Are KRIs and Key Goal Indicators (KGIs) the same thing?

Most likely they are. Indeed some people talk about strategic KPIs and no doubt, we are all on the same wavelength. I prefer result indicators because it makes it very clear to people that they are the result of many activities, but it does not matter what you call them as long as you do not call them KPIs.

You indicate in your book that the CEO has to be the one driving the KPI buy in and the eventual follow-up. Is there a reason why the person driving the KPI’s can’t be another member of the senior executive team?

A CEO, if they are not fully behind the KPI project, will undermine it by; taking resources from the KPI team, or diluting the concentration on the KPI implementation through other diversions. A good way to get the CEO on board is to sell the KPIs using the CEO’s emotional drivers.

Would you agree that KPIs are tactical in nature and performance indicators would be strategic in nature?

If by tactical, you mean able to be pinned down by an individual or team, monitored daily, etc, then yes I do agree with you. Performance indicators and result indicators can be monitored daily, and therefore one could include these as tactical such as yesterday’s sales, and weekly sales to key customers.

Doesn’t only measuring key customers’ satisfaction ignore the damage a dissatisfied small customer can do to your reputation by telling others about the bad experience?

Do we want all customers to be satisfied equally? I would suggest to you the answer is ‘no’. Why? Because we have a core group of customers that are critical to our business and we want our staff to be focused on them. If we have somebody in dispatch we want them to single out all the priority or key customers’ dispatches and make sure these are dispatched first and that these are double checked, maybe with some special quality assurance procedures so that nothing will go wrong with their delivery. What we want to do is find out what makes our key customers happy. It might be something simple like, key customers like to have delivery ‘in-full on time’. Meaning that they want what they ordered, to the quality they expect, at the agreed time. Once we do that, they are happy. If this is the case we start measuring that as it will be their major satisfaction driver.

If you treat all customers as equal, you certainly miss treating those important customers in a way in which they expect to be treated. Harry Mills in a brilliant book, called “Rain Maker”, talks about DROP, breaking your clients down into diamonds ( the top 5-15 customers), rubies, opals, and pearls (those you can live  without).  Treating all customers the same will lead to major mistakes.

Some or all of the ‘pearls’ will not be profitable customers, they want uneconomic quantities, products that maybe are obsolete, they may quibble about payment, and are never happy.  Doing a satisfaction survey of this group is not only expensive but the results will skew satisfaction results and may lead to inappropriate action.  These customers may never be satisfied.  Do your self a favour and pass them on to your competition.  They deserve each other.

Imagine a dispatch supervisor with 100 deliveries, 98 easy ones and 2 large ones to key customers.  If the supervisor is measured on all dispatches they will do the 98 easy ones first and may miss the deadline of the two important ones.  If, on the other hand we measure only the dispatches to key customers the dispatch team will do those deliveries before the morning break and juggles the rest as best they can.  If we communicated the ‘DROP’ to the dispatch team they could then priories the deliveries. Missing the deadlines for ‘Pearl’ customers is not a problem.  In fact we should have given a large lead time for delivery to these customers as we have other higher priority customers.

Do you believe that certain corporate cultures are more metric driven than others? How do you change an organization that doesn’t care about metrics?

The key is the chief executive. If they are not interested, then there is little hope in success. It is my belief that for many chief executives, it is just a matter of selling KPIs to them by their emotional drivers to switch them on. If you have done this properly, most CEOs will be motivated by the project. To fully understand this, listen to my webcast on

Do you have any pointers to offer to government organizations who are inherently bureaucratic and have many measures – most if not all are not KPIs per your definition?

According to my 10/80/10 rule, most measures will not be KPIs they would be performance indicators. The issue is we need to revisit what we have done in the past with performance indicators. In the public sector, management have been aware of the importance of measures, but unfortunately, have followed the wrong pathway. For my full answer, listen to the webcast on

Do you agree on using the 24/7 KPI’s as alarm triggers?

It is certainly a call to action, so in that sense I agree with you.

Can you give some specific KPI’s in each business area for e.g. Finance (GL, AR, AP, FA, Collections), Operations, Sales, HR, Call center application etc?

There will be few KPIs in head office operations. In other words, it is sad to say that we are not critical to day-to-day operations, other than of course, our systems being in operation. If we only have 10 KPIs in an organization, the remainder are RIs and PIs, which the accounting team will have a number of.

