Build Your Own Dashboard of Key Indicators

dash

by scott pickard

One of the most important responsibilities of the CEO is to communicate the current and projected future performance of the organization. A well accepted technique for this is called a “dashboard of key indicators.” If you sit on a Board of Directors, you want to see regular updates of key indicators in an easily accessible, simple, visual format. I’ve found that Prezi provides a perfect platform to do this.

Corporations have the capital to purchase and deploy fancy enterprise systems (or cloud-based systems) and the financial staff to take care of this kind of thing. But if you’re an entrepreneur or small business person, you’ve got to figure out a way to do this for yourself. I will show you a way to do this using Prezi and other common off-the-shelf tools (software) that you probably already have access to.

But first, let me show you what the end product can look like and talk about the benefits of using Prezi.

The beauty of the Prezi dashboard

Online, anytime, anywhere, on any mobile device: I think this benefit is pretty self-explanatory. Click on the following link and it will take you to a public dashboard which we can use as a demonstration:

https://prezi.com/ot85bbsaiqon/dashboard

The picture below shows you that a Prezi dashboard looks great on any device: PC, laptop, iPad, and smartphone.

The infinite whiteboard: Prezi is famous for what they call the “infinite whiteboard” concept. The navigation functionality made possible by this is what makes it so powerful and appealing as a presentation tool.

The first thing most users will do is click on the home icon along the right-hand border of the window which will pop the entire dashboard inside the window giving you the big picture overview of the dashboard.

From this vantage you can navigate one of several ways:

Click on the full-screen mode icon and a slide will fill the monitor screen (similar to presentation mode in PowerPoint). This is the preferred mode when making a presentation to an audience.

The user can either manually advance through each slide by clicking on the right or left arrows on the bottom of the window; or, the user can set “autoplay” to one of several different timing intervals.

On any given slide, the user can zoom in or out at will thanks to the “infinite whiteboard” of Prezi. Back-and-forth, zoom in and out, pop back to home, this is the kind of easy flexibility a user wants when navigating a dashboard.

Privacy: You can share online your dashboard using Prezi’s three-level privacy functionality:

  • Private: only you can view and edit.
  • Hidden: you can view and edit. Collaborators can view if they have the link.
  • Public: it can be viewed by the world if they have the link.

DIY dashboard

To get started you need the following:

  • Microsoft Excel spreadsheet
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Adobe PDF maker
  • Prezi

Creating the graphs: Microsoft Excel gives you everything you need to set up all of your key indicator data and then convert that data into visually impactful graphs and charts. Each chart can be copied and pasted into a PowerPoint presentation file as an image.

Once all your slides are transferred into PowerPoint, you then need to “save as” the PowerPoint file as a PDF file. It is true that you can directly import a PowerPoint file into Prezi but I have found that sometimes formatting of the slides can be lost. By converting it to a PDF file, the formatting of each slide is “locked” and when you import the PDF file into Prezi, each slide comes out perfect.

Next, you import the PDF file into your new Prezi presentation space which you have created online. When you do this, Prezi magically unbundles each slide within the PDF file and arranges them separately in their correct original order.

And finally, you click “edit path” in the lower left-hand corner of your Prezi window to then click on each slide in the order you want them presented, and then click “done”.

You have now created a world-class dashboard!

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Adversity Drives Innovation

by scott pickard

Businesses face adversity from time to time which directly impacts profitability, such as:

  • From man-made environmental and safety situations that precipitate regulations requiring costly compliance measures; e.g., the fuel efficiency and general safety regulations imposed on the automobile industry
  • The water and wastewater treatment regulations imposed on manufacturers by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Acts of God and natural global conditions such as drought which is currently affecting much of the agricultural land in production across the world

Each era in our history has had its challenges. The automobile industry has been able to respond to the adversity imposed by fuel standard regulations and over time, improve the quality of the cars and their competitive advantage. Manufacturers have been able to respond to the adversity imposed by water and air-quality regulations from EPA to build new corporate cultures that embrace green and sustainable practices requiring innovation along the way while building goodwill, brand, and competitiveness in the market.

Today, drought is one of the most serious and pervasive adverse challenges facing farming and farm communities worldwide. Instead of waiting for it to finally rain, the farm industry must pursue innovation in several key areas:

  • Storage of water
  • Recycling of wastewater back to subsurface ground and storage
  • Efficient use of water to grow next-generation crops requiring less water

Research is ongoing in all of these areas and when successfully applied, innovation will sprout wherever drought is an issue.

History teaches us that adversity at first may seem like a direct attack to profitability and the sustainability of our businesses, and this typically instigates a stubborn defensive reaction in the beginning. But history also shows us that when companies face adversity head on, people rise to the occasion and solve some very difficult problems and those solutions benefit everyone.

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Building the Integrated Cash Flow Forecasting Spreadsheet

Why is this guy the #1 ranked CEO in the world?

Management and Best Practices CEO CEOs make 300X more than workers, but are they doing 300X the work? performance evaluation What are the metrics for the top performing CEOs? > Board  Is the CEO in touch with the employee rank and file?  Does the CEO have employees' respect? Does the board require the CEO to complete a self-evaluation?  Has the board benchmarked the strategic performance of CEOs at peer companies?  Is the board responsive to the concerns of shareholders about the effectiveness and responsiveness of management?  On what grounds is the board considering firing the CEO? (a) poor company performance; (b) strategic disagreement with the board; (c) personality clashes; (d) consolidation of control due to merger; (e) unwillingness of CEO to comply with a board mandate; (f) personal problems; (g) illegal/improper behavior succession Promoting insiders is a strategy to maintain consistency, whereas hiring outsiders is a strategy for change. Sessions Has the board challenged the heir-apparent to be compared against external candidates?  Has the board been able to observe and evaluate the heir-apparent in representative trial assignments?  Is competition among internal candidates getting out of hand?  Does the board have a healthy collaboration with the incumbent CEO in the succession process?  Has the board established clear performance benchmarks and an exit timetable for the incumbent CEO?  Is the incumbent CEO attracting, hiring, and developing key employees worthy of succession candidacy?  Is there a turnover problem with top management candidates?  Does the incumbent CEO restrict access by the board to top management?  Should the board consider removing the incumbent CEO from the board?  Is the board developing and maintaining a familiarity with top succession candidates within and external to the company?  Is retirement of the incumbent CEO being delayed by lack of a successor? For the incumbent CEO close to retirement, has the board structured a compensation package to incentivize cooperation with a successful transition? interim CEO Does the board have a plan for an interim CEO in the event of a sudden and unexpected departure or death of the CEO? Does the board need to consider an outside turnaround specialist to manage the current crisis in the company? interviews Are we getting continuous improvement after each interview process? | interviews: Conversations from the Corner Office | videos: CEOcast  books/movies, articles, blogs: Steve Jobs: book, movie | CEO Succession Carey | Effective Succession Planning Rothwell Intersections | Poverty/income gap