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Clear is Kind: The Role of Dashboards and Reporting in Leading Change

Clear is Kind: The Role of Dashboards and Reporting in Leading Change

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Organizations in every industry are undergoing change initiatives, whether market-driven, customer-driven, or operational. To succeed, you’ll need employee engagement and support for well-defined, measurable goals. That’s where dashboards come in.

Dashboard reporting hits on some of the major trends in many industries today:

But at the heart of it, it’s about clarity. And clear is kind. To best support your employees through an organizational transformation, you will need to connect the dots between their work, impact on the customer, and overall business goals. Shared KPIs on a visible dashboard can help accomplish this.

What to keep in mind when creating a dashboard

  • There may be no such thing as too much transparency, but there is too much data. Too many metrics make them meaningless. Aim for a few forward-looking metrics at the top level.
  • Check your assumptions. Are you being inclusive in how you share your metrics? Financial language, internet access, and other barriers may limit who sees and understands company-wide reports.
  • The numbers speak for themselves. However you spin them, the right metrics should speak loud and clear.
  • Take a cue from public companies. If you were to issue an annual report to all your stakeholders, what would you measure? Your employees are your stakeholders.
  • Accountability is initially uncomfortable. Dashboards can initially create some concerns and anxiety. In setting a forward-looking, proactive tone, they’ll have the information they need to be empowered to take action. Over time, this can even create a sense of healthy competition, between manufacturing pods or sales teams, for example.
  • Live dashboards save busywork. Management is often drowning in reporting. Get out of excel and look at what systems integration and data hygiene work needs to be done to streamline your reporting.
  • Tell the story. As you get started, provide the context. What’s the industry benchmark? How are you trending? Employees will build analytical muscles over time and better understand their role in hitting targets.

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What we have learned about dashboard reporting

In some companies we work with, digital transformation is creating the opportunity and the need for more meaningful, integrated dashboards; while in others, the reverse is true: they’re moving more and more of their activities to digital dashboards to increase transparency.

One recent example: in aligning multiple sales teams around a new sales process, we’ve implemented a CRM, sales, and marketing platform that now allows for a single shared dashboard and forecasting.

In another, the integration of their CRM and ERP allows for a single, company-wide dashboard on safety, quality, and revenue.

A few things we’ve learned along the way: 

  • Clear Goals & Accountability – To engage and make changes based on your dashboard, your team needs to understand which metrics they are responsible for and the actions they can take to move the needle.
  • Tool Training – If you’re relying on CRM data for your reporting, you need to ensure your team understands and is using the CRM in the same way. If you’re rolling out new reporting or dashboards, take the time for a refresher on required fields and data hygiene.
  • Integration and Cooperation—With new functionality like custom objects, it’s easier than ever to integrate multiple systems for a single dashboard, but this requires cross-functional cooperation and clear business goals for IT.
  • Stakeholder buy-in—Any change to reporting requires agreement on timing and content to truly cut down on manual labor. Get consensus and train on how to dig deeper into the data on demand.

Clear, actionable reporting can be easier—but it can create challenges in people, process, and technology. Download our Digital Transformation guide for practical tips on overcoming top challenges.

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