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Norm Bilsbury, Ph.D. | Champaign, IL

New Cars, Key Metrics & Your Company's Dashboard

Have you noticed the most recent car commercials? What are they selling to the consumer these days?

Consider that the outside of a car, a frame with four wheels, has remained unchanged for over a century now and we are constantly inundated with ads. After growing up with cars, we all understand what a car does and why we need one. Yet, the car industry still feels the need to educate us. Why?

And while the outside design hasn’t really changed conceptually, the inside has evolved thousands of times. Here is an interesting question. Why and how?

The answer is that they have changed on the inside in many ways, but probably the place of greatest change is the dashboard. This is because dashboards of the past, while helpful, were essentially inadequate in the amount and type of critical information they provided to the driver.

For example, I had a 1988 Jeep Wrangler for 15 years and I loved that car. I put over 275,000 miles on it. I bought it used in 1991 and it had a great dashboard for a Jeep. It told me all the basics, or at least what I thought I wanted to know at the time—fuel, oil, engine temp, rpm’s etc.

And while I was satisfied with the metrics it provided to me at the time, there were other problems I was not aware of that my 1991 dashboard did not solve for me. Back then, we used this thing called a “map” when traveling to new or unfamiliar destinations. I used to drive with it on my lap. I would look down and up constantly making sure I wouldn’t miss an exit or a turn. Mile markers were the “gates” which helped me know if I was on track.

Today’s dashboards are so much more beautiful. LED’s, LCD screens, and electronic displays with navigation make driving so much simpler, less stressful, and a better experience. But beauty alone isn’t why today’s dashboards are better.

Today’s dashboards fundamentally provide drivers a better experience because they solve a problem I didn’t know I had back in 1991. Today’s dashboards provide navigability.

Question: Do you love the "navigability metrics" of your company?

Would you agree that the satellite navigation capability in your car is an amazing tool? Think about it, all you have to do is plug in your destination and it plots the most efficient and effective route to get you there.

What if your “company dashboard” could provide you with the same kind of navigation capability to help your team or company reach their fiscal destination? Wouldn’t that be amazing? What if you could punch in 15% growth and boom, you could get there?

Sure, if only it were that easy.

Explained within this month’s video is a tool that I suggest you consider adding to your company dashboard. We call it the “Sandler Success Triangle”. It has three key metrics that track your company’s dashboard. For this tool to work, each manager should really define what success looks like on their team and break it down into those three components. Then they can add the tool to their dashboard and track on a monthly basis, to see if they are en-route to make it to their desired destination.

Three Corners of the Sandler Success Triangle

  1. Behavior - If you are scratching your head and wondering why your goals are not being achieved start here. Start by asking: “What behaviors are my people doing?”. Like mile markers on a map that act as gates to understand if you are headed toward your destination, asking the behavior question will bring to light if the initial “mile markers” so to speak are being achieved. Success builds upon activity. If it isn’t being achieved, we have to ask what are people doing? And what are they not doing? Only then can you understand if you are on course to achieve your goals.
  2. Attitude - Attitude might be better described as “beliefs”. People act on something because they believe an action will produce a result. Said another way, if people aren’t acting on something, it’s likely because they don’t believe that action will produce a result. So either negative or positive, the fundamental issue is their attitude about a behavior. They do it or not, because of what they believe about it. For example, elite swimmers believe a certain amount of yardage must be swam each day if they want to achieve a fitness level to win. This is why they put in the long hours of behavior to get the result they want. As a leader in a company, if your people aren’t doing the things they should be doing it might be because they don’t believe in it…though they probably will never tell you this, or admit it.
  3. Technique - Lastly, we need technique to be a part of the success triangle. We can do a behavior and do it with the right attitude, but do it the wrong way. If that happens, we fail when it comes to technique. Many training programs are built on providing technique solutions. But technique alone is inadequate. You have to get technique correct. But the behavior has to be executed, and it has to be executed with the right attitude.


In sum, consider adding: Behavior, Attitude, and Technique as metrics to your leadership dashboard. Like Google Maps on your phone, these three gauges will help you to better understand if your team is on track to accomplish their goals.

Our lives our so complex these days, I’m all for simplicity. But I don’t like simplicity if it doesn’t’ give me the horsepower and direction I need to solve a problem. This is why I love the Sandler BAT Tool.

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