What are the top three risk factors that might make a brand new KPI set to fail?

Firstly, not having the senior management team switched on in the first place, especially the CEO. Secondly, Inadequate work done on the CSFs. Thirdly an organization that does not finish what it starts, an epidemic that is sweeping commerce today. In fact, a CSF for many organizations, “we finish what we start”. Imagine if that was on the walls of every Project Management team, department, and group.

What is the correct time to implement, ‘Implementing Winning KPIs’?

The best time is when you have a 16-week window. I explain more on why 16 weeks is appropriate in my book and how to go about this .

Who should run the BSC project?

Because accountants have limited technical interests and because of technical jealousies I suggest economists be used to develop and use KPIs. They have the advantage of training in forecasting and some background often in accounting. They are not used but represent a great potential. They are also likely to be objective.

I believe the finance team, HR, IT, economists, etc, all could participate in the project team, and be the team to monitor this on an ongoing basis. It all depends on the skill level of the individuals.

Are there large companies you have converted successfully to your method from an already implemented Harvard BSC?

My work has been out there for over 5 years. I know organizations are using it from the calls I get. I was asked once to fly to Melbourne to visit a company that was three-quarters of the way in implementing my concepts. I no longer do project consultancy, as it is not my strength. My focus is to sell the vision and offer a practical way forward in which in-house teams can be empowered to operate. My role now is as a mentor and facilitator and I seek to work with other facilitators who will become certified and able to access all my intellectual property. See

Should the use of KPIs be an exercise across all levels of the organization and, if so, should the entire organization be focused ONLY on the KPIs of the total organisation, or should various organization levels be focused on their OWN respective KPIs, which in turn feed into those of the full organization?

In an organization that is in one main sector, the KPIs will be for the whole organization. E.g., the late plane KPI is one a number of teams will be monitoring. However, it is unlikely to be on the scorecard for

Finance, HR and IT because they will not be responsible for late planes.



Where should we trap KPIs –is it in an Enterprise Data Warehouse or in a dedicated system?

An operational system, with wide access, which links to data already trapped and which has a linkage to the intranet is critical for the monitoring of daily/weekly KPIs. Airlines will know up to the minute, which planes are late and by how long. And this data will be available to all staff including key suppliers so that late planes can be brought back on time.

What technique do you recommend if it is highly unlikely or not feasible to get senior management together for the workshops?

Don’t start the project. You need to do more selling. When they understand what you are talking about, they will want to be there.

How relevant is the size of the organisation for the implementation of a project of this nature – it may be much easier to implement it in a company of 500 staff but what about a company which encompasses 30,000 staff?

Most certainly a 30,000 staff member organisation is an enormous project. However, through piloting the process, in two or three of your faster and agile businesses, you will have created a no win situation for the business units who do not want to adopt this methodology. In essence, a 30,000 employee organisation will be made of a number of Balanced Scorecard initiatives, each one to be done in the 16 weeks.

What do we do with our existing KPIs?

Most of your KPIs just need to be reclassified, some will be PIs,RIs, and some will be KRIs. Please read  chapter 1 in my KPI book.

How do you distinguish a KPI from a metric, do you have a rule of thumb?

Please look at my earlier work on the 7 characteristics of KPIs.

Who should be in the KPI team?

The KPI team should be a mix of individuals who have a broad skill base. I refer you to the team checklist I have in the book, see chapter 4. It is desirable to have someone from HR, Finance,Operations, other parties should be IT, Planning, Operations Research. All of these individuals must be able to facilitate a one day workshop and be above average communicators. This project team is no place for a person who hides behind emails.

If due to factors beyond your control, monthly is the most frequent you can measure KPIs, do you have any advice on how to still create a meaningful KPI given this limitation?

There isn’t a meaningful KPI on a monthly basis. They are performance indicators and result indicators. They will be of interest, but will never change anything. All organisations can measure performance during the month. If management doesn’t think its possible, maybe they are a bit tired and need replacing.

We’re part-way through a long implementation which isn’t working. What actions should we take?

First Step – Take the SMT for a 1/2 day session and re look at the CSF, the way the project started, the gaps in between what I say you should be doing what you are currently doing. On reflection, you might say, “I think we have a weakness here” I think it is important that you address these weaknesses during the session and it might be that you freeze the project for a couple months to change the involvement of the team. Perhaps get an external facilitator, etc.

