This week’s riff: Finney, our beloved cocker spaniel, is an expert environmental scanner. Each morning he will lie on our bed and see what clothes my wife and I put on. If we are wearing business clothes, he realizes that he won’t be going for a long walk for a while and heads off for a little sulk. If, however, we put on jeans or casual clothing, Finney will bounce around the house with his tail wagging: he immediately knows that it’s going to be a good day!

Similarly, if Finney is in our front room and hears the fridge door open he probably won’t move; but the moment he hears someone opening up the packet of ham slices he’s off to the fridge like a shot. What’s more, he can discern the sound of my wife’s car from all the other vehicles passing by, long before it reaches our driveway and will immediately head to the front door to meet, as he’s quite properly realized, the leader of our particular pack!

Most businesses are awash with data, and business leaders are forever being encouraged to add more KPIs to their portfolio of performance measures. Most of it, however, just becomes noise. The key to managing the growth of most businesses is through identifying and focusing on the handful of objectives – and the related measures – that have a disproportionate impact on your business’s performance.

The CEO of one of my clients, for instance, focuses first and foremost on the size of his company’s order book, the percentage of orders delivered ‘on time and in full’ and the value of sales invoices still outstanding. If all three of these are healthy, he believes the company will be successful, but if any drop below his required standards, he uses it as sign to take action.

Likewise, Finney gets by with just a few visual and aural clues to determine his plans and happiness. Which are the few critical objectives and KPIs that you should focus on to drive your organisation’s success?


Off The Record: I Love My Dog by Cat Stevens

I love my dog as much as I love you

But you may fade, my dog will always come through

All he asks from me is the food to give him strength

All he ever needs is love, and that he knows he’ll get


Stuart Cross 2017. All rights reserved.