Step Away From the Dashboard!

Balance ScorecardHere’s a question for you. Is the mission control center of your organization centered on a set of dashboards or balanced scorecards?

In other words, when a crisis is about to hit (or has already hit) how do you react? Do you run to the dashboard to see what’s happening?  If this even remotely describes you or your organization I come with good news… it’s never too late to change!

Go to Gemba

Instead of having a “go to dashboard” mentality, a lean leader attacks problems by having a “go to gemba” mentality.

The Japanese word gemba means the place the work is actually done. It could be the shop floor, or the front office, or zone C in a restaurant. It’s where the action is.  And it’s precisely where we, as leaders, must be as often as possible – most especially in times of crisis.

Dashboards Are Fine

Don’t get me wrong, dashboards and scorecards are fine. I’ve used them, and continue to use them, with a lot of success. But nothing, and I do mean nothing, can replace actually visiting the place the work is done.

After all, the last time I checked… balanced scorecards and fancy conditional formatted dashboards rarely offer suggestions for how to get out of the crisis at hand.

Do you agree?

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2 Comments

  1. Scott Williams

    September 3, 2008 - 7:44 am

    yes, I agree. I do think it is important to have metrics and dashboards in place. If you don’t measure it you cannot improve it, right? But I definitely agree with the Go to the Gemba attitude.

  2. Chris

    September 3, 2008 - 7:45 am

    We have a monthly “dashboard” presentation for each product line, but our area is one of the few that is paying attention to the raw data going into the dashboard on a daily basis in order to shortcut the detection of a problem and the problem solving process. We tend to have a 1-3 day lag versus a 1 month lag in our problem solving.