Building a KPI tree

Connecting KPI’s that matter
We have talked about the importance of alignment to a common purpose in Shift, and the first progress accelerator is about how you approach creating such a purpose. If the purpose defines why you are doing what you are and describes what a good outcome looks like, then the role of metrics are there to guide your actions with evidenced milestones that prove your progress. On the basis that you get what you measure, you need to measure those things that really matter – not just any metrics, but metrics that make a real difference.

It sounds easy, but the reality is that most businesses are structured in silos that often prevent the effective measurement of some of the most important performance drivers. There are metrics that just can’t be measured, and so they can’t be tracked, but since no one in the business is accountable for them, they can’t be improved.

When we work with clients to define a set of metrics that really drive value, we use a process through which to build what is a mathematically connected set of KPI’s – called a KPI tree.

It is a tree because it has a root, from which many branches flow, and each branch can go down to a myriad of tiny twigs, depending on the problem the business is trying to solve for.

There is no single way to build out a KPI tree, but there are tips and tricks to ensure that it doesn’t turn into an unmanageable forest, some of which we will touch on this run through. The aim for this accelerator is to be a taster for how you can build a KPI tree that can help you to visualise your business, market or product area through a more methodical, practical and actionable lens than you might be used to.
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    Rich’s take on Az

    Az is from that rare group of people who excel at everything they do, accumulating learnings and experiences along the way, making him one of the most engaging storytellers I have had the pleasure of working with. He has an insatiable curiosity, fuelling a unique ability to balance art and science, and on top of all of this, still be a family man, putting the people in his life first.
    “Dreams are born in our heads, but they are forged in the fire of experience” – Carol Tice
    We have combined our respective strengths on this project, and given Az the freedom to use his superpower – simplifying the complex, which in trying to synthesise ideas and content across such a multifaceted topic has been essential.
    One of my favourite quotes has always been “it’s never crowded on the extra mile” and I have found through this process that Az lives right out there! Never was a hurdle too high, or a time Az wasn’t totally focused on our goal.
    “Together” would be my simple summary of what the journey has been like. We have learned and grown through what has been a fun and fulfilling process, and I hope this is only the first edition!


    Growing up in South Africa and moving to the UK, Rich had a diverse lifestyle which started as a curious young boy who would burn leaves through a magnifying glass at school, to learning discipline and structure through his mandatory service in the army, through to having his supportive family around him today. All of which contribute to the way that Rich thinks, acts and draws on his experiences.
    Rich has some unique talents including an amazing ability to draw (and write) upside down whilst simultaneously explaining something, but I’ve had visibility of his superpower in full flight through our time working on “Shift”: his brain. It works like lightning in a bottle; one spark can set off a series of thoughts that are processed at the speed of light. It’s incredible to watch.
    If I were to reference our pyramid approach in this book and try to describe Rich in three words, they would be (super) smart, humble and empathetic. Individually they are all great traits, but pulling them together, I can only describe as the intersection of genius; and Rich, in my view, is one of the best thought leaders in our industry with an unparalleled passion for helping businesses to turn motion into progress.
    At a time when everyone has had their fair share of ups and downs, writing “Shift” has been one of my favourite memories, and I’ve genuinely enjoyed and feel incredibly honoured to have worked with Rich on this book.