Of the many definitions you might come across for key performance indicators, or KPIs, George Odom’s may be the cleverest. It’s certainly the easiest to grasp. “Way back when I tried to do this at Eli Lilly and Company,” he recalls, “someone said to me, ‘If you had to call in once a month and had only five minutes to ask how things are going, what are the things you would want to know?’” The answer: Your KPIs. “Any time you are managing any type of business, you need KPIs,” says Odom, who ...

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