Biceps, abs and quads. Every time I ask someone what key muscle groups receive most attention in gym sessions, the answers include these three large, visible muscle groups with an embarrassed chuckle. Yet business performance management can be approached in a remarkably similar way.
Most companies produce colorful dashboards to visualize their performance. Dashboards have evolved somewhat. A specific trend I see is the increasing use of round graphs that look like the dials on a sports car dashboard. These are replacing the linear graphs that have been a staple for so long. But while they are in a new format, the graphs still show the same basic information. And this information still focuses mainly on total sales, total gross profit, total cash flows etc. These and other metrics do an incredible job of visualizing where the company has already been.
My concern though is with what is not shown.
In this blog series I will outline 5 ways to improve your company’s business performance management by answering the following questions:
- How about the behavioral or qualitative elements of the overall business model? Those pesky ones that are so important to overall business health yet defy easy measurement?
- How about looking not only at the end result of all the effort in the company? But also the behind-the-dashboard work that led to those results?
- How about the description of intangible results such as the refinement of certain processes? The documentation and re-evaluation of existing business processes?
- How about the balance between qualitative and quantitative actions? And an understanding of how these actions support each other mutually?
- How do you tie the Sales dashboard graph to the performance of people who are removed from these graphs? To those who form the backbone of the company but whose work cannot show up in a set of KPI’s or graphs?
The numbers on the dashboards should always be an outcome of a whole group of people working together towards a common, overarching purpose. Overall purpose, like overall health, should consist of a series of layered purposes. These purposes need to align all the way through your organization. It should be the result of all of the moving parts of the business model (or body) working together. A golden thread should be clearly established to connect all activities and focus on this overarching purpose.
Ask yourself the following questions:
How would the biceps, abs and quads of your business function if the organs were missing? If the feet and hands and overall health were not there?
Now ask these same questions about your company:
What if elements of your organization are asked to collectively produce results, but their actions indicate that these elements are not fully synchronized? Do you have areas of non-performance? Or areas that are working independent of the rest of your business model?
If you think your company may be struggling with any of of the above, then it is time to do something about it.
Stay tuned for details on this as I explore them further in upcoming blog posts.