Every organization measures their performance in some way. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are common business metrics that determine how effectively an organization is performing against business objectives established to support the mission and strategies of a company.

The selection of KPIs varies by business and industry. In larger organizations, individual departments will use KPIs to measure their level of progress against specific objectives for sales, customer service, manufacturing costs, marketing and customer acquisition costs, employee satisfaction, and more.

For most leaders of small and large companies, there are specific targets that must be met for the organization to grow and be profitable. Executives understand that these KPIs are “a must achieve” for the success of their companies and all who are  involved with them. Hear from local companies on how they measure their performance.



Becky Hansard

Head of School, Silverdale Baptist Academy

How are KPIs established within your company?
Our strategic plan helps to determine our KPIs along with our accrediting agencies and the state of Tennessee. Parent and student surveys also help establish our KPIs.

What process do you follow for establishing KPIs?
The process used for establishing KPIs includes evaluating local, national, and international trends in private education. Surveys completed by our constituents are also considered in the process. Round table discussions follow that include a sampling of all constituents asking for their opinion from their unique perspective in the organization.

When does the process for establishing KPIs take place?
For the key administrators, the process takes place yearly through the submission of their strategic plans for their particular school and the particular departments within their schools. For the community proper, this process takes place every three years.

Which KPIs do you watch most closely?
Academia and Finances are the KPIs that I watch most closely. I watch Academia most closely because it is imperative that the students get the quality of education that they deserve. At SBA, teachers are reminded every day that they only have 180 days with a student. This is a sobering thought and tends to make the teacher find ways to make every minute of the class count. I watch Finance and their KPIs closely so that the Academy remains solvent in all transactions.

How important are KPIs to the success of your organization?
The KPIs are the heart of the organization. They must line up with our mission statement and our value statements. The KPIs are what we have determined to be the indicators that gauge the temperature and climate of our organization. We feel that our KPIs define us as a Christian Academy.



Andy Pippenger

Managing Member, Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan

What is the process for establishing KPIs?
We establish them through discussion with all our members. Key performance indicators, like all statistics, will “confess under torture.” Nowhere is this torture more evident than a meeting among thirty professional advocates, i.e., lawyers, discussing the best path for the group moving forward.

Which KPIs do you watch most closely?
Like law firms across the country, we are built on the same essential formula: work, bill, and collect. Each month, our firm measures “work” (billed hours), billing (invoicing), and collection (accounts receivable).

How important are KPIs to the success of your organization?
We depend on meeting our goals. Our firm operates on the conviction that each and every partner will work for the good of the greater whole and that the firm will, in turn, remain loyal to the individual partner, though he or she may endure some difficult season which impairs the practice. This paradigm is common throughout the legal industry, so while most owners of law firms are, technically, not “partners” but instead “shareholders,” “directors,” or “members,” it remains common to refer to owners as “partners,” emblematic of the common idea that partners will work for the collective and individual good. 


Lynn Wilkins

Partner –  Qualitative Research, Wilkins Research Services, LLC

How are KPIs established within your company?
The key performance indicators are tracked by setting goals for each quarter and tracking the results. Our goals are based on total survey counts that in turn track back to our service level agreements for our largest volume client. Timeliness of data is a key component of meeting and exceeding service agreements, which is our number one goal alongside quality. We aim to provide the highest quality marketing research at the most affordable price using the best approach to provide optimum results.

How often are KPIs measured and reported? Who provides the reports and who reviews them?
These KPIs are measured daily and then roll up into weekly and monthly and finally overall quarterly reports. Measuring these goals gives us instant visibility to any underlying issues such as staffing, training, and performance. Managers review them daily as well as provide reports back to client teams.

If KPIs are not being met, how does your organization respond? What process do you follow?
The KPIs provide visual immediate knowledge of any issues. Our experience in working with these allows us to almost instantly determine the root issue. We work on an improvement plan to outline possible solutions and work towards a better return on our production and staffing. If any department is lacking, we try to come up with suggestions and plans to assist and correct if possible. The success of our company relies on the success of our people. We want everyone to feel like they play a vital role and contribute in a significant way.


Larry Buie

Regional Director, Chattanooga Gas Company
Board Chair, Chamber of Commerce

How are KPIs established within your company?
We have annual goals at a very high level that provide guidance for us to establish more detailed KPIs. KPIs provide us with an awareness of how goals are accomplished. For us, KPIs are the ‘how’ in the process.

What KPIs do you track?
We, of course, have financial targets, but we don’t have KPIs that surround our financials. That is backwards for us. As opposed to lagging indicators (results), we look for leading indicators to tell us where adjustments are needed. For example, at our call center, we have standards for call handle time, and we measure how long customers are on hold. The goal is 80% percent of the call within a 20-second time frame. The KPI is the insight – if our goal was not reached, what do we need to adjust in order to meet the goal? KPIs help us realize if we are meeting our goal.

How often are KPIs measured and reported?
We have weekly staff meetings to analyze collected data to identify root causes. On a monthly basis, we report to our executive team. Supervisors track daily, and I track weekly. 

How important are KPIs to the success of your organization?
KPIs are as important as the time you spend developing them. If you don’t spend time on the front end developing them and if all the stakeholders aren’t there helping develop them, then KPIs won’t be useful to you. We spend time on KPIs daily, and they are incredibly important to us. It’s easy for companies to put them around the financials, but if you aren’t careful, you will compromise processes. We all have a tendency to put more value in areas where money is involved. If our KPIs were solely on financials, we could be overlooking an important process, compliance issue, or training issue. Our KPIs need to be process oriented, so we can truly track root causes.

Photo by Lanewood Studio


Looking for the Latest CityScope Annual Business Issue?

The Annual Business Issues can now be found with the rest of your favorite CityScope content!