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The Power of One Page
How to focus your business on what really matters

by Mark Palmer, Profit MetricsTuesday, September 11, 2007

You need concise and actionable information about your business’s performance. However, many enterprises are wallowing in a quagmire of reports, documents, and three-ring binders. These reports may cover many different aspects of performance. Favorite topics are financial status, operations, customers and prospects, and perhaps suppliers, employees, and quality. How can all these reports, each with valuable data, be harnessed for top performance?

The best way to focus on what really matters is by creating and using a one-page dashboard for your organization.

Let’s examine why this approach works.

A one-page dashboard is disciplined.
The limited “real estate” on one page forces decisions about the core drivers of performance and profit. One page eliminates report bloat and vestigial reports that were asked for once and have become needlessly immortal. With good design, enough information can fit on one page so that the “I don’t have room for what I need to see” argument doesn’t hold up. Certainly, all the drill-down detail that one could wish for won’t fit on one page, but the onepager can serve as an efficient launching point or “table of contents” for further investigation.

A one-page dashboard is comparative.
How can you compare relationships between various trends, metrics, ratios, and cost drivers if you can’t see all the facts at once? Are you relying on your photographic memory? You know your business well enough to know what to look for, but what about less obvious relationships or new patterns? Having all the analysis on one page allows you to absorb much more in one glance. Don’t starve your brain of the input it needs to make decisions. Put the key factors all within view on one page.

A one-page dashboard is faster.
You can assimilate information that’s all in front of you on one page faster than you can flip through multiple pages, tabs, and binders. Speed up meetings by spending less time finding, clarifying, and discussing data. Instead, focus on turning knowledge into action and profit. Don’t waste time swapping paper in meetings and hunting for the real facts.

A one-page dashboard is proven.
Top business publishers such as Dow Jones, Morningstar, and Value Line produce focused, one-page reports every day. These publishers understand that every square inch is a precious resource and carefully choose what appears on each page. Let’s compare a couple of pages from a typical executive report to four very effective one-page reports.

The pages below might appear in an executive report.

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Note the low data densities, expressed as facts per square inch. A “fact” is defined as a sentence or a data point in a chart. Now let’s look at some world-class one-pagers. First, a famous newspaper that manages to convey information at up to 21 times the density of the charts above.

Wall Street Journal

front page. 15” x 22¾”

Facts per page: 1,503

Facts per sq. inch: 4.2

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Next are some examples that focus on a single company and provide a top-level, yet quite detailed view of that particular entity’s performance. The facts per square inch are higher, but these publications are still very readable, portable, and widely used.

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Are you ready to harness the Power of One Page within your organization? putdescofpic

 

Action Points

How to apply this today

1. Choose two of the most valuable pages from a recent executive report. Calculate facts per square inch for both pages. Find ways to increase the density. Avoid using a more-is-better approach to blast high quantities of data to your audience.

2. Determine the minimum number of key pages you need each month to run your business. Consolidate reports into a more compact format.

3. Catalog your existing management and board-level reports. Eliminate old or redundant pages—knowing that you can always drill down later if needed.

About ProfitMetrics Inc.

ProfitMetrics helps companies on top opportunities by creating customized one-page report called a ProfitMetrics Dashboard.

ProfitMetrics Dashboards:

  1. enable you to see details about all your top items at a glance

  2. allow you to focus on specific ways to increase revenue, lower costs, and strengthen core values

  3. transform your raw data into ongoing reports that highlight priorities

  4. can show a balanced scorecard for your organization

  5. are used sucessfully in a range industries

ProfitMetrics Inc.
2476 Bolsover #400
Houston, TX 77005-2518

www.profitmetrics.com
Tel (713) 667-5570
Fax (713) 893-2408

 

 

 

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