This month we’ll be discussing the PSE Dashboard. The Dashboard is a tool designed to keep certain numbers in front of you every week. It will help you make decisions and identify issues before they become full-blown fires.
It’s a simple tool with 5 to 15 metrics tracked every week, in your Weekly Meeting. In this case, less is more. You want to keep it simple, ensuring that you get enough information to be able to make sound decisions, but not so much that you overwhelm yourself.
Imagine you’re on a remote island.
When deciding which numbers you want to see every week, imagine that you are on a desert island and this was the only communication you have with the office. Which metrics do you need to see to know if everything is running well in your absence? You don’t get to ask any questions. You just see these numbers.
These numbers will be all that you have to know how the company is doing in your absence. They should be able to let you know, at a glance, whether everything is running smoothly or not. When choosing these numbers think about what information you need to know on a regular basis, then determine which numbers can show that to you on a weekly basis.
You’ll get to know the numbers better and better the more you use the tool. You’ll go through a few iterations to find just the right numbers to be looking at every week. Over time you may realize that some of the metrics you start out with aren’t actually telling you what you thought they would. Or perhaps they just aren’t an accurate representation of what you’re trying to measure.
Track lead, not lag, measures.
Ideally, you’ll track lead measures, meaning numbers that are indicative of current action and not past outcomes. This way you can affect the outcome if something is off track. If you only have access to lag measures, like revenue or profit, you don’t have a chance to influence the end result. Those numbers are already set and there’s no going back.
Lead measure track activity as it is happening, before the results are achieved. Metrics like number of calls made. Or number of website visits. Or number of customers that purchase add-on services. These numbers give you a heads up about what the outcome might be at the end of the quarter.
You may need to do some experimenting to find the right numbers here. Sales lead indicators are usually pretty straightforward. For example, the number of in-person sales meetings a person has is usually a good indicator of how many sales that person will have at the end of the month. If they are not meeting their in-person meeting goals, it will be hard for them to meet their sales goals. But for other areas, it can be difficult to identify the correct cause and effect for something. If you’re trying to find a lead indicator for employee retention, that will take a little more creativity.
Knowing these numbers lets you ignore them.
Or at least to not stress over them day in and day out. It gives you the freedom to just let them be. You can take a glance at them and quickly know if things are running smoothly. Which lets you focus on your 90 day priorities instead.
If all your Dashboard numbers are green, there are no issues there. So you don’t have to worry about them and you can keep focused on the more important issues. Your attention can stay on the tactical without having to stop and fix a problem.
Once the Dashboard has been fully fine-tuned, you can have confidence that it will throw up a red flag if there is a problem coming down the pipe. You’ll be looking at a running 13 weeks of these metrics so that you can start to see any trends or patterns in the numbers. These lead indicators will give you a heads up when the embers start to get hot, but before there’s ever actually any flame to the fire.
You can trust that these metrics will warn you if necessary. Are there any numbers that are consistently missing their target? If so, what is that telling you? How can you proactively affect those metrics in order to get your company where you want to go? And you can trust that they’ll let you know if everything is smooth sailing. Giving you the ability to focus on investing in the growth of your company and not just dealing with issues all day.
What gets measured gets done.
You’ll be focusing on this every week, so you know that you will pay attention to these numbers. Think of all the numbers that you would like to see even if you don’t know exactly how you would get a number for that yet. What are the metrics that you think are most important to look at on a weekly basis?
But keep it simple. We recommend only tracking 5 -15 for two main reasons. One, you want the numbers to tell you something of significance. You don’t want your brain to shut down from data overload. Too many numbers will cause the important information to get lost.
And two, you need to be able to populate these numbers every week. If there are too many numbers it becomes too time consuming to gather. You want to find 5 to 15 numbers that are relatively easy to calculate. If it becomes too complicated you’ll stop using it.
It will take some massaging. You’ll need to experiment with what metrics you’re tracking and maybe even with how you’re tracking them. And some of the numbers you’re interested in seeing will change over the course of the use of this tool, but eventually, it will be a great snapshot of your company’s performance. Giving you peace of mind that everything is running smoothly. Or helping you identify problem areas before they get too cumbersome.