Having a company-wide meeting and focusing on whether your discount rate is up or down a percentage point in either direction isn't exactly exhilarating stuff. It's also very difficult for team members to care, because the data lacks context. They're likely thinking, "Is that good? Is that bad? What does this mean for my department, my role, my day-to-day responsibilities?"
So, after recently bringing on a new CFO to join ThirdLove, we decided to ditch the slide altogether. Instead, we now focus on what we're calling "hits and misses."
It helps you ask the right questions.
The idea here is to focus more broadly on what's going to have the biggest impact on the business, and what did we think was going to have a big impact but didn't pan out?
For example, recently we have seen strapless bra sales go through the roof. That's great, but now the question to ask is, "Can we double what we're selling? Is there a specific marketing channel that's working really well and should we double-down on our ad spend? How high is high?"
Conversely, if we had seen strapless bra sales plummet, it would have been worthwhile to ask different questions, like: "Why did this happen? Is there anything we have heard from customers? What other data do we have?"
There are always two ways of looking at hits and misses: Either something we tried didn't work and we learned a valuable lesson as a result, or we did something right and now we need to reverse engineer exactly what happened so that we can replicate success over and over again.
It furthers our approach to test and learn frequently and quickly.
The approach is more inclusive and allows the whole team to participate.
Insights can come from anywhere within the company. As a CEO, I have learned that when you are myopic about KPIs, especially financial ones, you inadvertently exclude people from feeling like they can make an impact. They fail to see how their individual contributions ladder up to the success of the whole, and because they don't have the same level of financial insight as executives and senior leaders, they feel like they're shooting in the dark.
Whereas if you can focus everyone more broadly on what's working and isn't working, you open the entire company up to the serendipity of great ideas. In fact, in a perfect world, the best insights shouldn't be coming from the executive team--they should be coming from anyone, including the most junior employee at the company, since they're the ones intimately familiar with how things are performing on a micro, day-to-day basis.
Nothing makes a team thrive more than feeling "in it" together.
Since making this switch, the overwhelming feedback internally has been how much more informative and engaging our all-hands meetings have become.
What gets people excited to show up to work is to know their individual contributions matter, and that they have the opportunity to learn from those around them. This is one of the most undervalued aspects of work today, and yet it's something I see time and time again within ThirdLove: Employees want to solve problems. They want to work together. They want to work toward a larger mission.
If you are a founder, take this to heart: it's never the numbers people remember. It's the why. It's the story of how you got there. It's the lessons learned, how you learned them, and what insight was gained as a result.
Focus on the hits and misses, and funny enough, the financial KPIs will follow.