CEO BrainFood

016 Driving Growth with KPIs

Episode Summary

Welcome to CEO Brain Food, a show aimed at providing key insights, fresh perspectives, and proven tools that CEOs can apply to build enterprise value, generate higher profits and develop the talent needed to succeed in their businesses. In this episode of CEO Brain Food, Michael continues his discussion about the critical number and highlights its importance in driving growth within organizations. Michael talks about the factors that influence and drive positive actions towards the critical number. He also breaks down the process of developing KPIs, distinguishes between accountability and responsibility, and shares his thoughts on priorities, forecasting and measuring. Finally, Michael speaks to the importance of setting goals that are smart, realistic, and in the best interests of the organization.

Episode Notes

01:09 – Introducing today’s topic: Driving Growth with KPIs

01:33 – Reinforcing the importance of tracking your critical number 

02:28 – Defining the critical number 

07:12 – Michael invites listeners to take a moment to reflect on their critical number 

07:44 – The factors that influence and drive positive action towards your critical number 

11:24 – The importance of financial literacy 

13:21 – The Weekly Huddle 

15:18 – Sharing the profits 

17:54 – The importance of execution 

20:13 – Developing KPIs 

20:58 – Michael articulates the difference between accountability and responsibility 

23:36 – The value in forecasting critical numbers in advance 

25:02 – Michael provides examples of leading indicator concepts 

26:25 – KPIs, priorities, forecasting and measuring 

29:38 – The Five Scoreboards 

32:13 – The importance of setting goals that will make organizations stronger 

33:27 – Michael teases the topic of the next episode of CEO Brain Food

33:38 – Where to find Michael’s Functional Team Scorecard 


“The critical number provides a focus on what’s most important. And, in fact, it’s the determining factor critical to the company’s success.” (03:35)  

“The driver is a number that directly influences the critical number.” (10:55)  

“You want your people to be engaged in forecasting the number. You want them to really own that number.” (12:05)  

“You want to be sharing with the employees the profit that they help you create, but only after a threshold level of profit is made.” (15:18)  

“The critical number is what you want to achieve. The drivers are how it’s going to be achieved.” (17:17)  

“When we’re developing the KPIs, first we want to identify the problem to be solved or we want to identify an opportunity that we’re going to leverage.” (20:13)  

“Accountability cannot be delegated, but responsibility can.” (20:54)  

“What gets measured gets done.” (30:16)  

“The critical number provides us a learning opportunity that becomes part of our everyday process of running the business. Everyone in the company should know the critical number.” (33:08)  


Michael’s LinkedIn

Michael’s Website

The Functional Team Scorecard

Jim Collins' Website

Four Characteristics of a Strong Critical Number 

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