“We need a dashboard for our executives.”
This is one of the most consistent requests I hear from the customers I work with. My response is usually along the lines of “Great we can do that. Now, let’s talk about the other stakeholders involved in delivering the outcomes those executives have defined.”
Too often the conversation either slows here or comes to a complete stop.
While executive-level dashboards with high level KPIs that provide visibility into the organizations momentum toward the desired outcomes are important, alone they do little to help the business actually get to where they want to be.
Rolling out an executive dashboard is very similar to going out and buying a new scale. The scale gives you visibility into the outcome (your weight) but the number on that scale doesn’t change just because you have that visibility.
Let’s assume you don’t like the number you see on that scale. What happens next?
Well if you’re like me you go out sign up for the local gym (again), head over to the store and buy some new workout clothes and sneakers (because the slightly used stuff you bought the last time is no longer good enough – or worse, doesn’t fit) and renew your subscription to that fitness magazine with all the latest diet fads. Essentially, you make some investments.
Step on the scale again a week later.
Nothing’s changed. Maybe the number on the scale has went down slightly because there is less money in your pocket. The number on that scale will not change until you start going to the gym and adjusting your diet. The scale won’t change until your behavior changes.
The numbers on executive level dashboards don’t change just because we have executive dashboards – those numbers change when we make adjustments to the underlying process or drive changes in the behaviors of those who support the process.
The effective communication of information to all stakeholders involved in achieving the business outcome is critical to making those changes in behaviors. It delivers information directly into the hands of the people who can directly impact change.
In-platform analytics is a critical component if you want to influence and align all stakeholders.
First, in-platform analytics provides stakeholders with access to information at operational decision points to streamline the decision-making process and improve the quality of their individual decisions. For example, we could provide a Service Desk Manager who is looking to reduce costs by optimizing staffing levels with a dashboard that provides insight into how to adjust staff levels based on backlog reduction goals.
Or, a provide a service desk agent with contextual analytics right inside of an incident form to help them triage an incident in real-time or set better expectations about resolution times with the customers they are servicing.
Providing every stakeholder with real-time, actionable information that is embedded in the flow of their day to day activities will help them make better decisions at the point of impact. It is these decisions, and the changes they influence, that will change the outcomes on the executive-level dashboards.
Second, in-platform analytics allows us to align all stakeholders to the objectives they are being measured against and get visibility into where there stand when it comes to meeting those objectives.
To quote Peter Drucker:
“Management by objective works - if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of the time you don't.”
Consistent communication of individual or team performance against measured objectives will drive behaviors. With an in-platform analytics, we can blend performance-related information in with the operational work people need to focus on. This eliminates the need for people to go to different system for performance-related data, which moves people away from the work that needs to get done, and reduces their ability to impact behaviors.
For example, in the dashboard below we’ve placed trend-based data about team performance against their backlog and MTTR goals (trend charts on the right) on the same screen where their queue of open work (list on the left) resides.
The other thing this dashboard offers is “Peer to Peer” analysis. The ranking in the lower right-hand corner ranks each of the support teams by their efficiency at resolving incidents. Making information available about where individuals or groups stand in relation to their peers tends to have a motivating effect. No one wants to be at the bottom of the list.
When rolling dashboards out in an organization it is important to remember that people drive the movement of our organizational KPIs and people’s behaviors are driven by the metrics they are measured against.
How effectively are you communicating in your organization? Do dashboards and metrics reach beyond the corner offices?
If you want to start changing behaviors and tipping the scales in the right direction, they must.
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