Performance Dashboards

Performance dashboards are very valuable to a slew of professionals far and wide.  They are basically a tool which allows companies to transform their goals and expectations into actual strategies, actions and tasks that are different for each person within the company.  This allows each person to have customized tasks which they must accomplish in order to meet the company’s goals.  They are extremely useful for keeping productivity, understanding and motivation high.  In fact, they can often be the difference between success within a company and failure!

The difference between using performance dashboards and not using them is focus.  Imagine gathering a group of employees and telling them that a certain project must be completed within two weeks or you will lose a very high paying client.  You tell them what the project is and you tell them to get to work with a wave of your hand.  Now, you have employees running around like crazy, three or four of them are working individually on the same part of the project while no one is addressing another part of the project, and everyone is going haywire without any focus.  Goals are not getting accomplished, tasks are not being completed and the project is not going to be finished on time or in an organized manner.  In fact, it could spell destruction for the project, the client and over time, your company! However, if you take this group of employees and break the project down into sections that each and every employee or mini-group can handle, each one is focused on their set task.  When each employee has finished his or her set task, the entire project comes together smoothly!

This is how performance dashboards work within a company and they provide several benefits which increase a company’s productivity, efficiency and even profits.  When each and every person within the organization is focused on specific tasks and goals, things run more smoothly and there is less confusion.  Performance dashboards also allow leaders to monitor the progress of specific tasks as well as find the root of problems within the organization.  With this combination of measuring, managing and monitoring your company, growth and success are much more achievable and easier to reach.  Performance dashboards may be a great tool for companies who feel that they are losing focus and will help them re-establish focus and set important goals and tasks which will lead to success.

Leadership: Who’s Trainable?

The ubiquitous question: Can anybody be trained (or better phrased, learn) to become a leader? From my perspective – NO! Many yes, possibly most, but not anybody.

Another way of asking the question: Who’s trainable and who’s not?

The prerequisite to this entire topic is about intent; given a potential leadership candidate, do they want to become or have the motivation to become a leader of people? This is often forgotten or ignored in the effort of promoting employees into the management ranks.

Given the starting point of a motivated leadership candidate, the following characteristics establish the best scenario for success:

  1. Introspection:  Becoming a leader is a process of learning and development that requires an individual to be open minded about their strengths and weaknesses. This not only requires the ability to accept criticism but to seek out feedback proactively.
  2. Willing to listen and learn:  Growing into a leadership role requires a person to be coachable. Learning from a great leader is a highly rewarding and unforgettable experience.
  3. Big picture thinker:  In addition to having industry expertise, leaders need to place emphasis on finding balance cross-functionally and in relation to organizational objectives and goals.
  4. Responsive versus reactionary:  Running any business is an endless string of solving problems, resolving conflict, and meeting challenges. Leaders set the tone to ensure the best result.
  5. Perspective as a follower:  Leaders start as followers and should never lose perspective on what people need from their manager to reach their potential.
  6. Lifelong learner: Read any biography or autobiography of a great leader and you will find some element of “I never stopped learning”.

Being a “top performer” in a position did NOT make the list. Although it is nice to have it does not provide substantial (enough) value for success as a leader. For followers it helps lend credibility to their manager, however, certain required characteristics necessary to be a super-star contribute to failure as a leader of people.