The truth about dashboards and KPIs


KPIs are metrics to monitor or measure if things are working properly and a dashboard is a summary of those KPIs.

In the last two episodes of my journal I have spoken about silos in organizations and broken them down, rebuilding them in a holistic way where one part is no more important than any other part, or the sum of the whole, seeing the human body as a great thing Example. In order to do this, there has to be some mechanism or way to do it. I have found that gap analysis is the best way.

By definition, a gap analysis in management involves comparing actual performance with the potential of target performance. In other words, you know where you want to be, you know where you are; how do you get there.

One of the best ways to think of it is like building a 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle, or any number of pieces. You know what the final image will look like and you have all the pieces. As with a gap analysis, there is not just one route to the result. I’ve found that there are three ways to build a large puzzle:

  • Build the border first and fill in the rest, the most common practice
  • Lay out all the pieces and find out what is the most complicated to fit together
  • Build known sections, place them in appropriate places and fill in around them

Two other factors required to achieve your final process and achieve your goals are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and a dashboard. I believe we all know or should know what these are.

KPIs are metrics to monitor or measure if things are working properly, and a dashboard is a summary of those KPIs in an aggregated form for ongoing evaluation and trends that are usually taken for granted. Could you run your car without a dashboard? Know your speed or when you’re low on gas, track your miles, when you need an oil change, and even how far you’re getting to your destination?

Believe it or not, dashboards with KPIs can foster team camaraderie as everyone works toward the same goals. Remember, the silos will be rebuilt for:

  • Sharing knowledge
  • cross functionality
  • interoperability
  • standardization
  • accountability

Coming back to the human body as the best example of wholeness, there we have KPIs and dashboards:

  • laboratories
  • Monitored during hospitalization
  • And more

Use gap analysis to rebuild your silos, your puzzle, with your own technique. Make sure you include KPIs and dashboards to monitor ongoing activities, goal achievement and sustainability of results.

Remember, without dashboards and goals, you don’t know where you’re going and when and how you got there.

Don’t run blind!

Programming note: Listen to “Journaling John MD” every Tuesday on Talk Ten Tuesdays at 10 p.m. Eastern.


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