Not convinced a management dashboard is what your organization needs?
Some dashboards are graphically inclined, some have tables and data, and others are focused on status indicators. (And some are a combination of all three.) Whatever the look and layout, a dashboard holds the information a leadership team needs to manage an organization.
That being said, do you really need a management dashboard? Our incontrovertible answer is yes!
Below, we’ve laid out six reasons why it’s important.
An organization “lives” in different departments. For example, if you’re running a municipality, your parks and recreation, public safety, and HR departments all have different data that would fit into a municipal dashboard. Thus, leadership teams from these departments typically come in with competing priorities. A management dashboard can help you understand what is important for the organization as a whole by pulling up the critical few items that will make a difference in your organization. The same goes for a bank or manufacturing organization. Each department is “competing” for scarce resources, and so it is important to have a full view of the organization’s overall priorities.
Each department or division is responsible for managing their own information—but all of that information leads back to one strategy for the organization. Simply sending out a file every once in awhile to each department isn’t going to cut it. To keep every department constantly updated (and available for viewing in a number of different ways), you’ll need a management dashboard.
Most organizations have software for finances, customer relationship management (CRM), human resources (HR), process transactions, project management, and more. These applications give the organization a detailed platform for each specific function, but it’s still imperative to have one place that you can pull key information over to. And that’s where a management dashboard comes in handy!
In the past, management dashboards were printed monthly or weekly and kept in a briefcase. With the pace of business today, you need a live and consistently updated dashboard. This strategic information should be constantly accessible from your tablet, phone, or laptop. (It’s critical to consider this access when thinking about how you will manage your dashboard.)
Some people see dashboards simply as a key set of measures. But in our experience, you’ll also want to be able to see how your projects are doing along the way and whether the things you’re doing to influence and affect those projects are having the targeted effect you’re hoping for. (Having a view that shows the status, percentage complete, and key milestones of the project is a nice improvement to a management dashboard.)
When designed correctly, your dashboard should show your action items from previous executive team meetings. This helps you see whether or not your teams are following through on important action items. Without this, you will be wasting a lot of time in management meetings repeating recommendations and not seeing any follow through. (Be sure to look for this functionality when you select dashboard software!)
If you’ve determined that a dashboard is the right step for your organization, you need to ask these four questions persistently:
Coming back to these prompts will keep you on track and moving forward. Best of luck!
Ted is a Founder and Managing Partner of ClearPoint Strategy and leads the sales and marketing teams.