There is a saying “If you build it, they will come”. In the movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner builds a baseball field in the middle of nowhere, and the old time ball players do indeed come to play on his field of dreams.
With White Boards, “if you track it, that will change it”. Oh well, mixed metaphor I guess, but you get the idea.
At one fast growing company where I was CFO we had white boards all over the place. Every department was tracking its activity: number of applications processed, number of sales, number of phone calls handled, and so on. In the chairman’s office there was a huge white board that tracked how long it took to pay insurance claims. You know what? Every time we started tracking something and posting the result on a big white board for all the world to see, it got better.
At one company, on the one big whiteboard in the midst of the sales call center, we tracked multiple statistics that everyone could see. By sales person name we showed number of calls made, number of inbound calls received, number of proposals sent, and number of sales orders received. We tracked it for every day of the week, weekly total, prior week total, month to date total. Every sales person could see how they compared with everyone else. It was powerful data, and a powerful motivator. Nobody wanted to be last on the list. People changed their behavior and did more work, once we started posting the data on the white board.
I have clients that track sales orders, backlogs, number of jobs scheduled. You name it, we can track it. When you track it, and show it to everybody, they respond. And the results change. It’s like magic.
Dashboards have become the “White Board” of the financial reporting business. Every month many companies prepare a dashboard of their critical financial results. Just like the dashboard on your car that tracks fuel, speed, engine status (no red lights please), airbag, seat belts fastened?, you can see at a glance how things are going. Some financial dashboards I have seen track income, sales, budget versus actual expenses, accounts receivable balances, backlog, whatever the owner wants and needs to see at glance. For one of my clients, we track and report net liquidation value (Cash + A/R – A/P – Accruals – Debt).
You can use a white board to track statistics to show all of the employees, or some of the employees, or you can track a single user white board for yourself. The point is: if you track it, that will change it. White Board Magic.