How to Keep Leaders Focused on a Company's Most Important Metrics
Q: How do you pick which metrics are the most important to drive towards and how do you keep leaders aligned on these goals?
A: Picking out what truly is important to the growth of a business or team is a challenge for any leader. It’s also one of the variables that will determine just how far you can go and how fast you will get there.
For us to find our “North stars” in terms of the company, we’ve created a scorecard that shows each specific driver of the business. As a home network, major drivers for us mostly come from monthly unique users, revenue and overall customer satisfaction.
However, there’s a lot of numbers and metrics within each of those drivers. On a monthly basis we evaluate and pick metrics based on the biggest levers of the business that are driving performance and future impact. These levers include, sales, account management, marketing, and customer support. We have no more than seven at once, and we rally the entire company around those metrics.
We’ve gotten good at sprinting towards our chosen metrics when they are in the red and celebrating them consistently when they’re in the green. Beyond that, we create accountability (owners assigned to each metric) as well as transparency (the entire company sees an update on the most important metrics daily or weekly).
In doing this, we are able to make clear, smart selections for which metrics to drive towards as a company and keep ourselves accountable in achieving them together.
Keeping leaders aligned with these metrics
It’s a key part of my job as CEO to not only make sure the company is consistently doing the right things but that my leaders are also continually aligned and working towards a common, long-term goal.
In short, the better your company’s priorities are clearly defined, the more effectively you will be able to align leaders and keep them focused on the most important things.
We’ve architected the organization in a way that optimizes for speed, throughput and accountability when working towards our company-wide prioritizations. Monthly, we evaluate the major priorities (which don’t change as often) and the key results we’re striving too and then the initiatives or small projects. Each initiative is created based on the drivers of the key result and they are stack ranked and debated.
Finally, we form small teams with accountable leaders at the initiative level, which allows us to operate nimbly and move incredibly fast and effectively. I personally focus my one-on-one time with each individual leader to discuss blockers and help clear paths for them and their team to meet their goals, thus driving the business forward.
Matt Ehrlichman is the CEO of Seattle-based Porch.com, the home improvement network. Prior, Ehrlichman was chief strategy officer at Active Network responsible for 85 percent of the P&L. Ehrlichman joined Active in 2007 and helped grow its revenues from $65 million in 2006 to $420 million and a 2011 initial public offering. Before joining Active, Ehrlichman was co-founder and chief executive officer at Thriva, which was acquired by the Active Network in March 2007 for $60 million.