Strategic KPIs & Leadership – A Chat with Mike Butler
Keywords – Strategic KPIs – Mike Butler
A former Navy man, Mike has been active in the recruitment and leadership development sector for the last 30 years. Here are our takeaway points from the discussion.
1. Place the Right KPIs
Mike believes that results are not everything. And, it is more important to have meaningful KPIs in place.
For example, if the goal is to reach 10k revenue a month, the KPIs should be around what needs to be done to achieve the goal, instead of the achievement itself. In other words, it is about digging deeper into the goals and have a defined breakdown of tasks.
We have the example of Google here.
Google has calculated that while their employees are waiting for lunch, the company, as a whole, is losing on potential revenue. But, in order to solve the problem, they did not just make the meals free.
Google did their research and figured out the best lunches to improve productivity. By doing so, they have minimised the possibility of negative emotions even further.
2. Placement of Leadership
Mike believes that the notion of leading from the front is taken too literally today.
Therefore, he states that the better leaders lead from behind.
More specifically, good leaders get people better than them in their given roles, instead of being the face of everything good about a company.
A leader’s role is to provide the appropriate coaching to improve and influence people. He breaks down this idea into three forms:
- Telling what needs to be done – This should be the least used form of leadership. When needed, a telling strategy is appropriate for quick actions only.
- Asking the team – A leader must take into account the expertise of the whole team. Finally, the decision should be based on this collective wisdom, even if coming from the leader themselves.
- Flexible Decision Making – In Navy, individuals are taught to make their own decisions while the strategy is provided from the senior staff. By doing so, the leaders provide room for flexibility, adjustment, and change when needed. As a result, the decisions are based on evidence, instead of mere theory.
Good leaders make big decisions when it matters the most. The rest of the story is circumstantial.
3. Chemistry is More Important than Big Individuals
Businesses tend to focus more on trying to attract the best talent.
But, Mike believes that gelling together is more important than individual skills for businesses.
A good example here is the Manchester United case. Paul Pogba on his own can’t do enough to pull the whole team together.
Even further, leaders must recruit on the basis of the right attitude. On the other hand, skills can always be taught.
4. Good Leaders Follow
This might sound against your whole idea of leadership. But, good leaders know how to follow.
Let’s clarify a bit more.
Each organisation has a set of processes. And, for the smooth working of an organisation, these processes need to be followed by everyone. Even the leaders.
A successful company might look relaxed and cool on the front. But, deep down, they are heavily regimented. Again, an example here is Google.
When down to it, good leadership is about consistency and composure.
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