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Actionable Insights

Mark Twain & the Art of the KPI

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


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 CEO, Key Performance Questions


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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Starting a New IT Initiative? Ask These 7 Technical Questions First!

Jul 17, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Prashant Ganjikunta


At the Bartlett System our goal is to focus, align and measure our clients' business strategies. Through a thoughtful exploration of a client’s business models to the discovery of key performance questions, we help define key performance indicators that can guide conversations, frame initiatives and transform an enterprise. We work with technology partners like Logic20/20 that can help take our clients on the journey from strategic roadmap to full-fledged digital solution. 

Here are some thoughts from Prashant Ganjikunta, Senior Manager at Logic20/20. Logic20/20 is a business and technology consulting firm headquartered in Seattle, WA; their technology services work in compliment to the Bartlett System to deliver strategic value to organizations. Please visit our own blog posting 7 Strategic Questions That Drive Project Success & Failure on the Logic20/20 blog here.

There's No Panacea...

Businesses are constantly seeking ways to gain a competitive edge by streamlining, automating, looking at analytical insights or decreasing the time to market. Organizations that achieve success and reach their goals are often those that are willing to transform and innovate using technology and new processes. Whatever the goal, there is no doubt a group of IT products, solutions and/or services will promise to be the panacea to any business problem. 

As an IT leader, how do you choose the best technology solution for your business? Adding any new IT technology requires monetary investment, change management, and possible disruption to operations; it’s important to consider all of the options and ask the right questions before making a final decision.  

Here are 7 technical questions IT leaders should ask of an initiative in their organization before making an IT investment. 

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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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Bartlett System & Business Models, Inc. Value Prop Webinar

May 4, 2018 12:08:14 PM / by Adam Nathan posted in Value Proposition


Join Our Webinar May 15th:"Value Propositions: What Gets Measured Gets Done”

I'm thrilled to be co-hosting a webinar on grounding an organization's strategy in quantifiable value propositions. From defining your value proposition to measuring it, this webinar will address the journey to realized customer value.

I’ll be joined by the dynamic and inspiring Carley Jacobson of Business Models Inc. (You may know BMI as the authors of the groundbreaking Business Model Generation and the business model canvas.) 

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Business & IT Alignment on Value: An Ongoing Endeavor

Mar 30, 2018 11:50:49 AM / by Adam Nathan posted in CEO, Value Proposition



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Value Proposition: A Story of 6 Blind Men and An Elephant

Mar 21, 2018 4:13:41 PM / by Adam Nathan posted in CEO, Value Proposition




The ancient story of 6 Blind Men & An Elephant is used in this animated presentation to illustrate the challenges of aligning a CEO's understanding of their value proposition with their leadership team and board members.

Leaders can work shoulder-to-shoulder for years and still have very different ideas about the fundamental value the company is trying to create for its customers.

Our belief is that this alignment doesn't happen passively. It takes a deliberate effort to get everybody on the same page. And significant challenges and tensions emerge when their are disconnects.

Plus, we like flying elephants and camels.

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