KPIs – R is for relevant

It is commonplace for an organization to use the S.M.A.R.T. rule for their KPIs. This rule, in short, states that KPIs should be S.M.A.R.T. – Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound. While this framework definitely provides a good foundation it is rather easy to end up with KPIs that do not achieve the desired results. The reason often is the misinterpretation of the ‘R’. Most people make the R about the enterprise, i.e., KPIs should be relevant to company goals.

What about the individual who has to work with these KPIs? Simply put it is not possible for the KPIs to be adopted across the company if they are not relevant to the individual worker.

At Captain Dash when we counsel our clients on KPIs we focus on aligning individuals to the KPIs by keeping the following factors in mind:

Target Audience

The first thing is to understand who has direct impact on the KPIs of the company. How can a KPI be made relevant when the person who directly affects it remains unidentified?

People Study

The next step is to understand the environment in which the target audience functions. What are the factors that have an effect on their ability to deliver, what motivates them, what are the constraints they function under, what are their personal goals for their work, how do these goals align with the intended KPIs?

Gap Analysis

The last part about goal alignments is extremely important. A misalignment between personal goals and company goals can have a negative effect on KPI selection. Once the goals of all the stakeholders have been identified a gap analysis needs to be performed. This gap analysis serves as a blue print when choosing KPIs that are beneficial to both the stakeholders and the organization.


The last step to selecting relevant KPIs is to make sure that they are actually actionable. KPIs that individuals have no control over serve to do nothing more than add frustration and a feeling of failure, neither of which is good for an organization in the long run. Moreover it is impossible to motivate people with something they have no control over.

Once KPIs have been shortlisted keeping individuals in mind all that needs to be done is discuss these KPIs with the respective people under whose domain they fall and help them align their teams to these KPIs.

So, while there is no ‘R’ in KPIs remember that there are no KPIs without relevancy.

Written By: Meghna Verma