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How To Decide What To Include In Your Strategy Dashboard
A strategy dashboard displays your critical information in a single location. Here are four things you need to include to ensure its success.
The strategic planning process is critical for every organization. It allows you to whittle down a long list of strategic measures and goals and determine the few you’ll be focused on for the next five years. But after your strategic plan is in place, you’re likely left wondering how you should summarize all of this information and build out your reports. The answer is creating a strategy dashboard.
A strategy dashboard (also called a management dashboard or a summary report) displays the critical information needed to manage an organization—like goals, critical measures, projects, and action items—in a single location or template.
When you’re equipped with a reporting application tailor-fit to the needs of your company, you can create great reports with incredible ease.
Before you create a strategy dashboard, you’ll want to consider the following details:
- Who is my audience? In other words, who needs to see the information on the strategy dashboard?
- What are the goals, measures, and projects most pertinent to those people? This will inform what makes up the bulk of your dashboard.
- What business problem are we solving for? A strategy dashboard should include the details that are most important to your leadership team and exclude information that takes too deep of a dive.
In order to ensure the information on your dashboard is easily digestible, it’s important to keep the following things in mind.
1. Tell a story with your dashboard.
We’ve seen many elegant dashboards with perfectly appointed color schemes and modern layouts… that simply don’t convey the right message. A dashboard may be enticing—but that doesn’t mean it is easily understood.
This is something you should avoid fervently. In fact, we recommend you create an “ugly” dashboard first! You want to be sure that it will add value and tell the story of your strategy in clear and simple terms before spending time on how it looks. Consider your audience, and be sure you’ve included the appropriate level of detail. (And don’t be afraid of white space! Your dashboard doesn’t need to be chock-full of tons of charts and text to be effective.) Only once you’re done with the content should you begin making it visually pleasing.
2. Enable your target audience to make quick insights.
Most organizations share their strategy dashboard across the entire company. In order for all of your company’s employees and the leadership team to draw quick insights, the dashboard needs to be well-organized. Here are a few tricks to help make this a reality:
- If you’re using software to create your dashboard, provide your users with a way to isolate goals, projects, or measures for a more simplified look at one area of your strategy.
- Always consider the business problem you’re trying to solve with your dashboard. For example, an airline may have a number of operational measures (like boarding times, mechanical difficulties, etc.), but the executive team may be more concerned with revenue from emerging markets.
- Avoid analytical information or overly complex technical details. Unless you’ve had issues with confusion or lack of clarification in the past, senior leadership likely doesn’t need to know, for example, that your company’s servers have “97% uptime.” Instead, they need to be privy to details that are directly linked to your most critical objectives, measures, and projects.
3. Be selective with what you include in your charts.
Remember, anyone in your organization (and particularly anyone on your senior leadership team) needs to be able to quickly scan your strategy dashboard and understand the contents immediately. Thus, a good rule of thumb is to include legends for all of your charts, while also ensuring your charts are simple enough to understand without them. This is what sets a strategy dashboard apart from an analytical dashboard—and this is extremely important to keep in mind if you want your dashboard to be successful.
4. Gather feedback along the way.
Creating your dashboard should be an iterative process. Along the way, as you’re working toward your final draft, be sure to gather input from those who you consider to be the dashboard’s primary audience. That way, when the final product is complete, they’ve already bought into the process and approved of its contents. (Note: Keeping a digital only version of this dashboard will allow you to make modifications without causing disruption of the leadership team. Digital versions should be able to scroll on any device so you are not limited by the size of a piece of paper.)
Ready to get started?
With ClearPoint’s scorecard software, you can manage your perspectives, themes, objectives, measures, and initiatives in a timely and accurate manner, and create custom reports with a few clicks. Additionally, you can create multiple strategy dashboards for different audiences quickly and accurately. Take a tour to learn more about how ClearPoint can help you with your strategy dashboard.