Monthly Archives: April 2017

#1 Best Tip to Improve Your KPI Dashboard

#1 Best Tip to Improve Your KPI Dashboard

By Rho Lall

Key Performance Indicators PDF

I Hate Averages. And You Should Too!


Hate is a strong word. But I do hate seeing averages used as KPIs. The problem is they are so prevalent. The only practice more prevalent is reporting on raw totals: We did this much in sales, we worked this many hours, etc. etc. (See my Key Performance Indicators PDF for a set of great examples.) Averages are terrible:

One. There are better KPIs that communicate more meaningful information.

Two. You can be taken advantage of when you rely on averages.

Did I Tell You About The Time I Almost Dated A Model?

I asked a girl for her number. She was clearly out of my league and she let me know it. I responded that she was acting like a ten when she was clearly a seven. She agreed! Then she started in on herself about how she needed a nose job. Her error? Only comparing herself to other models (not all women). She blew her nose out of proportion (double pun intended). I got her number (And didn't use it). The lesson. Don't be taken advantage of.

There are better options.

Why Averages Perform Below Average In Your KPIs.


Out of a group of two-hundred KPIs, I have researched the seven top KPIs for Professional Service firms. None of the seven are from taking averages. Six of them are ratios (and the seventh can be). Isn't that interesting. So what is so great about ratios?

Ratios reveal trends and makes large numbers easier to digest.

Ratios provide indicators of organizational performance.

Ratios allow me to compare apples to oranges.


Three Keys To Understand And Use Ratios.


First, ratios can be confusing because we were never taught to use ratios in a professional setting. We learned basic fractions. A half or a quarter is an intuitive number. I know what that looks like. I can imagine a pie which gives a fraction meaning. But if a ratio comes out to be 1.09, that is not intuitive. Is it 109%? 92%? Or something else all together?

Comment below on which you think is right?


Second, not every ratio is great. But the great ones compare two opposing metrics. Let's look at one of my top seven Professional Services KPIs. Revenue Per Employee. If you are in business then revenue is a positive. More revenue is better. More people isn't necessarily better. This ratio reflects the sensitivity between these two metrics. More revenue will drive the ratio up. More employees will drive it down. More employees will only drive the ratio up if synergies increase revenue at a greater rate. This ratio simplifies the relationship between revenue and employees down to a number. It also lets me compare two companies that are drastically different in terms of size and revenue.


Third. When I first started learning KPIs I spent a lot of time memorizing definitions. I tried to wrap my head around them. It was hard. I re-learned grade school fractions on Khan Academy because I thought it would help. It didn't. The memorization didn't either. For every new KPI I had to memorize a new definition. Don't waste time memorizing definitions!

There is a better way.


Next time . . . 

In my next blog I am going to teach you a very simple visual aid that has helped me break down ratios so I don't have to memorize definitions. Subscribe to my blog so you do not miss it! You might as well pick up my Key Performance Indicators PDF as well. It's free!

I'm shooting to have it out in about a week.

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I Got Fired because I made a huge mistake. What Now?

I Got Fired Because I Made A Huge Mistake. What Now?

By Rho Lall

There's an urban legend about a young executive sitting in Tom Watson Jr's office just waiting to be fired.

The year is 1968. The exec works at IBM. His boss is Tom Watson Jr, a leader of the information revolution. The issue at hand, a series of mistakes costing several million dollars. These mistakes led to him sitting across from Watson waiting for summary dismissal.


"I suppose after that set of mistakes you will be wanting to fire me."


Watson's response is now part of MBA cannon/lore:


"Not at all young man, we have just spent a couple of million dollars educating you."


Remember that the next time you make a mistake at work. But even if they fired you, the moral is to learn the lessons.

Source: Balanced Scorecard Diagnostics: Maintaining Maximum Performance.


8 Lessons Leaned When I Lost My Job Because I Made A Huge Mistake.


1. A lot of people get fired. Don't feel bad.

2. Verify what legally happened. Employers will "lay off" employees to limit risk of wrongful terminations suits. It is also a pain in the ass that requires a lot of documents. If it comes up during the interview keep your answer brief and to the point: "I worked at (that employer) for X years. I was responsible for . . ."

3. Ask for a letter of recommendation. It can hurt your pride, but not much else. A letter of recommendation makes calling for references unnecessary. If not from your supervisor, you can get them from other people in the company.

4. Never lie to a prospective employer.

5. With respect to Unemployment Insurance Benefits, do your homework. Rules and/or how they are carried out varies state to state.

