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How to Design a Performance Dashboard

Performance Metric Design

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How to Design a Performance Dashboard

A client of ours was battling to get a grip on his business performance, because he didn’t have a performance dashboard that would give him real-time visibility of how his business was performing.  A performance dashboard gives visibility to a simplified version of complex data sets.

He said that he was waiting for his BI team to build him a dashboard with all the info he needed, but it was taking too long, which led to more stress.

He was also frustrated with the feeling that the business was not performing and overwhelmed with not knowing what to track.

Too many metrics

He spoke about all the normal financial performance metrics, the construction project progress, new projects in the pipeline, etc.

Knowing that our client has a keen interest in aviation, I said to him “Imagine yourself sitting in your favorite aircraft… describe the instruments you see”.  He showed me a picture of a cockpit and told me what he saw.

“Measure what matters” – John Doerr

It is fascinating that with hundreds of instruments, there are six core metrics a pilot uses to fly safely.

Performance Metric Design

We are so obsessed with tracking data, that we miss the point of finding the few right dials to drive our performance.

Start with ONE metric in a performance dashboard

I took out a clean piece of paper and drew a 3×2 matrix with my pen and asked him “What is the ONE thing that causes the most stress for you right now?”

His answer caught me off-guard with its simplicity:

“Getting meeting minutes out is a pain, but it is a legal document, and it delays the team if we don’t get them out in time. If we delay the team, it delays the project, which costs us more and impacts negatively on our profit.”

His first metric was born – getting project minutes out within 48 hours of having the meeting.

The result of measuring this has caused the following thinking and behavior:

  • Plan time after meetings to get the minutes out – stop procrastinating.
  • Are there better ways or tools to do minutes so they can be done quicker and easier?
  • Can someone else do the minutes while he runs the meeting and get them out in 24 hours or less?

The result of one metric has caused him to achieve immediate traction of something that drives his performance and improves profits.

3 Top #bestpractical tips to design a performance dashboard:

  1. Find the top 6 metrics that will drive your business performance (this can grow later).
  2. Make sure it fits onto one A4 page (3×2 matrix).
  3. Start with one metric immediately (the rest will follow in time).


It is better to start tracking one driver of performance immediately, than to wait until you have all the “right” metrics defined, or built in a fancy BI tool.

Remember that perfection is the enemy of good.

This is a single step in our Profit Improvement Signature Solution, where we help business leaders grow their profits in a #bestpractical way.

If you feel stuck in designing your performance dashboard, and want to talk through your thinking, then reach out to us on THIS LINK for a quick Discovery call.

Watch the video here:



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