable KPI for the organization. However, we were happy to agree that without clear and direct communication across the organization, KPI usually is perceived with frustration, anger, and dissatisfaction, instead of looking at it as achievable challenges.

Obviously, good businesses will associate with competitions, and in order to win competitions, one must embrace through all the stresses and pressures, just like the old saying “no pressure, no diamonds”; but truthfully, when everything is within expectations, it is easier for one to accept and to conquer. Furthermore, we also believe that if we can somehow intertwine our mindfulness practices into our businesses, perhaps our employees then may no longer see their KPIs as monstrous threats to their positions.

In the end, it is all about communication, conveying/delivering the right messages with a mindful approach. Without having and making your employees feel truly happy, satisfied and justified, I do believe that particular business cannot operate sustainably.

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