WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT a dashboard, what vision do you have? Gauges, lights, controls – instant feedback, visual, actionable? The original dashboard was a wooden or leather barrier at the front of a horse-drawn carriage that protected the driver from debris thrown by horses’ hooves.
Today’s dashboards are the antithesis of historical dashboards.
Instead of acting as a barrier, they reveal key functions of the vehicle under your control. Dashboards house instrument clusters such as speedometer, tachometer, odometer, oil pressure, engine temperature, gear position, and fuel levels.
Dashboards are styled to fit the make and model of the vehicle. Compare the display of a full size sedan to a compact Smart car. Open wheeled racing cars (think Indy 500) rarely have space for a dashboard, so the instrument cluster is integrated into the center of the steering wheel. This control panel is located in plain sight where the driver can quickly detect the state of the vehicle. This proves the critical need for prominently displayed feedback that only a dashboard can provide.
Leadership dashboards are like that open-wheeled racing car with information in plain sight, at the center of activity – where you need it, when you need it. Dashboards provide key performance indicators that tell the story of how closely your business is executing to plan. Just like automobile dashboards are fabricated to match intended use of the vehicle, leadership dashboards are developed with specific intent.
One type of leadership dashboard exhibits analytics you need to manage your business day to day, week to week, and month to month, and beyond. For example one panel is designed to display sales forecast relative to actual sales. Graphs will likely show incremental sales results. Quality assurance charts could indicate severity of defects.
Still other components of a dashboard show current trends relative to expectations. Reporting and statistical tracking are still valid as a source for detailed information, but summaries like those found on a dashboard can signal a warning when results start to deviate from plan. The ability to view trends allows leaders to adjust activities to get the business back on track.
Another variety of leadership dashboard offers a broader analysis of business performance based on data that goes beyond mathematical statistics. This dashboard is at the heart of leadership effectiveness, addressing factors that are measured in the currency of purpose, values, mission, and vision.
The challenge of every leader is to set direction and gain consensus for carrying out organizational objectives. While strategy varies for achieving corporate goals and methods follow a formula unique to the organization, the tenets of leadership are fundamental. Consider these elements when creating a leadership dashboard modeled with non-statistical data.
- Life Plan
- Business Plan
- Super Powers
- Priority Management
(Leadership Dashboard by Dan Forbes, Lead With Giants LLC© )
Engage your leadership team in strategic modeling of your vision. Applying attentive emphasis to these elements will cultivate a culture that follows the precepts of your value system.
Take your business from survive to thrive starting now!
Herbert Spencer coined the phrase, “survival of the fittest” in his Principles of Biology of 1864. Nearly 150 years later, his words are still used to parallel competition for survival with economic health of organizations. It’s not survival of the strongest, nor survival of the biggest. We know from the downward spiral of seemingly strong and vital organizations over the second half of 2008, the law of survival is played out through the best practices of economic fitness.
Dashboards are not enough. Do you think Countrywide, Wells Fargo, GM, and Chrysler had dashboards spread across the wall of their Board Rooms? Absolutely! Did they read them? Now there’s a question. The indicators were there, but were they ignored? What do you observe from dashboards where trends are visual and statistics are revealed? What can you learn through laser focus on the principles which are foundational to your corporate vision? You see, at a glance where you’ve been and where you’re headed. Focus, pay attention, downshift, adjust your course . . . see you at the finish line!
Editor’s Note: This Article was originally published on leadwithgiants and is featured here with permission.