WHERE TO START?
Taking the first step to improve your organization’s performance can be daunting, and
often great successes can come from taking
things in a step-by-step manner.
To focus the performance improvement
effort, start by taking the following steps:
1. Identify an organization goal.
2. Use the SMART approach to define a relevant KPI.
a. Determine the required data and how to
b. Collect the data and calculate the KPI.
c. Analyze the KPI data.
3. If the goal isn’t met, determine the root
cause: What issues or obstacles stand in
the way of meeting your goals?
4. Identify and establish a process for
5. Repeat Steps 2, 3 and 4 until the goal is
achieved—or determine whether the goal
is attainable given current constraints.
6. Start again with Step 1, and identify a new
a new goal to meet.
HOW SHOULD I USE KPIS TO
MEASURE AND OPTIMIZE?
This should be an agile, iterative process where
the goals and objectives are assessed periodically and adjusted as needed.
Organizations should use current company
goals (operational, personnel and financial) to
define KPIs that support incremental, measurable improvement.
KPIs should be thoroughly defined in terms
of what they mean, how they should be measured, and when to calculate them—and all
personnel should be trained on these topics.
Present the concept of KPIs, their analysis
and improvement objectives to staff in a setting
where the discussion is comfortable. Transparency is key to performance improvement.
Open lines of communication will ensure that
the right conclusions are being made based on
the data collected.
Those findings will allow for development
and implementation of the appropriate cor-
rective actions, and for another measurement
cycle to begin.
As the KPIs reach acceptable levels, the
next set of organizational goals and objec-
tives should be assessed, new KPIs should be
defined and the cycle should continue.
The study resulted in an agile process of
assessing achievable improvement goals, mea-
suring the performance, interpreting the level
of improvement achieved and implementing
change that will get closer to the final goal
of providing continuous quality improve-
Michael J. Salonish is a managing partner with DataTech911.
Swati D. Allen is a managing partner with Data Tech911.
1. Doran GT. There’s a S.M.A.R. T. way to write management’s goals
and objectives. Management Review. 1981;70: 35–36.
This is the first in a series of articles about performance measurement and improvement.
Future articles will be posted on jems.com
and will present case studies about specific
EMS agencies’ improvement efforts.