Leading Indicators that reflect progress toward producing revenue have huge value. But maybe not for the reasons you think. It’s common for a business to have a dashboard full of KPIs, metrics or other measurements of progress. These gauges are reviewed monthly. Or weekly. And in some cases, daily.
I’ve reviewed plenty of corporate scorecards and management systems filled with data.
There is often a great deal of effort invested in producing that data and presenting it in an aesthetically pleasing way. Unfortunately, leaders often focus too much on reviewing the data, setting it aside until it’s time to review the data again. Usually within a terribly short interval. But the value isn’t in tracking the metrics.
The real value in these metrics are the discussions they drive, the decisions you make, and the actions you take from the discussions. It’s about understanding what data is important and which measurements you should really be paying attention to. With leading indicators for revenue, it will take some work to understand which factors portend successful outcomes. When I engage with clients to create their own dashboards, we always spend time digging deep to figure out which measures have the greatest meaning or likelihood of predicting success. I highlight this idea in an
article I wrote for Harvard Business Review several years ago titled The Most Challenging Leadership Job.
There is a section specifically about leading indicators that are predictive of successful growth.
Effective leaders can use metrics to create buy in and traction among their team. When everyone understands why these barometers are important, people will be galvanized to perform the actions required to achieve the results. Try using the metrics you collect to go beyond simply inspecting numbers and reporting, and put them to work driving important conversations about strategy, resource allocation, making improvements, and so forth. Then you’ll be getting real value from your dashboard.