Our BSC needs revitalising. Do we need to start over from scratch?

Certainly Not.

As I’ve said, you’ll never get it 100% right. The BSC is a sculpture that we are making. It is important that if you want to revitalise it, you are happy with the work done on determining the CSFs. In many cases the CSFs hasn’t been determined at all. Then you should reflect back on your scorecards to find areas of our CSFs that have not been measured properly. Then just add appropriate measures in. We then need to look at those measures that are not tied into the CSFs. Do we need to measure these? Are we measuring them appropriately? Many existing measures will need to be removed/refined.

As a new employee (Director level) can I be considered this external facilitator? I am implementing the BSC for IT.

A BSC for the IT team should be done after the organisation has rediscovered its CSFs. In other words, an exercise where the 40 or so success factors which are known by all of the SMT, are sorted into a hierarchy with the 5 to 8 top ones being the CSFs. The process of doing the team scorecard is quite straight forward, and there is one available in my KPI book. You can acquire this and other electronic templates from my website. An external facilitator would be required for the CSF workshop. Your assistance with the team scorecards would be most appropriate.

Why do you use 6 perspectives, when Kaplan and Norton only mention 4 in his books?

Kaplan and Norton in their first book did mention the possibility of increasing the BSC from 4 perspectives. They said that you may wish to separate out employee satisfaction. In their recent work, they talk a lot about environment and community and its importance. This last perspective is about being an employee of choice as well as creating positive recognition amongst the community and staff through implementing successful green initiatives. In other words, I am sure Kaplan and Norton had they written their 1st book in 2008, would have expanded from the 4 perspectives. Thus we are singing from the same song sheet. I see my word as underpinning the scorecard philosophy and helping make more scorecards become successful.

How important are external benchmarks when it comes to measuring and understanding employee satisfaction?

Don’t need external benchmarks to find out what is annoying the employees. Its best to find those out and then fix the major issues raised. This is all internal, you don’t need to compare to anything external. Entering into ‘employer of choice’ awards can be a good thing if you are sure of your ground!

To clarify, should the consultant be working with the SMT to define the CSFs, or develop them with other folks and present them to the SMT?

It is very important that the SMT attends the two day CSF workshop. They have to be at the birthplace of the CSFs. They may not all be there, but its good to get as many as possible. This is where the external facilitator (consultant) is very heavily involved. The consultant facilities the workshop as this gets everyone to participate and involved because they can get around organisational politics.

What are the qualifications for a good facilitator and how/where do you find one?

Certainly what we want is someone who has implemented a balanced scorecard themselves. Whether theirs worked or not is not that important, it is the mistakes they’ve made and learned from, as well as having a bit of experience. I wouldn’t be interested in someone who hasn’t made those big calls. I’d want someone from industry, as someone right out of university just hasn’t had enough experience yet.

I’d suggest you look around online and look for companies that have the experience. But don’t stop there, try and find the individuals within those companies that have been a part of a BSC implementation. Once meeting them, you’ll know if they are right for you or not.

In a family business, should family members be excluded from the KPI project team to prevent bias?

Certainly not. Provided that they can be full time on the project and have the requisite skills. I have set out a checklist in the book for outlining of the characteristics of the team members.

Is there a tool-set (templates etc.) that you would recommend to look at for a start of the implementation?

I have spent 7 years refining a toolset that was originally developed under the sponsorship of Ausindustry (a government department). I hope that the book and associated electronic media I have made available will assist. There are templates and a database of performance measures available for purchase on my website for .

In what key ways do you see sustainability reporting and the BSC approach as complementary tools?

Sustainability reporting fits neatly in the environmental and community perspective. Thus I believe it should be a part of the BSC instead of another report. Management don’t have the time to be reading myriads of reports.

What case studies available for non-profit or academic organisations?

There are many scorecards around the world in your sector. I suggest you use the search string “balanced scorecard not for profit case study”. My work simply helps organisations make implementing a BSC more effective. As my organisation is not a consulting machine, i am blissfully unaware of all the change that is happening. While I’d love to hear about every success story, I am often the last to find out about the celebration. However this should not deterred you from viewing what I’m saying your in-depth knowledge of your organisation and your own developed pragmatic sense from seeing the simplicity of what I am putting forward.