Create Your Dashboard for Success

Larry Galler

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Driving down the road our eyes frequently scan the vital instruments on the dashboard that monitor speed, fuel level, coolant temperature, and oil pressure. The modern vehicle also has many more devices that constantly monitor various systems for fuel mixture, exhaust gasses, timing adjustment and others. If there is something amiss, sensors trigger the “check-engine” light. As long as the instruments register within their normal range the “check-engine” light stays off and we drive along confidently that we will reach our destination safely and without problems.

Just like an automobile, a business is a complex system with many factors to be monitored. Sales volume, past-due accounts, cash-flow, employee turnover, new customer acquisition, inventory turns, margins, balky vendors, and quality measurements are just a few of the endless number of systems vital to the health of a company. It is difficult, if not impossible to watch all these systems constantly so I advise business owners to create a few, vital measurements to scan daily in the same manner we scan our cars’ dashboard, then delegate a second set of items that others monitor. When things go outside normal levels they are instructed to inform you in the same way the computers in your car turn on that “check engine” light.

Of course each business is unique. Each has different needs and different items to monitor. Ask what is vital to the safety of the company, to smooth, efficient administration, and to increased customer satisfaction. Determine the factors that measure these important aspects of your business.

Design a dashboard to measure activities and tasks that are vital to your business. Monitor the delegated systems that alert you to matters that suddenly become abnormal. With a dashboard and delegated monitoring systems your business will arrive at its destination safely and profitably.

You don’t want your car to run out of gasoline or your business to falter by running out of a vital resource so keep looking at your dashboard.

Larry Galler coaches and consults with high-performance executives, professionals, and small businesses since 1993. He is the writer of the long-running (every Sunday since November 2001) business column, “Front Lines with Larry Galler" Sign up for his free newsletter at Questions??? Send an email to


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