This past week, my family and I took a family trip during the kids’ fall break and drove to Washington, D.C. It was a great trip (thanks for asking!), and we created some good memories.
As St. Louis is more than a short drive from D.C., I had plenty of time to reflect on the road trips from my youth and how they compared to now. My parents, my sister, and I weren’t quite the Griswold’s, but we had our fair share of “did that really just happen?!” moments. I can remember, in no particular order, the shock of getting bit by a mule that was blocking the road in South Dakota, enduring no A/C through the heat of an Alabama summer, and having a highly animated “conversation” with a guy who didn’t speak English but had just rear-ended our camper in northern Italy. Good times…
All craziness aside, one of the differences between then and now is how we got from point A to point B. Back in the day, we relied a road atlas or giant paper map with yours truly as the designated navigator. But last week, we relied on GPS and a map app on my smart phone to get us there and back again. This is just the simple evolution of technology and one that we probably don’t think twice about. We have a destination in mind – the only difference is how we manage to get ourselves there.
I wonder, though, how many of us still rely on the technology equivalent of paper maps for navigating our WFM strategic roadmaps?
One of the most valuable outputs of an Axsium Health Check is strategic roadmap based on your current state, the technologies you have, your pain points, and many other factors to create a WFM “destination” for the future. It is an incredibly valuable exercise for the organization to get a clear picture of where they need to go and how to get there. We have a team right now working with a client who is wrapping up execution of the final pieces of a five year plan we created for them back in early 2010, right on schedule!
Something that clients don’t consider as much, though, is how they will be following that roadmap and tracking their progress against it. Too often, they treat it like a road atlas, opening it up now and then to see if they can figure out where they are and which exit to take on the freeway. Sometimes they get off course and struggle to get back on track, but they think that is okay because they are still following their roadmap. To a certain extent, they are right, but this isn’t 1980 and there are better, more efficient ways to get to your destination!
The smart phone GPS equivalent of following a WFM strategic roadmap can take several different forms. But all of them involve measurable targets associated with each major milestone. Using data metrics to track progress tells you in real time if you are on track. Just like your GPS tells you that a turn was missed and it is “recalculating”, WFM progress metrics tell you if an adjustment needs to be made before you start to get way off track.
Easier said than done? Actually, tools like the Axsium Balanced Scorecard combined with metrics from your systems (maybe even a vendor Analytics solution) fit this gap perfectly. No matter what tools you use, spend time on these three steps:
1. Create measureable goals that align to the WFM strategic roadmap milestones.
2. Gather the data that shows the progress towards those goals and report those metrics.
3. Regularly review the metrics to stay on track.
This is the equivalent of using a GPS to get to your WFM destination. Navigate your roadmap like a modern savvy driver and it will help you keep from getting lost on the back roads of South Dakota, where there is a mule waiting to chomp on your shoulder!