FIP 76: KPIs, Cohesion, and Driving Performance with Gayatri Datar of EarthEnable

Gayatri is co-founder of EarthEnable, a social enterprise with a mission to improve the health of low-income communities by replacing dirt floors with affordable and sanitary floors. She is incredibly passionate about scaling simple technologies that can have a positive impact across the world. Gayatri shares some tips and tricks on KPIs, building team cohesion and driving performance.

On this episode we’ll discuss:

  • The 5 whys technique – ask ‘why’ until you get to the core of the issue. For example, What are the core issues that are influencing health? For Gayatri, floors continued to come up as a concern, but not at the start of conversations. “What would you want to change?” Roof. Why? Because it leaks. Why? Creates more problems: muddy puddles on floor, bugs, people get sick. Then the discussion surrounding the floor would take place.
  • Be comfortable with failure! Try things that aren’t fully thought out or planned. Not everything needs to be structured. You can learn so much from this process. Fail early, fail often.
  • When developing your KPIs, clearly lay out what ‘good’ looks like. Start micro, then go macro.
  • Gayatri’s team does not have output oriented KPIs, but they used to. She found output oriented KPIs were doing everyone a disservice and causing clashes between her teams. If her sales team were focused on numbers, it could be difficult for her operations team to deliver high quality floors to all of her clients. They would find themselves asking the sales team to lay off sales to deliver better quality. Their incentive structure wasn’t helping the achieve their goals of building high quality floors for their clients.
  • Everyone should always be working together towards impact. At EarthEnable, all employees are being rewarded on 3 things – number of families they impact, customer satisfaction, and profitability. All employees are optimizing for all 3. The goal is to have everyone working more fluidly across departments.
  • Start to delegate! Relinquish power where possible.Second stage of growth.
  • Try not to have KPIs that handcuff you to goals that may shift or change.
  • Can be easy to choose your first few KPIs, should be tied to your values. Consider using Sub KPIs that monitor the key metrics that are influencing the big 3 KPIs.
  • If sales positions are purely commission based, your team may not feel safe or secure enough in their job to do it well. Can be a huge distraction. Incentives should be intrinsic in order to motivate employees to grow the company while serving your customers well.
  • Gayatri’s team has quarterly performance reviews. They strongly believe in structured check-ins.
  • Make a commitment to be honest with each other about what your team isn’t doing well. It is important to acknowledge when things aren’t going well.
  • Negative feedback doesn’t feel good, but it is the only feedback that helps you grow. It can make you feel in conflict with who you think you are.

Links to Resources:

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