Home Articles Creating a new colour palette of business KPI’s – transactional and human

Creating a new colour palette of business KPI’s – transactional and human


The greatest masterpieces were once only pigments on a palette – Henry S. Haskins

I’ve always been intrigued by the range of colours you can make by mixing together just a few colours of paint. In the photo above, there is a rainbow of colours on the brush formed from just four paint colours: green, yellow, red, and blue.

It’s hard to imagine that so many possibilities can come from so few inputs.

What if we looked at our learnings from COVID in the same way and applied these to our future measures of business success? How would the future state of measuring success benefit from taking pigments from our legacy transactional measures and combine them with the recently discovered pigments emanating from the introduction of the very human behavioural actions last three months?

Imagine the power of bringing together the transactional measures with the recently discovered human measures? Could a few new inputs combined with some useful old ones totally change the way your business was viewed by your employees, clients and shareholders?  

Each learning could be a separate pigment on a palette that we now have the chance to combine and create a new business masterpiece with.

Keep the colours that will have served you well to monitor the financial health of the business and add in some new colours to brighten up the canvas and motivate the humans in your business to understand the importance of both “being” and “doing” in creating sustainable success.

The new definition of business success

So, what are some of the new colours in the form of behaviours that have appeared that we could add to the legacy? The colours that are more related to how we choose to be or what I refer to as Humannovation. The colours in the form of behaviours that have demonstrated how important they are in times of a crisis. Here’s a list of them to consider:

  • Building Deeper Human Connection
  • Creating a Strong Sense of Belonging to Team or “Tribe”
  • Giving and Receiving Thanks
  • Giving and Receiving Help
  • Showing Care
  • Having Fun
  • Practising Curiosity
  • Developing Resilience

Just as art can be interpreted in many ways, so to must we interpret in the new working world, what really needs to be measured and what we need to be happy to simply increase our awareness of.

These more human elements are not for a KPI sheet, but rather their beauty will be found in the eye of the beholder. It will come from an observation of a behaviour, a way of being if you like. We must not continue to carry the absurdity that it’s not useful if we cannot capture a data point on a KPI sheet.

You see I’m a believer as someone who has experimented with creating a more human canvas that the act of “being” creates more productive and efficient “doing” in a workplace. We are after all human beings not human doings.

Why being human is the core of organisation

Being aware of the importance of being more deeply connected, thankful, helpful, curious, caring, resilient and joyful gives we humans a shot of oxytocin, and as a result of this research has proven that it helps to form trust between individuals, teams and across organisations.

Once we form a strong level of trust then the masterpiece is underway, and our canvas will come to life once we add the colours that served us well prior to the COVID pandemic.

These are the “doing” colours and can include measures such as:

  • Face to face client visits
  • Projects delivered on time and budget
  • Performance Reviews
  • On Time Delivery of Product
  • Service Standards Met
  • Cost of Goods

These “doing” activities when combined with a heightened awareness of “being” or how we show up will improve as employees feel more engaged and discretionary effort is tapped into.

This is very much like the employee becoming an inspired artist ready to master its craft and produce work at a level not seen when there were less colours to choose from on the palette.

The “doing” activities will keep the traditionalists happy as they can be measured and when combined with the “being” activities will meet if not exceed targets over time. 

Before you get caught up in rolling out the old canvas of well-worn and at worst tired measurement based KPI’s, how about starting with a blank canvas and pigments that represent both the technical and human (behavioural) measures of success?

Once you take this pathway you have opened up a whole new range of possibilities to colour your canvas and produce a workplace that becomes a masterpiece of sustainable business success.

Will you put #beingbeforedoing and practice Humannovation?

It’s time to unleash the artist in you.

What are you waiting for?

Mark LeBusque is a Harvard-trained consultant, author and Founder & Director of The Human Manager 

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