Do you have visibility to the key metrics in your business?
Not just the financials, but other critical performance measures as well.
You may be getting a monthly financial reporting package to review, and you can see revenue, and profit, and potentially even cash flow. But there are other factors that are important to your business as well. For example, what about new customer wins, or current customer add-ons, or even customer churn or lost customers. Those are important, right?
You can easily build your own CEO Dashboard that can be a powerful tool for you to not only get a snapshot of your progress across all facets of the business, but identify the active programs you have implemented to drive improvement.
Step 1 – Set Measures To Track
So what measures should you track? It sounds simple but we want to pick the most important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your business. And that will take some thought and brainstorming with your team. You can start with the metrics we developed in The Growth Cube book. We believe there are 6 ways to grow a business. So why not focus your metrics around those 6 measures since they are the most important!
When you go through the process, please make sure to not overwhelm yourself (and your team) with too much data. Apply the KISS Principle (‘Keep it Simple Stupid’). Just start with 10-18 metrics. Keep it simple, especially at the beginning.
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
Step 2 – Load Data
Get your past month performance and load that into your worksheet for each of the 10-18 metrics. You can build the report with your finance leader or coach. Start with what you have today. In terms of format, I recommend making this report electronic. You could have a hard-copy summary for your staff meeting if you want that, but it should be an automated tool driving this. There are some nice online tools that help you develop a CEO Dashboard, but they cost money, take more time, and force you to fit into their parameters. You also have to load your data into their system, which you may not want to do. It will be much easier to create your CEO Dashboard internally and you will get exactly what you want, from your own data, and do it in less time. Once you get it running internally, later you can consider picking an online tool that will make the reports and visuals more effective. But for now, let’s get this moving!
Step 3 – Rollout and Direction
If you have included your team in the choice of your top 10-18 metrics, you have already begun the process of getting alignment. Communicate that ‘we are all accountable’. Everyone has to work together to drive these top metrics and make the business successful. Finally, make sure you have action items and progress reports as part of your report and your review. A measure will not automatically
improve without your focus, which means having active projects in play. So the rollout and direction you want to give to your team is about Alignment, Accountability, and Action.
In terms of timing, we recommend you start quarterly, and then move to monthly as you get more efficient at tracking the data. If you are really good and have effective systems in place now, you can move to weekly or even daily CEO Dashboards for your business. A fast moving consumer-oriented retail company will most likely need daily views.
Here’s is an example a CEO Dashboard you can develop with very little time! We chose 3 metrics for each of the 6 growth cube dimensions – so 18 total metrics. Notice that we show current performance and active plans in place to improve that metric. That’s it!
Step 4 – Trending and Ongoing Communication
You pulled together 18 metrics that are vital to the success of the business, and you have built an electronic dashboard and rolled it out to your teams. As you see from the initial report above, it starts with a snapshot in time, but it will soon begin to communicate trending as you capture additional time periods throughout the year.
You will begin to see trends vs. prior periods (vs. last month, last quarter, last year). You are looking for continuous improvement over those prior periods. For some of the metrics, you can – and should – look at in dollars and in numbers (volume). Do not try to make this report too comprehensive, though, by adding too much data that will bog it down. Keep it simple.
Finally, as the leader, get involved yourself in identifying and managing activity that can make a positive impact on your key measures. Make the CEO dashboard part of your regular staff meeting and your quarterly management and All-Hands meetings. The people on your team want to know how the company is doing. Showing them a P&L is not going to do it. Instead, share customer and department metrics that they can relate to. And make sure you recognize those areas who are focusing on this and making an impact!
Step 5 – Department Sub-Dashboards
You can also implement sub-dashboards as part of this process. In fact, those sub-dashboards may already exist in some of your departments, and you can take the measures from those sub-dashboards and load them into the CEO dashboard. This way you have sub-dashboard detail to backup your CEO dashboard data, and you have department leaders who take responsibility for these department dashboards. I have successfully implemented Sales Dashboards, Marketing Dashboards, Professional Services Dashboards, and Customer Support Dashboards within my companies. And those are great tools to have your quarterly reviews with your leaders on their progress, activity and achievements!
The bottom line is this: You may not have visibility to the full picture of how your business is performing today. But you can get there. By developing a coordinated and focused CEO Dashboard, built around the measures you know will drive up the value of your company, you and your team can help push your company all the way to the top!
Ready to explore your potential? Contact me: garyross@InspireYourselfToday.net
Go to Amazon and get my new book The Growth Cube – and learn more about unlocking the growth potential of your business!