Connections for Success



How to Map Metrics to Your Mission
Chris Arndt

When you are strategic planning, do you map back metrics to your mission? If you have read any of our budgeting articles, you are familiar with my recommendation to set targets or benchmarks for your team. Creating this culture of growth sets your business up to scale.

I recently wrote that in order to grow your business, especially in an unpredictable economy, you must bridge your daily operations with those financial benchmarks. So how do you go about doing that in all financial climates, and why is it critical to your success?

Why You Should Map Metrics to Your Mission

It is easy to get overwhelmed with the number of available analytics you could track, but that does not mean that they are all of what you should track.

Here are three good reasons to map metrics to your mission:

  1. By designing your operational metrics for employees to follow, you encourage your team to be “marching to the same mission,” so that your everyday operations tie back to your mission and vice versa. Understanding your metrics from this perspective provides an opportunity to have your customers culturally align with you. More to come on this below.
  2. The process of digging into your analytics drives organizational change for more impact, or growth if you are in the business of profit.
  3. Finally, when you map your metrics to your mission, you retarget your data to matter. Focus on too many metrics and you lose sight of your mission.

How to Map Your Metrics to Your Mission

Begin by Quantifying Your Mission
These reasons all sound good in theory, but it is not always easy to put numbers or metrics in place of the values composed in carefully-crafted mission statements.

To gauge your mission’s success or impact, at a certain point you will need to track results. Consider the measurability of your KPIs:  The number, percentage, ratio or sum, for example. Think about the measures that matter most to your mission; then think about how you might quantify them. Let’s look at a few examples:

Example:  SaaS/Tech Metrics

Dropbox Mission Statement
The mission of Dropbox is to simplify life for people around the world. Dropbox lets people bring their docs, photos and videos everywhere and share them easily.

Dropbox might map the amount of storage on average back to its mission statement. The more storage each customer has, the more they are using it, the more they rely on it, the stickier the customer is and ultimately, one could say the more Dropbox is simplifying the life of these people.

Another less obvious metric might be to look at what similarities their best customers have and quantify those qualities. For example, they might track the number of shared links and folders. In doing so, Dropbox would be tracking the inherent marketing essential to a growth strategy built around sharing; a viral component that equally helps their customers.

Example: Not-For-Profit Metrics
As an accountant, I default to profit margins, but in Raman Chadha’s (of the Junto Institute) world, he begins with the people metrics. At a recent roundtable we hosted with Junto Institute, when I discussed mapping metrics to your mission, Raman considered it from the perspective of targeting customers and clients that are culturally-aligned with your mission statement. There is a great deal of value in understanding your most engaged customer. I think this is particularly true in the not-for-profit sector.

Feeding America Mission Statement
Our mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.

In this example, obvious metrics to track include the number of people fed, the number of volunteers and the number of donors. But to track the success of their mission statement, they might also want to dig a little deeper. Feeding America has made this easier by including the word “engage” right in its mission statement. What that tells me is that this organization has already mapped metrics to its mission. Engagement would undoubtedly play a direct role in acquiring more financially viable support.

While measuring engagement looks different depending on the department in which you work (number of volunteers in program management, number of monthly donors in fundraising, etc.), there are additional people metrics that might hold a statistically-significant impact as it relates to the mission statement.

So, for example, Feeding America might want to perform lead scoring for their supporters (e.g., more passive engagement should score lower and more active engagement should score higher):

  Likes content on social media = 1
  Subscribes to a newsletter = 3
  Shares content on social media = 4
  Recruits new volunteer = 5
  Becomes monthly donor = 7

By assigning different values for different types of engagement and activity, Feeding America can measure and determine which donors and volunteers are the most culturally aligned to build their “nationwide network” objective.

Six Tips to Map Metrics to Your Mission

  1. Start with Your Revenue and Work Your Way Backward
    Revenue is the most volatile number, but it is the most important. Some people say that revenue cures all and that as long as you can grow your revenue, your business can make it. That is not 100% true, but it is always a good place to start. Even if you are focused on people metrics more than profit metrics, your revenue drives your operation.
  2. Avoid Vanity Metrics
    It is tempting to be excited by things like percentage increase in registered users, but it holds little value for impact on a mission statement. Instead, track retention, usage or sharing.
  3. Sometimes a Counter-metric May Be the Helpful Measure
    For example, for many SaaS and service-based businesses, customer churn is a highly useful metric and can be directly tied to their mission statement. Tracking churn in our Dropbox example would suggest how many peoples’ lives they have simplified.
  4. Prioritize Your Metrics
    Limit yourself to only the most essential drivers to your mission. How do you do this? Begin by combining data sets, where possible, to be more impactful to your mission. Think of the lead scoring example from above. Feeding America might combine analytics like subscriptions, shares and number of donations into one score. List the indicators you are currently tracking and determine whether you can map them back to your mission.  If not, maybe you can ditch them or, at the very least, deprioritize them.
  5. Include Time as a Backdrop to Measure Your Metrics Against
    In different climates, your measures and their impact on your mission may change. Further, quantify your metrics by comparing them on a quarterly basis or more often if the economic climate calls for it.
  6. Make Tracking Analytics Easy
    Finally, ensure the data is easily tracked by your existing systems. If your CRM or ERP is not providing you with analytics that you can easily measure and map back to your mission, you are missing out on the benefit of real-time data.

Ready to begin mapping your metrics to your mission statement? Get in touch with us and see how our Cloud CFO Services can help you get real-time insight into your data.

For more information, contact Chris Arndt at or at 312.494.7014. Visit to learn more about our Cloud CFO Services. 

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