· 3 mins · Manager Community

Manager Mailbag #2: KPIs, interruptions, and a high-performance death spiral

This month, Brennan answers questions about how to set effective KPIs, how to set aside focus time when your constantly interrupted and what to do when your team needs babying.

Avatar of Brennan Brennan

This column is part of the Hypercontext series, Manager Mailbag. Every month, we collect questions from managers about their greatest challenges and share advice on how to tackle them.

If you have your own questions you want to ask anonymously, you can fill out this form. We’d love to hear from you!

In this month’s edition of Manager Mailbag, I share advice on the following:

👉 Watch the full episode here.

Q: How do you identify effective KPIs to get more buy-in and a higher execution rate?

The first step is reframing the question from how do you identify KPIs to how do we identify KPIs. KPIs are something that should be set collaboratively with your team if you want buy-in and, in-turn, a higher execution rate.

Reframing of the question aside, here are 3 tips I’d recommend for setting better KPIs:

  1. Make sure your KPIs are weekly, not monthly. This will give you 52 chances to course correct.
  2. Set leading indicators not lagging indicators. KPIs should be an early indicator of how you’re tracking against your goals. This means you need to identify a metric that makes it clear how you’re doing before it’s too late. I go through examples in the video above.
  3. Up and to the right should be a good thing 📈. This helps make it easy to understand your KPIs even at a quick glance. For example, if sign-ups are up and to the right it’s positive. On the contrary, if churn rate is up and to the right it’s negative (making churn rate a bad KPI).

Q: How do I stop interruptions and set boundaries with my staff?

mmb q2

The easiest way to solve this problem is by batching your interruptions so you can set aside time to focus. What do I mean by batching interruptions? I go into more detail in the video above. Hint: One-on-ones will be your best friend here.

Q: What do you do when your team needs babying?

question 3: what to do when the team need babying
source

If your team’s not meeting your expectations, I think it’s okay to have an honest conversation with them. Not in an accusatory way, but in a way that opens the floor for them to share why there may be a gap in your expectations and their performance.

What it sounds like to me is that your team is experiencing, what I like to call, the high-performance death spiral. I take a closer look at what that means in the video above.


Thanks for sharing your questions with us! If you have challenges you’re dealing with and want advice, we’d love to hear from you.

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