The Power of Key Performance Indicators
“What gets measured...gets managed.”
We are hearing a lot lately about the use of “dashboards” and “tactics” and “measurements” and “report cards,” etc. in our industry.
Why are these terms showing up in reports we are reading and the way that we are beginning to talk and think about our business?
It’s really quite simple. As one business guru stated, “What gets measured, gets managed.”
In other words, the more we understand our business and what the key performance indicators (KPI) mean to our business, the more we understand how successful we are, and in what areas we should be focussing on.
So, having a “dashboard” of KPI’s helps identify if business plans and initiatives are moving the needle for our industry and the only way to see this is by tracking and measuring what we believe is important to us as an industry.
At Standardbred Canada we are beginning to do deeper dives tracking and measuring a variety of KPI’s to assist in determining the areas in which we believe are important to the association, including customer feedback, membership levels, membership demographics, handle, number of mares bred, number of starters, industry stories that get the biggest hits on the website, etc.
It’s true that a business can suffer from the infamous “paralysis by analysis” but I don’t believe that we are even close to worrying about that at this stage just yet. All businesses, whether you are in the sports, technology, health services or manufacturing industries need to drive their future decisions by identifying and tracking KPI’s to understand what the overall impact of today’s and tomorrow’s decisions have meant to our business.
Key Performance Indicators are not new. They’re just something that we haven’t been spending a lot of time talking about or have been consistently tracking. So, when I recently received a call from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation asking Standardbred Canada for input to help validate the KPI’s that they are thinking about capturing for the Ontario horse racing industry I was excited to review and hear what OLG had come up with as potential measurements for the business.
The more we know...the more we will grow.
However, knowledge is just the start. We have to understand and identify the co-relation of each KPI and how it supports and strengthens the industry.
Not only is creating and tracking stated key performance indicators a strong measurement tool, it’s also fact-based evidence for those wishing to invest, support and become involved in the industry.
We can only rely on the emotion and thrill of this sport for so long, we have to be able to back it up and with hard numbers and fast stats. As Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Dizzy Dean once said, “...it ain’t bragging, if you can back it up.”
As we move and evolve as a sport, we need to be able to “back it up”. Particularly with the number of stakeholders that are now involved in the world of standardbred racing; Regulators, Government, Owners, Trainers, Drivers, Breeders, Bettors, Fans, etc.
We have a story to tell and we need to know how to tell it. And, you can’t argue with facts.
So by setting benchmarks, targets, and key performance indicators we are really only setting a roadmap for success that will track, monitor and manage our industry’s path and growth.
Recently I did a very quick internet search regarding industry report cards and KPI’s and I only found but a few sites that provided commentary and analysis of our horse racing industry on a regional basis, let alone on a national basis.
Alberta has done an excellent job in tracking and reporting about the business and industry on the Horse Racing Alberta website and Western Fair District just released their economic development report in January of this year:
These are just two examples of measuring and monitoring the business and the positive impact that the industry is making.
If you are aware of other associations or racetracks that are promoting economic drivers to their fans, customers or the general public, please let me know as I would love to see what other others are doing to track the KPI’s of our business and industry.
As a former mentor of mine once told me:
If you can’t measure it, you can’t understand it.
If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it.
If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.
President & CEO, Standardbred Canada