Why You Should Start Small With a New KPI Methodology

by Stacey Barr |

One mistake organisations make in performance measurement is to not have a real KPI methodology. They treat measuring performance as an ad hoc activity or event. But when you do adopt a performance measurement methodology, another mistake is to do too much too soon. Starting small is important for a few reasons…

Rushing into a full implementation of your new performance measurement methodology, without a strong enough performance culture (and how many of us can claim to have that?), is a recipe for failure:

  • You’ll overwhelm people and burn them out.
  • You’ll make mistakes without noticing, and leave them uncorrected.
  • You’ll feel out of your depth and lack confidence when you need it most.
  • You’ll fail to get a measurable return on investment for your measurement approach.

Starting small, just like a pilot test, has some very worthwhile advantages:

Advantage #1: Learn and master first.

Attending a training course doesn’t make anyone a master. You have to implement and practice, fail and learn, before you can say you’ve earned your stripes.

Advantage #2: Prove a return on investment.

If you start with striving for an ROI on your measurement effort with a simple and small pilot implementation, it will be easier to keep that emphasis as you roll out more fully. Otherwise, you’ve just a found a way to waste more resources.

Advantage #3: Handle setbacks more easily

When you give yourself the opportunity to learn in a safe environment – like starting small – there is less consequence if you fail (and you will). So you will have more emotional energy to observe those failures stoically and collect up the learnings into a kit-bag of tips and tricks for when you facilitate others.

Advantage #4: Build real engagement, naturally.

Telling people to be involved in something new rarely builds buy-in. Teaching them, even, isn’t enough to build buy-in. But when you can show them, that’s when you start building buy-in. Believe me, attempting performance measurement without having buy-in first is a tremendously difficult endeavour that rarely works.


Where would you pilot test a new performance measurement methodology? What performance challenge would be an ideal candidate to measure more meaningfully and produce a measurable improvement?

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