Optimising financial processes

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The KPI Paradox & Other Barriers to Performance Improvement


Transformation and change programs regularly exceed expectations for the returns committed in the business case.

I am shocked, but not surprised. Is it just a case of over inflated optimism or something more?

This isn’t an occasional occurrence; It is the norm for major initiatives. It seems that some cognitive bias makes us more comfortable with the situation than we should be.

Timescales for the planned return on investment extend by years, programs are reshaped, expectations diluted, and the VATOD rears its ugly head.

VATOD”? That’s my acronym for the “Value Anticipation Trough of Despair!” that so many stakeholders and customers have to endure.

Even the actual return diminishes in real terms as well as in Net Present Value (NPV) terms because time decays the value of benefits delivered, like rust on a disused rail track.

70% of Transformation initiatives fail to deliver on the business case. Our goals are not being achieved.


– There are some seductive myths around business performance and transformation

– Too many ineffective KPIs, including those which are not “key” and don’t actually contribute to the desired outcome

– Failure to fully appreciate “cause and effect” in end-to-end business processes

– Too much focus on symptoms rather than root causes and the process defects they represent

– The perennial struggle with “making it happen”, driving action, building productive habits & necessary behavioral change

– Lack of focus on applying the “Pareto Principle” to drive business outcomes fast

It is a complex issue, and not enough time is spent drilling into the core challenges and how best we address them.

I am discussing these issues in a live streamed 30 minute webcast on September 29th. You can register here . . . 

If you can’t make 30 minutes on 29th, let us know and we can share the results with you directly. But remember, if this 30 minutes helps us to be just 1% better every day, that is a much better impact than we are getting currently!

With the fresh, alpine air of Switzerland in his lungs, Martin Reeves will share experiences and insights from his work with Fortune 500 businesses to breathe some new life into our change and process improvement initiatives, from enterprise-wide transformation programs to individual initiatives to drive enhanced efficiency and effectiveness.

In the words of Henry Ford, “vision without execution is just hallucination”!

Thanks for reading . . .