Be a “Star” with Your KPI Dashboard

Sell your positive performance and shine at work.   Present your results in numbers as proof that you have reached your goals and even exceeded expectations.  One of the most effective ways to do that is by having a KPI dashboard.  Let’s review what a KPI dashboard is and how to compose your own.

What is a KPI Dashboard?
A KPI Dashboard is a business management tool that is used to track the performance of a business, department, team, process, and more.  It includes the evolution of the measurements chosen to show how close you are to the goal, and it tells you right away how you are performing compared to previous performances.

Why should you have a KPI dashboard?
You should have a KPI Dashboard because it is a simple resource to quickly review your performance.  These metrics help you drive your strategy on concrete data, not opinions.  Whether you are a team leader, manager, coordinator, or director, having this practice within your work style will help you stand out from the crowd.

Which KPIs should you have on the dashboard?
Many metrics will measure and track your performance, but choose the important ones that will get you closest to the goal.  More about choosing KPIs here.

When you choose which KPIs to include, make sure you include each team member.  This causes them to own each of these metrics and be accountable for each.

How to create a KPI dashboard
A KPI dashboard can be created using a dedicated dashboard tool or on a simple Excel file.  It is up to you which tool best works for your demand and budget.  Within this article, I am going to focus on how to design your own KPI dashboard.

This is the most strategic part of the process, so take your time to research the data you have available to you, how to get it on a regular basis, and the direct impact you have on it.


1)    GOALS:  List your long-term goals.  You usually have 2 or 3 big goals during the year or even a longer period of time depending on your industry.

2)    KPI:  Under each goal, list the key metrics that will determine how far you are from that goal.  These are your KPIs.  You want to have a maximum of 4 or 5 KPIs per goal.  If you have more, think twice about how much they impact that goal.

3)    TIMING:  Determine how often to review these measurements that will guide you to reach your goal.  Each industry will be different.  Read more about that here.

4)    DATA:  Figure out where you will get the data from.  Do you have access to it?  What format does the data have?  Does it need to be manipulated?

5)    DESIGN:  Bring all the data together within an Excel spreadsheet.  Include separate tabs for the actual data that you are collecting and design a special tab for the KPI dashboard.  This will minimize the margin of error and will allow the dashboard tab to read the information off of the database tabs.

6)    TEST DRIVE:  Start using the dashboard and you will notice improvements that will need to be made.  That is to be expected.  Make sure to introduce the dashboard to your team to use and provide you feedback.

7)    UPDATE DESIGN:  Revise the dashboard based on the feedback you receive.

8)    SUMMARY:  Create a summary tab that will be available for sharing with upper management. This will be a quick 3 or 4 KPIs that are shown either weekly or monthly to compare the performance evolution.

9)    FINAL FORMAT:  Before moving on to this step, I suggest using the dashboard you have created in Excel to really evaluate your needs and how you are covering them.  Once you are confident of the dashboard format, feel free to contract a more advanced tool.

Use the KPI dashboard every time you make a decision
When making decisions and driving the team, you always want to be as objective as possible.  The best way to drive the strategy is to read the numbers; they will tell you what to do.  Keep true to them and you will have the team 100% vested to the plan.

Referring to the KPI dashboard often provides:

  •     Objectivity
  •     Proof of performance
  •     Data-based decisions
  •     The possibility to easily getting others “on board”
  •     Empowerment for your team to drive themselves and be accountable

Encourage your team to have some “alone time” with the KPI Dashboard
Each team member handles a piece of the puzzle to make the strategy happen.  Encourage them to visit the dashboard on a regular basis to make sure they are working to improve their performance.  They should set their weekly and longer-term to-do priorities from it.

Who you should share the KPI Dashboard with and how often?
The KPI Dashboard can be simple and complex at the same time, depending on who looks at it.  It is kept within the team since every measurement included is impacted directly by them.  They will be able to change a variable within their performance and see the direct effect on the indicator.  Each team member understands each variable and how they impact the goal.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t share the dashboard with upper management or other departments.  Share the summary of the performance within the dashboard to avoid any confusion.  You should provide a quick glance at the performance and a comparison to previous months and previous months last year.  When sending the report via email, always attach the data with the results and include the summary within the text of the email too.

If at any time more details are required, always present results yourself and walk anyone through them.  It makes a difference!  Part of your success depends on how you present your performance.

Test not having a KPI Dashboard vs having one
If you are not yet convinced about whether having a KPI dashboard is the right solution for you, do a test.  Design a simple dashboard with a few indicators and use it during two weeks.  Every day during the two weeks, go into the dashboard and review the results. Repeat every day and alternate your strategy based on it.

Then go two weeks without having the dashboard and alternate your strategy based on what you believe is happening.  You’ll see a big difference in results!

If you think about it, we all have metric dashboards.  When you are born, your doctor compares your weight and height to the country average.  When you go to college, you compare your grades from each semester to get the GPA that you need.  When you look for your first job, you count the companies you apply to vs. the interviews you get.  All these comparisons are used to understand how you are performing.  The KPI Dashboard uses the same concept, but for your everyday job. Why wouldn’t you use it?

Connie Marianacci is an accomplished professional of e-commerce, marketing and strategy with over 10+ years of experience increasing online productivity, results and effectiveness.  @cmarianacci      

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