To MOVE the needle, you’ve got to SEE the needle

28 February 2016
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Wellhead Pressure Gauge

Crafting a dashboard that works

I’m going to be talking about dashboards on the Rising Leader webinar in March, and as I prep for that session, I’m reminded of why you should create a dashboard in the first place.

It may seem obvious on the surface, but a dashboard keeps visible and helps you track two things:

  • What in your business will “move the needle” for success
  • What you want to focus your attention on

Companies with fewer than about 25 people often don’t need a dashboard (which doesn’t mean they wouldn’t benefit from one). At that size, the team instinctively knows what’s important, and the leaders are close to the action.

Bigger than 25 people, though, and a dashboard is useful. Unfortunately, a dashboard is also harder at that size, for several reasons:

  • There are simply more parts of the business – more things that the company is doing, many of which seem important. What is really important to put on the dashboard?
  • There become several levels of “frames” that can be used to understand the business. There’s the tactical/trenches level (returning a customer’s email), the “strat-tactical” level (customer service), and the strategic level (the customer experience). Once you identify a part of your business that’s important, then you need to figure out if you measure it at the 100-, 1,000-, 10,000- level, or 50,000-foot level.
  • There often is no immediate, easy source of data for issues that are important. For example, most people would agree that employee engagement is important to most companies – but how do you measure that? [Note: there are some pretty simple ways.]

So, crafting an effective dashboard takes thought.

Many companies have an annual budgeting process – they recognize that coming up with financial plans is complex enough that they should spend time figuring it out.

Well, you should also have an annual “dashboarding” process that figures out what’s important to your business and what you want to focus your attention on. Some things will always be important; others will come and go.

If you’re a middle manager or a high-potential employee, you can join the Rising Leader Program and hear more about dashboards this month in our webinar. Visit phimation.com/start to find out more.