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Why KPIs Should Be Obsolete

leave toxic jobs tips for managers May 10, 2019

Managers Take Their Stress Out on Employees

A manager came to us struggling with a peculiar situation: he found out his employees were trashing him behind his back. It turned out that morale started getting very low and toxic after he had yelled at them for not achieving their deadlines on time. He had been under a lot of stress to meet KPIs -- so he would explode in rage to his employees.

This is not an uncommon scenario. People can be scarred by managers' anger, stress and rage taken out on them. Most of the time, the employee's intentions were very good, they gave it their all, yet they were punished. And work was never the same. That's when the environment started to get toxic, not just for the person who bore the brunt of managerial anger, but for everyone.

Maya Angelou said:

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."


KPIs Are Goals. People Are Greater Than Goals.

KPIs are inherently goals. And it's great to have goals, and measurements because what gets measured gets managed, right? Yes, absolutely. It becomes dicey when people are involved though: Goals are fulfilled by devising a strategy and employing resources to meet it. If you are a manager, that means your employees are your resources. That's why so many managers use their people as assets to meet a goal, like a piece of paper or pen. And that's why so many managers push their people to meet their KPIs. And even if you are not a manager, meeting your personal KPIs come at the expense of creating a good product from the heart, and doing what's best. Instead of focusing on the customer, you are focusing on the numbers. It's an endless cycle of stress.

Human beings are not tools to achieve a goal. They have their own minds, dreams, and experiences. Human beings are made to be their best version and to serve others and themselves. To leave a legacy.


KPIs Destroy Culture & Profitability

The stress from KPIs destroys a good culture. Think about it: If we want a culture that promotes camaraderie, collaboration rather than competition, servant leaders rather than bullies, connection, contribution, generosity... then pressure to meet KPIs are not aligned with that. The old system must be disrupted.

What if we eliminated KPIs? What if the only KPI we ever had was just to add massive value to our clients, customers, stakeholders, and fellow co-workers?

I said before that what gets measured get managed. What if all we ever had to measure was our operating cash flow increasing and staying positive, and the bottom line increasing at a sustainable rate? If you just focus on adding massive value to your clients and colleagues, there is no way you won't be profitable, all things being equal.

The secret to making money is simple: FOWTW, GAGI, GITT.

Find out what they want, go and get it, give it to them. This has nothing to do with KPIs, but it is congruent to a collaborative, growth-oriented and empowering culture.

What is your opinion on KPIs? Do they make you more or less stressed at work? What's a better way to measure what needs to be measured? Share your experiences in the comments below.




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