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How do I improve my meetings with KPIs and OKRs?

According to the Harvard Business Review survey of senior managers from various industries: 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work. 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking. 90% of people report daydreaming in meetings, and 73% admit using meeting time to do other work.

The idea of utilizing KPIs and OKRs to improve your meetings seem completely counterintuitive. “You want me to add charts and numbers to liven up my meetings?”

The reason meetings are so dreadful is because the information being shared is not important or relevant to the parties in the room and the time spent on each topic is mind-numbing. No wonder 90% of people daydream. They are dreaming of another job!

Alan Mulally, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company, and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes prior to that, outlines his recipe to success utilizing a stoplight chart on his critical items. Simply put, he would ask each of his executive team to provide a weekly update by identifying each of their critical KPIs and OKRs as red, green, or yellow. They would focus on the red items, while the team would listen for what was needed to help them move forward.

A best practice is for each member of the team to provide an update on their KPIs and OKRs that are stuck or red. The rest of the team is to understand how this item might impact the business and to help where possible to move the initiative forward. This is not a time to solve the problem, but simply an update on the progress. Subsequent meetings might be necessary to move the program forward. Each member has a very specific time to provide an update. They discuss the items in red first. If they have time, they review items identified as yellow. They never discuss the items in green unless it is simply to recognize a change from a red or yellow to green.

Mr. Mullaly's team members would have two colored dots for each item, one for the previous period and a second for this period, to visually show the change from one period to the next. As most people are visual, this is a quick way to understand the status of each area of the business.

This strategy works well for all areas of the business. It is simple, efficient, and effective. All members of the team are engaged in the process, and it can be a relatively quick process to understand the status of the business and key areas of focus. This approach works great in every size company from startups to the Ford Motor Company.

Here is a free comprehensive list of KPIs to consider for each department to help get you started.

Dale Robinette will be leading a Scaling Up Accelerator next quarter This is a one year accelerated program for up to 5 executive teams that want to lean in and scale their business. We will be addressing the four disciplines of business including, People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash with four quarterly offsites. For more information, please check out San Diego Accelerator.

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