Crafting your own operating model: How to incorporate KPIs effectively

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Creating an operating model from scratch can seem like a daunting task, but it's a crucial step for any business aiming for long-term success. An effective operating model not only outlines how your business functions day-to-day but also aligns with your strategic goals to drive growth. In this guide, we'll walk you through the essential steps to develop your own operating model, emphasising the importance of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). By understanding how to integrate KPIs effectively, you can ensure your operating model supports continuous improvement and measurable success. Whether you're starting from scratch or looking to refine your existing processes, this guide will provide you with the insights and tools needed to build a robust and efficient operating model.

How to create your own operating model from scratch

Creating your own operating model will help you establish a strong foundation for your business. This section will walk you through the step-by-step process of building an effective operating model, ensuring that every aspect of your business is aligned and optimised for success.

1. Define your vision and strategy

  • Vision: Clearly articulate the long-term vision and mission of your business.
  • Strategy: Develop a strategic plan outlining how your business intends to achieve its vision. This includes identifying target markets, value propositions, and competitive advantages.

2. Identify core capabilities

  • Determine the essential skills, competencies, and resources required to deliver your value proposition effectively. This includes technology, expertise, processes, and relationships.

3. Map out key processes

  • Operational processes: Identify your core operational processes needed to produce goods or services (e.g., manufacturing, logistics).
  • Support processes: Determine your support processes necessary for smooth operations (e.g., HR, IT, finance).
  • Management processes: Define your management processes to guide strategic planning, decision-making, and performance management.

4. Design the organisational structure

  • Outline the roles, responsibilities, and reporting relationships within your business.
  • Decide on the type of structure that best supports your strategy (e.g., hierarchical, flat, matrix).

5. Develop technology and infrastructure

  • Identify the technological tools and infrastructure needed to support your operations.
  • Implement IT systems, machinery, facilities, and other assets that align with your business’s needs.

6. Establish governance and decision-making framework

  • Create a governance framework that ensures compliance with laws, regulations, and internal policies.
  • Define the roles and responsibilities of decision-making bodies, including executives and boards.

7. Foster a strong culture and leadership

8. Implement performance management systems

  • Establish KPIs to measure success.
  • Develop mechanisms for monitoring and managing performance, including performance reviews and incentive systems.

9. Design customer and market engagement strategies

  • Plan how to engage with customers and markets, including marketing, sales, and customer service strategies.
  • Develop feedback mechanisms to continuously improve your offerings based on customer input.

10. Test, refine, and scale

  • Pilot your operating model on a small scale to identify any issues or areas for improvement.
  • Gather feedback from stakeholders and make necessary adjustments.
  • Scale your operating model across the entire business, ensuring alignment with the overall strategy.

Example of how to create an operating model: FitTracker Innovations

FitTracker Innovations logo

Let’s say a health and fitness company, FitTracker Innovations, wants to launch a new tech product. Here’s how they might create an operating model:

1. Vision and strategy

  • Aim to revolutionise personal fitness tracking with an innovative wearable device, FitTracker Pro.

2. Core capabilities

  • Develop expertise in wearable technology, secure partnerships with fitness experts, and build a strong R&D team.

3. Key processes


  • Design the FitTracker Pro with cutting-edge sensors and features.
  • Manufacture the device using advanced, cost-effective methods.
  • Distribute through direct-to-consumer channels and selected retail partners.


  • HR to recruit top talent in engineering, design, and customer service.
  • IT to develop a user-friendly app that syncs with the wearable device.
  • Finance to manage budgets, funding, and financial planning.


  • Conduct strategic planning meetings to align goals.
  • Implement regular performance reviews.
  • Launch continuous improvement initiatives to refine processes.

4. Organisational structure

  • Create a cross-functional team structure to foster collaboration between R&D, marketing, and customer service. Each team reports to a project manager who oversees the FitTracker Pro initiative.

5. Technology and infrastructure

  • Invest in advanced manufacturing equipment to ensure high-quality production.
  • Utilise cloud-based software for real-time data analysis and customer insights.

6. Governance and decision-making

  • Establish a board of advisors with industry experts from tech, fitness, and business sectors to guide strategic decisions and provide industry insights.

7. Culture and leadership

  • Promote a culture of innovation, encouraging team members to bring creative solutions.
  • Focus on customer-centricity, ensuring that customer needs and feedback drive product development.
  • Led by visionary leadership with a track record of successful tech product launches.

8. Performance management

Set KPIs such as:

  • Product launch timelines to ensure timely market entry.
  • Customer satisfaction scores to measure user experience.
  • Sales targets to track market penetration and revenue growth.

