The Success Tracking Difference (1) : Single Score

In this mini-series, “The Success Tracking Difference“, we are focusing on the differences between the new discipline of Success Tracking and traditional analytics / business dashboards.

The single score is probably the most far reaching difference.

Compare the following images, one of a typical “business dashboard” the other of a single score success tracking program.

A business dashboard tends to feature several data visualisations without enabling the viewer to see a summary of everything in one go. It is designed with “monitoring” in mind – the idea that you are always watching the monitoring dashboard in case something goes wrong.

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A typical business dashboard layout with several graphics competing for attention

A success tracking program, such as the LinkedIn Social Selling Index, on the other hand, is designed for regular check-in and focuses attention on a single number.

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There are many benefits of tracking’s single score approach:

  • Simple to understand – everyone can appreciate a single number
  • Fast personal comparison – you can quickly see if things have changed (gone up or down)
  • Easy to communicate – you can send a single score via SMS text
  • Embeds priorities – you can add another layer of intelligence to the tracking by weighting different metrics and so prioritising some over others
  • Enables peer comparison – you can benchmark and rank yourself against others

The main disadvantage of the single score is that it takes time to design a good one. Working out the relative importance of different metrics is never straightforward. it is the job of the score designer to embed their own expert biases in the weighting. That means each “score algorithm” should be adjusted for the local context and business priorities.

This also means that just taking an “off the shelf” index such as that provided natively by companies like LinkedIn with SSI above, is not a good strategy.  Using someone else’s weighting is unlikely to deliver as great returns against your business goals as if you created your own single score weighted to your business preferences.

How to add competitor tracking to a Business Dashboard with Cyfe & Rise

Rise Boards can fit very nicely with your existing business dashboards.

Cyfe for instance offers a business dashboard tool where you can get up and running quite easily and very cheaply – you get up to 5 widgets on their free plan.

Adding a Rise Board to a business dashboard is a great way to bring a bit of competitive interest by showing, on a weekly basis, where you stand versus your competition.

Rise now has a new feature that lets you easily add a leaderboard powered by Rise to a Cyfe business dashboard either as a list or a table.

I’ve been using Cyfe as a way to monitor the development of my personal brand online. I’ve been charting my Klout influence score and my current number of Twitter followers – two of the key personal brand metrics I’m interested in at the moment.

However, I don’t want these metrics in isolation and, since Success Tracking is all about community and stories – it’s much more interesting to see where I stand versus others on the same journey.

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To this end, I’ve added the Gamification Gurus Power 100 leaderboard  to my Cyfe dashboard. I can now see I’m number 20 this month, so a bit of work to do to maintain my top ten spot.

I’ve also created a Rise board with a selected 10 accounts whose key metrics I’m tracking. I see them as my peers when building a personal brand – the top people are aspirational (I’m a while off their reach!) but it also includes people nearer to me who I hope to nudge past every so often!

How I added my Rise boards to my Cyfe business dashboard

Using Cyfe I added each Rise board as a widget using the ‘Custom – Private URL – table’ widget type:

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Once I had the widget on my dashboard I configured it by giving it a name, pasting in the URL from Rise for the Cyfe Table widget and setting the refresh rate to 24 hours.

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By adding Rise leaderboards,  I made my business dashboard that little bit more interesting!

If you’d like to try it, then why not create an account on Cyfe (you can use the code: risedotglobal for a cheeky 20% discount if you find yourself subscribing) and then add a Custom Widget – Private URL. Configure it by adding the Rise Online Influencer board to your Cyfe dashboard. The embed URL to paste in is:

Please do share screenshots of how your dashboard with Rise Boards embedded look – I’d love to see them!

Personal Dashboards – a working definition

a personal dashboard provides actionable, engaging feedback that triggers timely behaviour change

Let’s break that down.

The first key word here is “personal” – it seems obvious but is a vital place to start. A dashboard must be targeted at an individual or at least a role within the business. The common practice of  “general use” dashboards that show stats for the whole business is probably only of value to the CEO. For everyone else it is at worst crowded with irrelevant stats and at best unactionable.

Let’s pick on that word “actionable” – what we mean here is that feedback that I can’t do anything about is not worth having – that just ends up in the category of “news” – akin to wars in far off countries – outside my remit of control and influence. Actionable stats are those that I can directly control or influence myself. That’s really important in dashboard design because if something has gone wrong then I should be able to correct it.

Dashboards need to be “engaging“. The medium is part of the message. Boring dashboards can easily be ignored as irrelevant, dashboards that lack sparkle can drain the life out of even the keenest optimiser. Engagement can be provided in many ways, there are countless mediums: host your dashboard on a big screen TV ( a popular choice), serve it up through social media stories or a visually arresting email or even produce a full page glossy report. Read this article if you want more detail about this. The key though is to evaluate your dashboard design on the “engagement” factor. You’ll be surprised how a little work here can go a long way to driving adoption.

You need to create a “feedback” loop. I do something, I get the feedback, I optimise to suit. This feedback loop is the critical aspect of the dashboard – if I do something but the feedback is badly timed or non-existent then the dashboard fails me.

I love the little word “trigger“. Triggering something implies that the dashboard actually does something. You know it’s true whenever you see the red light indicator on your car fuel gauge. There’s a sense of action – the dashboard isn’t some passive instrument, letting the fuel gradually run out before you notice. No instead it provides a trigger that in turn prompts action. Again, the section on “distribution channels” in this article provides a helpful description of how the constraints of different mediums can be used to drive triggers – a daily newspaper has greater impact than 24 hour rolling news because it only comes out once a day.

I include the word “timely” in my definition because we are limited beings, we don’t want optimisation to be something we get round to eventually. In built in the dashboard should be a deadline of when we are expected to act by. I love weekly dashboards as implicit in weekly stats is the idea that you need to have improved by next week, when the dashboard will be released again.

And finally “behaviour change” – a good dashboard is all about directing permanent behaviour change, the formation of good habits for example. If you change nothing then nothing changes. Behaviour change is the whole point, without it, we may as well pack up our dashboard and go home for, it’s nothing more than a set of pretty lights and flashing indicators.

Ok so we’ve explained our terms and generated a working definition of a personal dashboard. Does it work for you? What would you add or subtract from this definition?

If you’re all good to go then keep it with you, print it out and use it  to evaluate the dashboards, scores and leaderboards that you create.

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