6. Don't be a victim. It takes two to tango. If your side of the story is a version of "It's all their fault", you are only fooling yourself. Advocate for yourself, by avoid blaming, and be objective.

7. Learn from the experience. Take time for yourself to write down what you have learned from the experience. Share (even if it is only with yourself) the wisdom about yourself and your abilities that you have gained from this experience.

8. Remember, you are not Justine Sacco.


Justine Sacco used to work as the PR Director for InterActiveCorp (IAC). In 2013 she tweeted to a following of under 200 people,



Then she boarded her flight and turned off her phone for the eleven hour flight. When she turned it back on there was a message from her friend, "You need to call me right now! You are the number one world wide trending topic on twitter."

Jon Ronson does a fantastic job of telling her story:



Ronson doesn't finish the story. The story ends where it begun with the Gawker editor who first published Sacco's tweet, Sam Biddle:

Justine Sacco has a PR job she enjoys now, but she deserves the best and biggest PR job, whatever that may be. Give it all to her. Justine Sacco is the most qualified person in her entire field. She has the expertise of ten lifetimes when it comes to dealing with bad press. She survived a genuine personal crisis. She's unkillable, and smart, and she will tell you to shut up, idiot, it can't get any worse.

Learn from Justine. Learn from the experience.

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Is there Sunshine In Your Soul Today?

Is there Sunshine In Your Soul Today?

By Rho Lall

I keep telling myself that I am going to start writing about "work related" management and team building. And here is another post that is going to appear to miss the mark, at least on the surface. I say that because team work (I hate to use the term management, but if I don't it will not be clear that I am talking about leadership in management) is about building teams as much as it is about getting work done.

Elder Holland spoke during the Saturday afternoon session of conference. I resonate with what he said because this is the conversation we should be having. Instead, I blurted out, "This is the greatest talk I have heard in a long time #Amen."




Elder Holland confessed that he feels guilty singing of “blessings which [God] gives me now” amidst the world’s staggering economic inequality. “That chorus cannot be fully, faithfully sung until we have honorably cared for the poor." We live in challenging times:


"These challenges can come from a lack in us, a lack in others, or just a lack in life, but whatever the reasons, we find they can rob us of songs we so much want to sing and darken the promise of “springtime in [the] soul” that Eliza Hewitt celebrates in one of her verses [“There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today,” Hymns, no. 227]"


When we have challenges at work I will often chime in, "First world problems." It is helpful to put things in perspective and remember the assets, advantages and good fortune we do have. I'm not saying to put on rose colored glasses and gloss over challenges, I'm saying we need to take them off.


We build teams when we acknowledge the individuals on those teams. When we hear their challenges (and are supportive) we foster a strong team environment. 



And Jesus listening can hear
The songs I cannot sing.

This comforting verse gets lost in an otherwise sunny, bouncy hymn. Just because your song can't be heard doesn't mean it's not there.  Just because it does't conform doesn't mean it doesn't have value.

I don't mean to demean first world problems. Many suffer from mental and emotional illness and other debilitating health limitations. They must not suffer in silence. Elder Holland says, 


“When we disparage our uniqueness or try to conform to fictitious stereotypes — stereotypes driven by an insatiable consumer culture and idealized beyond any possible realization by social media — we lose the richness of tone and timbre that God intended when He created a world of diversity.”


Never abandon the choir.


These quotes underscore the value diversity brings to teams. Just as a choir needs a harmony of different voices, so does any team. It isn't enough to recognize the value, it is important to acknowledge everyone's seat at the table. A survey of CEOs asked about their role said their job is to maximize shareholder value. We should take a wider perspective on who we consider shareholders, they include clients & employees in addition to those who hold ownership interest.

“You are unique and irreplaceable,” says Elder Holland. “The loss of even one voice diminishes every other singer in this great mortal choir of ours, including the loss of those who feel they are on the margins of society.”

“And someday I hope a great global chorus will harmonize across all racial and ethnic lines, declaring that guns, slurs and vitriol are not the way to deal with human conflict.”

“There is room for those who speak different languages, celebrate diverse cultures and live in a host of locations. There is room for the single, the married, for large families and for the childless. There is room for those who once had questions regarding their faith and room for those who still do. There is room for those with differing sexual attractions.


 A choir is a team, just like a SEAL team or . . .  your team. Never abandon the choir, the sentiment is the same. Teams are stronger than individuals. A united team of poor performers will outperform a talented individual.

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