9. Customer and market engagement

  • Develop a comprehensive marketing campaign targeting fitness enthusiasts, leveraging social media, influencers, and fitness communities.
  • Establish a customer feedback loop through surveys, reviews, and direct feedback to continuously improve the FitTracker Pro.

10. Test, refine, and scale

  • Launch a beta version of the FitTrack Pro to a select group of users.
  • Gather detailed user feedback on functionality, design, and performance.
  • Refine the product based on feedback, addressing any issues or areas for improvement.
  • Roll out the final version to the broader market, scaling production and distribution to meet demand.

How to use KPIs effectively within an operating model

Using KPIs effectively within an operating model is crucial for monitoring progress, ensuring alignment with strategic goals, and driving continuous improvement. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use KPIs effectively:

1. Align KPIs with strategic goals

2. Define clear metrics

  • Set specific metrics: Define clear, specific metrics for each KPI. These metrics should be quantifiable and easy to understand.
  • Baseline and targets: Establish baseline measurements and set realistic, time-bound targets for each KPI. This helps in assessing progress and setting expectations.

3. Ensure data accuracy and reliability

  • Data sources: Identify reliable data sources for each KPI. Ensure that the data collected is accurate and consistent.
  • Data collection: Implement robust data collection processes and systems. Automate data collection where possible to reduce errors and save time.

4. Communicate KPIs across the organisation

  • Transparency: Communicate KPIs and their importance to all relevant stakeholders within the organisation. Ensure that everyone understands how their work contributes to these KPIs.
  • Reporting tools: Use dashboards, reports, and visual aids to make KPI data accessible and understandable. 

5. Monitor and review performance regularly

  • Regular reviews: Schedule regular check-ins to assess performance against KPIs. These reviews should involve key stakeholders and decision-makers.
  • Adjust and adapt: Be prepared to adjust strategies and operations based on KPI performance. If targets are not being met, examine the root causes and correct as needed.

6. Foster a culture of continuous improvement

  • Feedback loops: Establish feedback loops to gather insights from employees, customers, and other stakeholders. Use this feedback to refine processes and improve performance.
  • Recognition and incentives: Recognise and reward individuals and teams that meet or exceed KPI targets. 

7. Integrate KPIs into performance management

  • Individual and team goals: Align individual and team goals with organisational KPIs. Ensure that performance appraisals and development plans are tied to KPI performance.
  • Training and development: Provide training and resources to help employees understand and achieve their KPI targets. This might include workshops, coaching, and access to analytical tools.

Example of using KPIs effectively within an operating model

ServicePro Solutions logo

Let’s consider ServicePro Solutions, a business that aims to improve customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. Here’s how they might use KPIs effectively:

1. Align KPIs with strategic goals

  • Goal: Improve customer satisfaction.
  • KPI: Customer satisfaction score (CSAT).

2. Define clear metrics

  • Metric: Percentage of customers rating their experience as “satisfactory” or higher.
  • Baseline: Current CSAT score is 70%.
  • Target: Achieve a CSAT score of 85% within 12 months.

3. Ensure data accuracy and reliability

  • Data source: Customer feedback surveys.
  • Data collection: Implement automated survey tools to collect feedback after each customer interaction.

4. Communicate KPIs across the organisation

  • Transparency: Share CSAT scores and their importance in team meetings and company newsletters.
  • Reporting tools: Use a dashboard to display real-time CSAT scores and trends.

5. Monitor and review performance regularly

  • Regular reviews: Hold monthly review meetings to discuss CSAT scores and identify areas for improvement.
  • Adjust and adapt: If scores are below target, analyse feedback to pinpoint issues and implement corrective actions.

6. Foster a culture of continuous improvement

  • Feedback loops: Encourage employees to suggest ways to improve customer service based on feedback.
  • Recognition and incentives: Recognise top-performing employees who consistently receive high customer satisfaction ratings.

7. Integrate KPIs into performance management

  • Individual goals: Set personal targets for customer service representatives to improve their CSAT scores.
  • Training and development: Provide training on customer service best practices and effective communication skills.

The wrap

Creating an operating model from the ground up and integrating KPIs effectively are crucial steps for any business aiming for sustainable growth and success. By carefully designing an operating model that aligns with your strategic goals and using KPIs to measure performance, you establish a framework that supports continuous improvement and adaptability. 

Whether you are starting fresh or improving an existing model, these practices will help you develop a resilient, efficient, and customer-focused organisation. Embrace the process, and you will establish a strong foundation that propels your business forward.

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Jeremy Yancey

Head of Content, Tability

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