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Actionable Insights

Adam Nathan

Adam has been called "the John Ive of business simplification." He brings twenty years of experience helping business and non-profit leaders drive value with actionable insights. As a long-time business owner and CEO himself, he understands that creating value from information is never a given and that creating a data driven culture is a learned skill.
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Recent Posts

Hey! Come Check Out Our Dashboards!

Oct 9, 2018 11:02:00 AM / by Adam Nathan posted in Tableau, Data Visualization, Dashboard


Whether you're building the structure and key performance indicators for your CEO's dashboard - or simply need help working through the design on a data visualization, we can help.

Come check out sample data visualizations from our portfolio and see if there's an area where we can support you.

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Why Are You Called the Bartlett System?

Aug 23, 2018 8:01:00 AM / by Adam Nathan posted in Actionable Insights


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Is Your Executive Team on the Same Page?

Aug 21, 2018 8:00:00 AM / by Adam Nathan posted in Strategy, Company Dashboard, Key Performance Questions


The Company Dashboard & Strategic Alignment

Your company dashboard starts with a shared vision of your business. There's no point in measuring something if your team can't agree on what is most important. But what exactly IS most important in your organization?

Does everyone agree on the customer, the value proposition, the activities that are in scope - and the activities that aren't? Even if you don't agree on what will work, do you at least agree on what you're trying to do?

And if you were to separate your leadership into different rooms and ask them the same questions about the strategy and the business model, how close would they be? 

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Beneath the Surface: Data-Driven Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Jul 31, 2018 10:00:00 AM / by Adam Nathan posted in CSR, Dashboard


Photo credit: Jon Raimes, illustrator, 30-SECOND THEORIES

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Mark Twain & the Art of the KPI

Jul 26, 2018 9:00:00 AM / by Adam Nathan posted in Dashboard, CEO, KPI


To KPI Everything Is to KPI Nothing

As the familiar axiom goes, to measure everything is to measure nothing.

Mark Twain once said he it would take him 30 minutes to prepare a one hour talk, a day to speak for twenty minutes, and a week to prepare a five minute talk.

Getting to simple is one of the great challenges to working with information and to guiding actionable inquiry. The simpler you want to get, the more work it is to reduce. Someone once described this challenge as the journey to "simplexity," an appealing term for the challenge of simplifying a complex context.

So how do you get to simple? What questions should be satisfied during the design phase? What framework can we evaluate a potential KPI with?

Here are six problem areas to address before designing an executive dashboard or selecting KPIs. (And they are pretty helpful for every other kind of dashboard, too.)

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A Playbook for Event Execs Everywhere: Achieving Your Return on Event (ROE)

Jul 25, 2018 9:30:00 AM / by Adam Nathan posted in Strategy


Event Marketing, Data and Return on Event (ROE)

Events have remarkably similar attributes to planning and running any other large-scale, data-driven business — whether an event is your core business or an extension.

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7 Strategic Questions That Drive Project Success & Failure

Jul 24, 2018 10:00:00 AM / by Adam Nathan


Months of Work, a Party in the Break Room and a Lackluster Thank You

Let’s go out on a limb and guess that you know this story:

After months of hard work, late-breaking changes in scope, and a heroic team effort, your IT project winds down to completion. There's a party in the break room, a dutiful executive thank you, and the obligatory post-mortem. Yes, there's cake.

Some of your team members think the project was a success. Others see it as a disappointment. But no one really knows the final verdict. Did it work? Not work? Meet expectations? Was the ROI there? Does anybody know?

Why is this?

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Are You a Director Serving on a Board? (I Need You for 30 Minutes)

Jul 19, 2018 12:00:00 PM / by Adam Nathan posted in Key Performance Questions, CEO


Ram Charan and “The Central Idea"

First some context and then the “ask."
Best-selling business author Ram Charan writes about the value of aligning a corporate board around "a clear and compelling message that is revisited periodically." In his book Boards That Lead, Charan calls this a company's "central idea.” He urges boards to revisit the central idea at every opportunity.
Here are three quotes for context:
“The central idea references why the company exists, whom it serves, how it should be nurtured, why it will flourish and how it will make money.”
“Boards need to make sure the central idea is clear and compelling and that every board member understands it."

“The central idea should become a natural, instinctive frame of reference against which to gauge strategies, external information and board decisions."
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Why Dashboards Fail - 9 Warning Signs of Trouble Ahead

Jul 12, 2018 4:36:22 PM / by Adam Nathan posted in KPI, Dashboard


 Twenty Years of Watching Dashboards Fail

It may help to start with what a CEO dashboard - or any other dashboard for that matter - is not. Twenty years of working on dashboard initiatives has revealed a pattern of early warning signs that can be addressed - but first need to be recognized.

Have your dashboard initiatives had any of the following 9 characteristics? 

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CEO Dashboards - Top-Level KPIs & Strategic Stability

Jun 18, 2018 10:07:31 AM / by Adam Nathan posted in KPI, Dashboard


Top Level KPIs Create Strategic Stability  

When a small set of key organizational metrics are established and shared within an organization, there is a stabilizing effect on a CEO's intent and strategic plan. 
There's an enormous benefit to a CEO saying declaring, "This is what we are going to achieve" and "These are the metrics that define our mission in key performance indicators."
To declare something publicly is to make it official. To declare how you are going to count that commitment takes this even further. It is to wed the CEO to his or her vision in front of the entire company. "I do - and we will."
There's no getting out of the key metrics you've chosen to define success - not privately, anyway. 
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