Running a business is never easy. Not only are you charged with the responsibility of solving a unique problem for your customers, but keeping every member of your team on the same page and in rhythm doesn’t just magically happen. It takes consistency, grit, and attention to detail in order to operate smoothly as a business.
Creating and establishing communication methods as a leadership team is a good place to start. If your leadership team understands what’s working, what’s not, and can implement a structure to manage constant change, then they can then share what they know with others on their respective teams. This article will examine how leadership teams can share and discuss business metrics as a team to promote future growth.
Agree On What Matters
Before anything else occurs, your leadership team should sit down and come to a consensus on what the most important metrics are to the business. Whether you are an established brand or a newly founded startup, it can be easy to make a blanket statement and say you’re going to track everything. Rather than lose yourself completely in metrics, KPIs, and spreadsheets, consider shifting your mindset. Ask yourself: What outcomes are we seeking as an organization?
Once you’ve defined the outcomes you want to achieve as a business, it will be easier to come to an agreement on the metrics that are most important to track. If your team is using a goal setting framework such as OKRs, it should be easy to denote what the most important metrics are for your team as they should be the Key Results you’ve listed out. Typically, the outcomes you’ve defined as a business will fall to a certain individual role. This individual should be held accountable to hitting the metric you’ve defined as critical to the business.
Define the Metric as a TEAM
Agreeing on what metric(s) matters most is step one, but there are still a few more steps that need to be taken before discussing the actual meeting that takes place. Once you know what metrics are most important to your business, define and set in stone how these metrics are calculated and tracked.
For some metrics, this may be easier to do than others. For more complex numbers you might be tracking, such as Average Contract Value (ACV) or Lifetime Value (LTV), these numbers are determined by a calculation. If your team isn’t working from the same data set, it can easily be misconstrued and your team will spend valuable time arguing over whose right, versus actually solving a problem related to the business.
Creating a single source of truth for data that acts as your team’s North Star can eliminate wasting time arguing over whose calculation is right. Developing this consistent approach can be relatively easy. If your team is working from different data sets, consider taking a look at Elate. You can set-up custom dashboards that include key metrics across tools like Salesforce, Hubspot, JIRA and others all in one place. Working off of the same data matters and can help ensure alignment as an organization. For more, check out our Operations Platform.
Setting a standard or benchmark for performance should be the next piece of the puzzle for your leadership team. Relying on historical data and comparing yourself to how your business performed in months or years past can be an impactful way to set the bar for your business. Not only that, but you’ll be able to use historical data to understand the natural ebbs and flows that every business faces.
No historical data to rely on? No problem. By doing a little bit of research centered around what is normal for companies in your industry and the specific metric you’re looking to track, you should be able to find a few numbers that help you understand if your business is on par with others. Need more? Consider reaching out to our team. Chances are, we’ve worked with a similar sized company that’s on your growth path and we can help you identify if you’re on the mark.
You need to start somewhere if your team hopes to eventually have a historical look into prior year performance. Don't wait until it's too cumbersome to begin capturing your own data.
Do Your Prep Beforehand
Before we’re ready to talk about the actual meeting, let’s first talk about the preparation. Making sure that your team is working off of the most up to date information is critical. You don’t want to walk into a meeting where you're making decisions on data that’s irrelevant.
Setting a standard with the rest of your leadership team for when metrics should be updated can be a great start. It’s not enough to simply rely on pulling the numbers together right before the meeting either. There is a good chance that one of the metrics you are tracking directly impacts another department or team. For instance, if you’re the sales leader and you know two large prospects are about to sign-up, this will impact projections the finance team is trying to make.
In addition to setting a time for when metrics should be updated, consider sending out an agreed upon agenda BEFORE the meeting. This will prevent time being wasted on discussions that aren’t as impactful to the business as others. Having a software put in place where leadership team members can add topics of discussion, ranked by priority can elevate your meetings.
Stop Light Mentality - Red / Yellow / Green
With all the work done beforehand, it’s time to discuss a few helpful tips to include during the actual meeting that will help propel your leadership team forward. If you’re tracking important metrics and have set a goal for performance, understanding whether or not your team is on track or off track toward the goal is critical. Knowing this will help you allocate valuable resources where they are needed most.
A common method of tracking metrics that will likely resonate with your team is to associate one of three colors to the metric for your team. Green can be used to define a metric that’s on pace. Yellow can be used to define a metric that’s at risk. And red can be used to define a metric that’s behind.
If you’re constantly having a discussion about a certain metric that is regularly behind on the goal you set, consider either adjusting the goal or moving away from making the metric important altogether. Priorities for a business can rapidly change and there’s a good chance the metric simply isn’t relevant anymore. Don’t waste your time focusing on something that isn’t as valuable to your business.
Collaborate and Problem Solve
Last, and potentially most important, use the time together as a leadership team to discuss issues and problem solve together. There’s a strong likelihood that others have faced similar challenges to what might be blocking your path forward. The collective brain power of those you’ve surrounded yourself with on your team is a strength you should lean on.
Even if an individual is in a different department or area of the business, they should have a strong understanding of the unique challenge you are trying to solve. Being open to sharing your problem with others around the table (or Zoom room) will create the possibility for a solution you may have not considered. Sometimes, all a problem takes is a fresh pair of eyes.
Boom- You’re Done!
Woohoo! You reached the end of the road and you not only have one, but six new ideas to make your leadership team meetings operate more effectively.
Craving more? Not sure how to go about implementing some of these practices? Let’s chat, Our team is here to help.