Forward Facing Dashboards

Forward Facing Dashboards (FFD)…

Start with measureable weekly activities according to Dan Barnett, CEO and Owner of The Primavera Company. His workshop on Make or Break Execution: The Core of Success starts with the question “What causes your sales to happen?” After a 30 year career with Pillsbury, Nestle and Vistage International, Barnett is passionate that you need to find the one thing that has to be done extraordinarily well in order to achieve your vision. He states …”…you are what you tolerate!” As owner, president or CEO, you are where you are to set expectations, right. Ask yourself “…are you moving toward your vision at the pace you want?” Have you and your management team figured out “what matters most”! If you don’t like your answers, than focus on what your make or break is and set up KPIs that focus on what matters most.

As for the value chain concept, Barnett suggests you work on 1st things 1st and 2nd things never. Your CFO or accounting team can provide you all the rear view mirror charts and graphs (Revenue, Gross Margin or EBITDA, Acct’s Receivable,) you want yet windshield or forward facing KPIs are a lot harder to select and prioritize. FFD targets that are measured weekly can be monitored and corrected quicker than monthly or quarterly. A 2% correction at the weekly meeting is a lot easier and doable than that same correction after a month. Think about the loss of revenue and profit because it took 3 weeks to determine what was broken? Plus how much easier would it be to course correct a little vs. a lot? Think about the benefit of weekly meetings and having those in charge report out on those make or break activities. Set weekly and 13 week or quarterly targets that reach and exceed your annual goals. Spend 30 minutes reporting out weekly performance. Hold your people accountable and top level management should be attending this weekly Forward Facing Dashboard (30 minute) Meeting (FFDM). This is a report out meeting and not one that gets bogged down with issues, explanations or finger pointing.

At the end of that meeting suggest that those behind their plan, name them, should stay for the Rapid Action Team Meeting (RATM) that should follow immediately afterward. Invite others that feel they have something to contribute. The concept is immediate course correction. Yes, 30 minutes or less is desirable. At the RATM, push for fresh thinking, innovation towards those that are behind in their results, what resources are needed, etc. End with individual actions required by the next meeting to turn the short fall around.

Dashboards start out as simple excel spreadsheets showing activity results against plan. Weeks listed vertically and actions or events listed horizontally. Activities, units, dollars against plan should be targeted. In time Charts and graphs will add to the story as you create traction with this concept.

Barnett wraps up his workshop by saying No Vision too Distant – No Detail too Small. My members and guests gave Dan a 4.8 rating out of 5 in both content and delivery. Now the challenge is what are they going to do different?

  • 1st is to rethink their Vision Statement. Possible have a simple slogan or target for employees, such as 30/30 which means 30% growth and 30% profit.
  • 2nd is determine what drives your sales
  • Select several activities that drives sales and drill down to create weekly measurements
  • Schedule your Forward Facing Dashboard Meeting – weekly for 30 minutes
  • Start your Rapid Action Team Meeting immediately after your FFDM

Now my challenge to you…when are you going to schedule your 1st Forward Facing Dashboard Meeting?

Published by edstillman

I grew up in Carlsbad, north San Diego County, lost my dad as a teenager, went into the USAF for four years and hired on with 3M in 1969. Received my AA from Santa Barbara City College, BA and Masters from Redlands University and after 33 plus years, I retired from 3M in 2002. As I look back on my life, I have been creating myself and developing my skill sets to be a business coach and a Vistage Chair. I am president of SEOT, a "personal improvement" consulting firm spending most of my time working with Central Texas executives running small to medium size for-profit companies who are focusing on improving their profitability greater than their competition. My area of interest is assisting senior executives in creating a better balance between business commitments and personal relationships. I also facilatate three leadership labs each consisting of a dozen owners, presidents and CEOs. We meet monthly both in a group setting as well as in a 1-to-1 coaching session. Our focus is to sharpen each others' skills in becoming better leaders, making better decisions and taking ourselves and companies to that next level. Who are we? My members are experienced top executives who recognize that they don’t have all the answers and who actively seek the company of successful peers—both to give and receive insights and ideas. My members mine the 200 plus years of chief executive experience that comes together in our monthly meetings and members are eager to offer their own experience and insights in the process. As a group, we spend our time exploring topics members can't discuss anywhere else. My members have many other places where they can engage in idle, "cocktail party" chatter. Our mission is to provide the setting for discussing the "undiscussable." Where or who can you go to for confidential, honest feedback to assist you in minimizing your personal "Worry List"?

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