For years, In Trust and other organizations have promoted the value of dashboard indicators (also called "strategic indicators"). For example, in Spring 2005, Rebekah Basinger wrote about using dashboard indicators in a board's academic affairs committee, and in the Autumn 2007 issue, she explained how to use dashboard indicators to track the work of the development office. (People associated with In Trust's member schools can read the full text of both of these by clicking and then signing in.)

Dashboard indicators
One way to make dashboards very easy to understand is to color-code them using the familiar red, yellow, and green of a traffic signal. On any particular item, green signifies "things are going well," while yellow indicates "look at this more closely." Red, not surprisingly, offers an alert: "This goal is not being met," it yells.

This article from Blue Avocado explains the color-coding system in detail.

Authors Jeanne Bell and Jan Masoaka explain the possibilities:

Imagine getting a dashboard like this at every board meeting. With a glance, board members could see how the organization is doing and start asking the important questions. The board would also be able to discuss what indicators should be added to the dashboard and which might not be necessary. Board committees and task forces could develop their own dashboards for particular projects.

For some boards, this may be worth trying. Is yours one of them?

Read the whole article from Blue Avocado.


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