If you are spending most of your time fighting fires rather than increasing the value of your company, then the business is controlling you. One way to understand your business is to have a relevant CEO Dashboard. There are a plethora of visualization platforms available in the market today. However, what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should you incorporate in your CEO Dashboard to help you with decision support? Here are some guidelines to consider when building a CEO Dashboard.
- Strategic vs. Tactical: As a CEO you are not in charge of tactical day to day activities but you are responsible for the vision and how you can steer the company in the next 3+ months at the very least. The CEO dashboard should have a mix of top down value creation metrics and bottoms up operational insights - e.g. You introduced a new service (assessment) about 6 months back. Are you able to increase account penetration of your elite customers with this service?
- Leading versus Lagging indicators: Many businesses use KPI's that give them information of what has happened in the past. While you do need to use the past to make better decisions, you also need to prepare for the future - e.g. Lagging indicator - Revenue Growth YOY; Leading Indicator: Brand Loyalty - your ability to up-sell & cross-sell to existing customers
- Holistic Picture: Do these set of KPI's tell you the whole story or are they are they clustered according to your functions and/or business units? Also, do they give you insights into the cross-functional workings of your company? e.g. As marketing division gets ready to send out promotions, does the manufacturing division have all the required inventory on hand?
- External Indicators: Just keeping a tab on internal workings of your company is not good enough. You need to be aware of external trends such as economic indicators[such as GDP], industry [such as mergers] and competition [such as price wars] so that you are not back in fire-fighting mode.