I believe Seth Godin said that all organizations are slow to change, but organizations that don’t measure the results are even slower to change. He is one smart guy, and I 100% believe that – with organizations and people too. We need to measure progress continually to make headway with everything we do.
I am a big believer in measurements and tracking key performance indicators. I have logged my workouts every day (what I did, how long, in what intensity, how I felt, etc.) by day, every day for the last 20+ years. I guarantee that if I hadn’t logged, I wouldn’t have been as consistent as I have been and I wouldn’t be in the physical shape I now enjoy.
With measures for your business or medical practice, I believe it’s the same thing. Logging performance consistently over time improves results. And small improvement steps over time have huge effects.
I track and review my client’s dashboards every week. Some of my companies are always making dashboard tweaks and are quite advanced using automated dashboards with Tableau and Cognos, and others are quite simple using a whiteboard or Excel graphs manually prepared. I think of business measures like a car’s dashboard. Tracking a few meaningful key measurements is important. The car’s dashboard doesn’t measure the 100’s of things going on with your vehicle, but it does track important things like speed and the amount of fuel left. Experts agree that business dashboards should illustrate financial health, operational efficiency, and quality (quality product in business or quality patient care in a health care environment, for example.)
I think of business measures like a car’s dashboard. Tracking a few meaningful key measurements is important. The car’s dashboard doesn’t measure the 100’s of things going on with your vehicle, but it does track important things like speed and the amount of fuel left. Experts agree that business dashboards should illustrate financial health, operational efficiency, and quality (quality product in business or quality patient care in a health care environment, for example.)
Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years by implementing key performance indicators and dashboards:
Key 1: Keep it simple. Keep the measures limited. I like one-page dashboards. Ensure all measures focus on your vital few objectives (ref post from early 2016). Data needs to be easy to obtain and completely objective. Ideas: sales growth, customer/patient acquisition/retention/loyalty, operational productivity measures, gross profit, debt ratios, asset velocity metrics, etc.
Key 2: Measure the right things. Just because you can measure it, doesn’t mean you should measure it. Again, think of your car’s dashboard. The higher up the food chain the dashboard user is, the less information is needed. The board of directors, for example, generally aren’t interested in the number of mistakes made by the fabrication shop—only in the big picture. Always align measures with your company’s or practice’s goals, vision, and direction. It’s not a very good idea to regularly change specific measurements, but don’t be afraid to make changes to ensure your measuring the most meaningful metrics to track over time.
Key 3: Be consistent. Dashboards need to be produced and reviewed consistently to get buy-in and provide useful results. The measures you track generally have positive results and trends go in the right direction over time. I like dashboards to be produced and reviewed on Monday for the previous week.
Key 4: Keep results visible. This is so important. I’ve made this mistake several times. I developed great tracking graphs, but inconsistently (or never) brought them out for review or discussion. Visibility helps everyone understand results and where the company is headed.
Key 5: Set realistic targets. Dashboards are easy to get started, but take diligence and discipline to maintain their accuracy and value. I use reminders, tasks, and calendar appointments to keep consistent, but it helps a lot when a company is results-oriented.
Which of the above do you need the most help with? Contact me!