Recently, I’ve been talking to customers who are interested in discussing how to improve transparency in executive reporting by considering which data points to keep on their dashboards.

When it’s about fixing an error in the workflow that request is reasonable.

But here’s the thing, more often than not, it’s more about making the data look better, enhancing its visual appeal. It’s often because managers are under pressure to present their team’s performance in the best possible light.

The problem is that by making the data look better than it is, we’re not presenting a true reflection of the situation.

As a result, it leads to decision-making based on incomplete or inaccurate information.

Here’s the thing. When people suspect they’re not getting the whole truth, they stop relying on data. And they end up arriving at conclusions based on intuition and gut feeling.

My point is, focusing on the short-term appearance of data leads to long-term challenges in achieving better transparency.

Why don’t we instead embrace failures and transform them into learning experiences?

If that sounds reasonable, I have three strategies that will help you navigate the challenges of managing data and making informed decisions while maintaining integrity and transparency in your reporting.

So, shall we dive in?

#1 Boost Awareness for Continuous Improvement

Let’s pause for a moment to consider why using Kanban metrics and analytics is actually one of the most effective approaches to executive reporting.

The main reason is that they enable us to gain a clear understanding of how our workflows currently operate. These tools are like our guides, helping us identify where we can make improvements.

Learning from our mistakes is the foundation of continuous improvement! It enables us to refine our work methods, cultivate a more positive organizational culture, and ultimately improve our business outcomes.

As soon as you start tweaking your flow metrics to make the picture nicer, take a pause and acknowledge that behavior. You’re heading in the wrong direction.

And I get it, it feels discouraging when you see long cycle times and unstable delivery systems. But hear me when I say this, this should be your favorite stage of business development!

Why? Because achieving this level of awareness is incredibly valuable. It opens the door to numerous possibilities! Transparency becomes your guiding principle, helping you increase your capacity, speed up delivery, and workflow predictability. With transparency as your guide, progress is the only way forward!

#2 Embrace Flaws and Convert Them into Opportunities

Consider the following example: a Cycle Time Scatterplot of a development team struggling to handle the continuous stream of customer requests.

Use the Cycle Time Scatterplot by Nave to track how much time your teams need to deliver results

Use the Cycle Time Scatterplot by Nave to track how much time your teams need to deliver results.

By mid-June, their delivery times were far from satisfactory. As customer requests kept growing, their cycle times rose exponentially. They failed to deliver consistently. With a growing workload, predictability became impossible. This was a significant business challenge.

Rather than blaming the team, the company’s management focused on the root cause: excessive demand.

They embraced their shortcomings and turned them into opportunities. They adopted a new approach to demand management. Instead of immediately committing to customer requests, they regarded backlog items as optional and only started a new task at the moment they delivered one.

The result? Just by applying this small tweak, they managed to achieve four times faster delivery times by the end of August!

Use the Executive Dashboard by Nave to track how your teams’ cycle time trends develop over time and increase transparency in executive reporting

Use the Executive Dashboard by Nave to track how your teams’ cycle time trends develop over time and increase transparency in executive reporting. Start a new trial! →

Here’s the kicker, they didn’t work harder, stay long hours and over the weekend to make this happen; they simply changed how they managed the flow of work.

Don’t be overly concerned if your flow metrics don’t look perfect. Focus on trends. Examine how your changes impact performance over time. If you see improvement, you’re on the right track.

Moreover, don’t expect instant miracles. Embrace the mantra: progress, not perfection. Shift your focus from the end goal, enjoy the journey, and celebrate every small victory. As you make incremental changes, you’ll steadily build significant improvements.

#3 See Failure as a Competitive Edge

The last strategy to increase transparency in executive reporting is to shift your perspective. Instead of fearing failure, you should see it as a competitive advantage.

Your primary competition is your own business, striving to overcome the status quo. Learning from mistakes can create a culture of trust, respect, and appreciation, fostering evolutionary change.

Mistakes should never be seen as opportunities to assign blame. The success of your business relies on the support and collaboration of your people. Encourage this mindset. If you need to point fingers, direct them to organizational policies and management practices that need to change.

Remember, people are not the problem. It all boils down to how effectively you manage your work. Adopting this perspective will open countless doors for your business.

Always keep in mind: every failure is an opportunity. It’s a chance to improve how your teams collaborate, how your systems function, and how your business grows.

Here’s what I want you to take away from this article: Recognizing challenges is the first step toward solving them. The more you acknowledge, the more you can rectify. Don’t shy away from challenges; embrace them and take action.

Incorporate these three strategies and begin making small, gradual improvements to ensure transparency in executive reports. This is the path to developing effective management practices, enhancing workflows, and ensuring your long-term business success.

Alright my friend, I hope you found this piece of content valuable (make sure to share it on social to spread the word!). I’ll see you next week, same time and place for more managerial insights. Bye for now!

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