Philie Group Blog

Listen to Your Leading Indicators and Take Action
By Mike Philie

We are in a world that seems to revolve around KPIs. It’s hard to get away from them. Whether you are responsible for optimizing the performance on the factory floor, customer service response times, or hitting your sales numbers, there’s always a number that you are trying to achieve. The engagement level of your team is also an important indicator that shouldn’t be overlooked. KPIs are often displayed on some type of dashboard. The challenge for some managers is how to read the dashboard. One of the objectives is to understand what triggers to look for that indicate something is not right and will initiate a corrective action step.

This dashboard can be an automated report, a spreadsheet, or some figures on a whiteboard. Regardless of the format, it’s a useful tool to gauge the performance level of an operation. As you identify the KPI’s that are important to your business, understand that it’s important to indicate the acceptable range that you’re looking for. This range may have a high or a low threshold, or both depending on what the measurement is.

As you begin reviewing your results, you should decide at what point you will take action. The signals are present on the dashboard but can be easily overlooked. It’s often discussed, but the review is completed without a corrective measure that may improve the trajectory of that process. It’s beneficial to understand what options you have for acting ahead of time, so that you’re not having to “make them up on the fly.” Your responses can range from validating that the reading is correct, through to assembling the folks in that area to review the situation and determine what corrective measures to initiate. Sometimes you can mitigate the problem just by showing the people in that department that you are aware that things are not right and that you are asking questions.

Leading a profitable business is a combination of many skills and it is never ending. Working with your team to create meaningful KPIs and action plans is a great place to focus on. If you have any comments or thoughts as to how you’ve approached these issues, please send me a note, or include them below.

Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.comLinkedIn or email at

Originally published in Printing Impressions.


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