Are KPI’s Killing Collaboration?

Since the advent of the modern industrial economy post WWII, KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) have been used to measure and guide management performance and rewards.  Organisations spend literally millions of dollars in identifying and then measuring the KPI’s that support their strategy execution.  They systematically ensure that these KPI’s cascade down to all position description and individual goals and objectives.  Achieve your KPI’s and you’ll get that promotion you have been coveting or that bonus you have been chasing .  Here lies the problem.  It is assumed that if an individual optimises their performance as measured by their KPI’s, they will be maximising organisational performance.  In fact nothing could be further from the truth.  Any cursory review of role and goal congruence indicates that a significant portion of your workforce is actually set up in competition with each other.  This leads to dysfunctional team behaviour and stifles real collaboration.  The current mess the banking industry is a case study in point of KPI’s driving the wrong behaviours with disastrous outcomes.