1st Executive Blog

06 Feb Banks, KPIs and Avoiding Disaster

I didn't think I'd be writing about the Australian banking industry Royal Commission. I'm not in finance and so will be affected, for better or for worse by the outcomes just like any other financial services consumer or business customer when the outcomes wash through the system.

But then I heard something, a throw away line in an interview or piece of commentary that blew me way!

It went along the lines of how incentives and KPIs on revenue and profit contributed to individual greed that the corporate beneficiary turned a blind eye to. WOW! If we had written KPIs for banks that were followed - none of this would have been necessary. Big claim huh?

Don't see your brand blown away by bad KPIs

The thing is, we have been writing high performance KPIs that deliver exceptional value to individuals and organisations without any risk of damaging the brand, the customer or of sailing too close to the legal and regulatory winds for years.

Talk about HR failing the corporate strategy test - whether HR was in the hands of HR professionals or line managers is irrelevant - here's why.

KPIs can and should be written that drive business performance but also protect the business against the temptation of poor behaviour. We have been able to advise CEO's that bonuses must not be paid, because ignoring part of the KPI has contributed to unplanned pressure on manufacturing, or distribution, or other customers, or funding - the list goes on. It is staggering that some of our largest listed businesses did not have the knowledge or available talent to do this - it's not difficult. but it does need to be thorough.

There's a formula, a recipe, and many readers that are, or have been clients of ours, know about. I can tell you too that SMART (or variances of) is a useful check for objectives or KPIs but it doesn't cut it as a formula - not at all. This is another reason for businesses to review the intellectual property behind their performance management systems, to create growth that will be sustained while BUILDING brands and reputations. Let's hope they learn, our customers have already.