Photo by dawnhops

I have touched the subjects of information, vital signs and the right way of measurement many times in this blog. That is why I rejoiced when I saw a post by Seth Godin titled: “Dashboards“. The idea is to create new and improved ways to present important information in real-time. Godin presents it from a marketing perspective. But it is just as applicable from a manager’s perspective.  An interesting quote:

Or consider the ambient dashboards that have been built in surprising ways. One company put pinwheels on a VPs desk. When sales went up, the pinwheels spun faster.

Just curious: what do you think would happen to energy consumption if every car registered in the US was required to have a digital mileage readout installed?

Imagine that you could sit at your table and see how each and every one of your employees is doing… that your dashboard will be able to show you the vital signs of your organization and employees. Imagine that your employees could see it as well, and get an instant validation for their efforts.

Of course when we design these dashboards we need to think about all the challenges that were mentioned in my other posts and in Godin’s one. What do we measure? We should be careful not to measure something just because it is there and available. We should think of the affects that the dashboard has on our decision and frame of thinking. Taking Godin’s example: do we really want to put sales as our vital sign? How will that effect decision making?

Challenges notwithstanding, I am pretty sure this is where management of people is going. Not only balanced scorecards that are discussed every quarter, but continues attention to details in real-time. The questions that this approach will raise cannot be predicted. We should especially be careful from short term attention this could create. But I am confident, that it will help us create a much needed culture of greatness.


4 Responses to “Dashboards”

  1. Amit Chandna Says:

    This is one issue I have faced very closely, in the last project I was managing, for a Fortune 100 retailer in the U.S, we were working on developing executive dashboards. The dashboard had existed for many years probably since 1995, but there were so many numbers and KPI’s on the dashboard, nobody even knew how they were being collected. These KPI’s were then used to award or punish the store employees. Hence cheating on KPI’s or rather managing the KPI’s had become the norm. So the project I was working on put a different spin on the KPI dashboard by focusing on very few select KPI’s which were very customer centric. It was also decided not to use the KPI’s as a means for incentivizing or punishing. The project was still being executed as I headed down under, hopefully would have made some difference to thousands of store employees.

  2. sherfelad Says:

    Hey Amit,
    Happy to see you are reading the blog.
    What you are saying is fascinating and demonstrates all of the points I raised in the post. If you measure people in a certain way, we should not be surprised they act accordingly. Thus, we should consider how we measure and especially what we measure. From my limited experience, many times, it is the wrong thing. Just because it is easy. So the challenge here is not only technological (although it certainly is), but also managerial.
    Would love to hear more about this story.
    Thanks again, hope to see you here again,

  3. Derek Irvine, Globoforce Says:

    What if that dashboard could show you how well your employees are doing at demonstrating your company values and delivering against your company’s strategic objectives? It’s possible through strategic employee recognition that let’s anyone in the organization recognize colleagues or subordinates for actions or behaviors that reflect the values or contribute to the objectives. In this way managers can see (in a simple chart) how not only their individual employees are doing, but the group, division or even organization as a whole.

    More on this concept (and real world examples) here: http://globoforce.blogspot.com/2009/06/change-management-success-stories.html

  4. sherfelad Says:

    Hey Derek,
    Thanks for your reply.
    Some of the examples are very impressive. I know my experience in this field is limited, but I wish we could see more projects like this and more than that more understanding from managers to the importance of such measures. As your comment and post shows, we are on the right track!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: