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Dashboard and Six Questions Build Clarity

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Mar 18, 2013

Can a simple Dashboard provide clarity for your organization?  In The High Ground – Your Dashboard I provided an example of a business dashboard that contain both the quarterly priorities and key financial benchmarks for the company.  describe the imageThese would include revenue, sales costs, Cost of Goods, Overhead Costs, Net Profit, Break-Even Analysis, Cost per Full-Time Equivalent, Cash Flow and Accounts Receivables.  If you’d like to see this Excel example, send me an email with Sample Financial Dashboard in the subject line.  

Whether or not these are important elements for you to monitor, your business has critical numbers that you should be watching.  The priorities dashboard for the quarter should be reviewed at least monthly in the monthly meeting.  At this same time having the Financial Dashboard to show the health of the company should offer significant impact in your executive team meeting.  Revenue down, sales or overhead costs up, or AR increasing all should be signs to mean movement by responsible leadership is required. 

Why share these in a monthly executive team meeting?  Because peer pressure is one of the motivating factors that get accountability and results.  It also provides clarity why the organization is succeeding or failing in its endeavors.  You can choose to red, yellow, green these financial benchmarks as well, by setting up success criteria for the year ahead of time in each of these impact areas of your business. 

The value of success criteria comes in the immediate recognition of whether or not a specific element of your business needs attention or not.  If it does, it needs to be discussed in this meeting or perhaps in another meeting with the specific staff responsible for influencing its outcome. 

How impactful can this example be to you?  I’m not sure.  If you already have dashboards then perhaps it will have little influence at all. It may reveal impact areas of your business you should consider measuring. 

Sending my personal 1st Quarter Dashboard had a profound influence on one of thecoaches that I meet with each week.  He immediately could see how it impacted my activities and the success I was having particularly my number one priority, my health, It prompted him to create a dashboard for his priorities. 

If you’ve not been running your business with a company and executive team dashboard, particularly using the success criteria in your weekly, monthly and quarterly meetings you are missing out on a tool that can have a dramatic impact on success or failure in your business.  Let me know us know if we can provide any help in building your business dashboards

What kinds of questions build clarity in your business? 

In Organizational Health Meets Pearson’s Law we offered the Six Critical Questions from Patrick Lencioni’s The Advantage.  Remember here the value of Pearson’s Law is evident in the discipline of building dashboards for your business and your team.  "When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates."  Establishing the answers to the six questions provides your business with true clarity that you can measure as well.

The following are the questions Lencioni provided in his Discipline 2: Create Clarity:  Healthy organizations minimize the potential for confusion by clarifying… (In parenthesis I’ve included Gazelles Tools that offer the answer to these questions and are part of our coaching process and the One Page Strategic Plan)

  1. Why do we exist (Core Purpose)?
  2. How do we behave (Core Values)?
  3. What do we do (Inside Advantage?
  4. How will we succeed (Strategy Statement)?
  5. What is most important, right now (One Thing)?
  6. Who must do what (Quarterly and Annual Priorities)?

If you prefer watch Lencioni reveal The Six Critical Questions in video.

As Gazelles coaches we’ve long understood and taught the value of building clarity in your organization.  It’s a fundamental to John D Rockefeller’s core principles and the One Page Strategic Plan.  The principle builds harmony, esprit de corps, and most importantly accountability.  If you’re not on this path already you must engage this evolution in order to have continuous growth in your business.  In fact having the right disciplines in place now will help you to embrace and look forward to economic challenges simply because your company will be able to navigate them while your competitors will falter.

When Steve Jobs was hired to get Apple back on track what was the first step he took to ensure the Apple would regain its dominance?  Was it an innovative step or to re-immerse the company’s culture in discipline?  We’ll explore this and some important lessons for Jim Collins Great By Choice next blog. 

Topics: success criteria, Business Dashboards, The Advantage

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1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days.

2. Metrics: Develop measurable Key Performance Indicators. 

3. Meetings: Establish effective meeting rhythms. (Cadence of Accountability)  Compounding the value of your priority and metrics. 

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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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