Setting Ambitious Yet Achievable KPI's for 2021
It goes without saying that 2020 has been an extraordinary and unprecedented year for us all. Cleverer and better informed people than me will no doubt review 2020 over the coming days so this blog is not going to be doing that.
Instead I want to look forward to 2021 and ask the difficult question – how do we go about planning for next year whilst the uncertainty seems nowhere near ending?
Of course as businesses, in many ways uncertainty is our bread and butter. If we had certainty about everything well then we wouldn’t need entrepreneurship at all – there would be no need for risk taking, indeed there would be no risk!
So to boil it down all we really have to face is a slightly more extreme version of the same thing we deal with every day. Yes some of the old certainties will have changed, moved or even ceased to exist but fundamentally planning for the unforeseen, the unforeseeable and the downright unpleasant is what we do. It’s what separates those of us who start up a business from those that don’t.
And yes the economy will not be left in the best shape when things do eventually return to some sort of normality – but plenty of businesses thrive in difficult times (just as plenty fail in good times). Those that succeed will all have one common theme – instead of focussing on things that they can’t control like the global economy, they turn their attention to managing and controlling the areas that are within their ability to control and making sure that those areas of the business function as best they can.
I have thankfully never been to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting but I am aware that they usually start with the so-called serenity prayer – reminding themselves to accept the things they cannot change, have the courage to change the things they can and the wisdom to know the difference. We are all going to need a little of that wisdom in 2021.
And if as Einstein famously said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results then presumably the wise thing to do is to continue doing precisely all of the same things you have done before that have worked and helped make you successful.
That means starting 2021 with some clearly defined, well thought out, challenging but achievable targets. Not just any targets but targets that are based around Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). A KPI is not just any old target – it is one that is fundamental to the underlying performance of the business – if a KPI is positive then likely the business has something positive going on and of course equally the opposite is true.
One of the things that may well have changed in these extraordinary times is the nature of the KPIs you should be using to monitor your business. What might have been a KPI pre-Covid may or may not still be fundamental, may or may not still be within your control and may or may not still be measurable. If they have ceased to be any of those things then they can no longer qualify as a KPI.
That means starting with a quick review of the data you capture, monitor and report as a means of defining your success. If those still fit the bill then use them as the basis of your targets for 2021. If it seems they are no longer as relevant for whatever reason, change them and define new KPIs to set targets.
Use the break well – think about those KPIs and what is achievable in the coming year. Set the targets and spend the coming months with a laser focus on achieving those, adapting when things do not go to plan and constantly reviewing the business against those KPIs you have set for yourself. If you do that likely all will be well and the future will be bright.
Nevertheless as we move into the festive season, whatever else you spend the time doing - I hope you have a merry Christmas, a well earned break and a much better 2021.
If you could do with our support planning your KPI's for the new year, please get in touch with us today.