Dashboard

Are we doing our business & profession with the required paraphernalia? Are we doing business of a large enterprise in the same manner we handled trade when we were a mom & pop store? Has the control mechanism changed or is it plain gut feel, intuition, & personal intellect. Check the way you monitor your enterprise. Now let us examine how a Pilot flies an airplane.

The pilot had to reach the airport in an hour’s time, and the drive seemed to be perfect. He slipped in his best music CD, the weather was romantic and he cruised in the highway. He kept in touch with his dear one’s on his handheld and bid them a goodbye. An exciting career spread over a spectrum of cities & diverse people on a daily basis. Chartering unknown routes give an excitement to a pilot. He saw the speedometer of his car and knew he was well within limits. He saw the rear view mirror for the speeding motorist and gave way. The sign on the left signalled road humps to slow down the motorist. He could see the road at a clear distance, manoeuvre his steering and move ahead. The car moved like a song.

The pilot had to see the rear view mirror, the sign on the road, the speeding motorist, and the speed breakers and could communicate on his handheld. The drive was mostly out of his personal view, hearing zone and judgement. He had a clear intuition towards the traffic and driving was natural. Relate this to your life. How was your drive to office today? You would also have used the mirrors, handheld, signboards etc.

The pilot reached the aircraft, and the bird was ready to kiss the skies. He sat in his seat sipping a hot cup of cocoa and exchanged greetings with his colleagues. The hostess entered the cockpit to communicate. As the pilot sat in his chair, he could neither have a rear view mirror, nor a handheld to communicate. He could neither see the road signs nor the speed breakers. Yet he had to steer the aircraft to reach people, hopes and tasks from one city to another. All the driving skills he had in the car would only get him to the airport, thereafter he had to get into a different skillset.

All the skills you had to reach your business till here could bring you to this position. Thereafter an entrepreneur requires a different skillset. The pilot had to depend on a dashboard, an ATC communication system, a host of equipment’s to monitor air-conditioning in the aircraft, a different level of responsibility, new safety guidelines. His intuition and gut feel had to be married to science, systems, aviation technology and years of training. Yet, he could still slip in a CD and listen to his favourite tunes. Yet, he could go places and reach his targets.

Similarly, when an enterprise grows the earlier gut, intuitive capability still works. Yet, there is a need for additional resources. The leaders or driver of business cannot just see the transactions and operate; he would need to see a larger and well-controlled picture. The driver needs different tools to navigate the new heights. The leader needs new systems to control his operations.

As the commerce in your establishment grows there needs to evolve a reporting mechanism. You cannot drive a 10 branch unit the similar manner one runs a single shop business. Reporting systems, control systems needs to evolve and would need to be improvised over the period and growth trajectory. Dashboards, Management information reports, and red flag system should add to the gut feel, intuition and personal intellect.

Not even for once I am undermining the important of a personal acumen. That is a primary, predominant and one of the dominating aspects to fly in business. Yet, this personal strength has to be coupled with reporting & control mechanism.

As the organization propels to larger transaction base, spreads its wings in different locations & crosses the seas, reporting staff increase from the chosen few to a hierarchy of org-charts, product line expands, pricing policies enter and an array of consultants opine – the playground has changed. This game requires a different mind-set.
The new mind set should have more of controls in the form of reports. A dashboard displaying compliances of procedures should evolve. Periodic reporting meetings should add to across the counter surprise checks. Monthly accounting reports should add to the occasional surprise view of the party ledgers. Budgets should add to the thumb-rule cash monitoring. Pricing systems and technology should add to the market feel. Market research should add to your gut about the market. Feasibility studies should add to your acumen. Consultant’s opinions should add to your business knowledge.

As you can observe in the entire above paragraph, there is only ‘addition’. That indicates, a leader should only augment his resources and not reduce his personal business thought process. His basic culture of doing business would remain. The values remain stagnant, yet the process evolves. Technology should be used to a large extent in such situations.
Lot of data, information and analysis is required to run today’s complex maze of business. Yet a wealth of information or overload of information can also create poverty of attention. There should be a healthy balance.

Just check on your business. Are you driving the airplane using the same method of driving your car? The way you drive your car should be different from the way you drive your plane.
The world is ready for abundance; money would be the natural by-product. Are you seeing the dashboards?

Guru Prasad Makam.

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