Using Key Performance Indicators for Performance Improvement [INFOGRAPHIC] -

Using Key Performance Indicators for Performance Improvement [INFOGRAPHIC]

By Ashley Christman, LSS MBB, SSBBP, CSM

A version of this blog post first appeared on the Lean Transformation Group’s blog and was repurposed and posted here with permission. The original post can be found here.

In my time as a nurse, I once had a situation where the clinical leadership adopted a visual management board system placed in prominent positions on unit hallways. These boards were the same on every unit and had very generic KPIs that the hospital management had chosen and expected each unit to “move the needle” on. A nurse manager I spoke to expressed frustration because the selected KPIs were irrelevant to her department and thus, her staff didn’t feel invested in helping to move them from red or yellow to green.

During our conversation, a couple things became clear. The first issue was that management was ineffectively using visual management boards, and the second—and more pressing—was that KPIs were not being used properly.

Inappropriate use of KPIs is a problem in a lot of organizations. Whether it’s because they don’t fully understand the specific needs of the area being measured or they do not have enough of a baseline to determine what goals they should realistically should be pursuing, ineffective use of KPIs can not only be demoralizing, it is one of the best ways to get employees–who often want to help–to check out.

So, how can you make sure you use KPIs in an effective and engaging way? Here are my tips for using KPIs to improve performance—and build team morale!

Interested in learning more about Lean principles or getting a Lean certification? KAI Partners’ KAIP Academy is accredited through the Council for Six Sigma Certification as an independent training provider. We are excited to offer Lean Six Sigma training and certification in the Sacramento area! For a list of our current Lean course offerings, visit

About the Author: Ashley Christman is a former nurse and Certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt with a background in organizational change management and Lean. Her extensive experience in healthcare quality and performance improvement has transformed a number of organizations and led to better outcomes in patient care, reductions in wait times, and more. Her experience includes consulting for the CA Department of Public Health as well as multiple large hospital systems, including Santa Rosa Memorial and Petaluma Valley Hospital. Her passion for improvement and educating others led her to begin teaching in order to help entrepreneurs, professionals, and leaders create a sustainable culture change by empowering them to be change agents and champions of innovation. You can find her online at @learnlivelean on Twitter and on LinkedIn.

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