M&Ms critical to success September 10, 2009 RICCentre By David Pasieka M&M’s are critical to a company’s success and I don’t mean the plain or peanut kind! Measurement & Management Dashboards are important tools for building sustainable success. A couple of months ago Terry Matthews – a great Canadian icon was speaking at a MaRS event about his success model for start-up organizations. Having started over 80 successful organizations in the past 25 years, he has a record of credibility. Terry explained that one of the keys was to have each of his organizations’ create a monthly report that measured a number of indicators in the Rear View mirror (We Accomplished this, We achieved that, We we unsuccessful with this.) and out of the Front Windshield (We plan on completing this, We are Scheduled to achieve that). These monthly Dashboard reports were prepared by the CEO as if the company were publicly traded on the TSX – a great standard of Governance. For my clients at the RIC-Centre I am also encouraging the drafting of these telltale M&M Dashboards that cover the important facets of their start-up. The CFO and CEO need to ingrain that culture of measuring and taking management action in their early evolution as an organization. Measurements should cover the basics of financial reporting but also drill down a number of layers on key indicators such as Customer Acquisition, Product Development, Human Resourcing, Regulatory Approval, Channel Development etc. The clarity of the historic indicators and forward looking statements will do wonders for the focus and accomplishment of these early stage organizations. Many of my Followers are also curious to hear about how the High Handicapper is making out. After a couple more lessons, hours on the practice tee, a loud shirt and 15 rounds later – there is considerable improvement. “Jimmy the Genius” continues to work his magic – the hard work however is clearly in my hands. Following my own entrepreneurial advice I have implemented my own M&M Dashboard process for my journey to a lower handicap. On the top part of the card I write down the three things that Jimmy has me working on (grip, alignment, aim) for the current week. I also articulate what I hope to Accomplish – 2 less lost balls, gross stroke reduction of 6, 5 less putts for example. This sets the tone and provides a constant reminder of what I am trying to accomplish each time I make an entry onto the card. In the middle section I create a series of drill down measurements that allow me to manage each part of my trek down the course. Off the tee I note if my ball went where I had intended it to go with a simple check mark. If if doesn’t go where it should have, I add additional indicators – did it go Left (L), Right (R)or Duff (D)? For Left and Right I also note if it went Long (LO) or Short (S). For Lost balls I count the number and location -Woods (Wo), Water (Wa) or those nagging ones lost on the Fairway (F). (I decided not to measure Deep Woods or the number of Skips across the pond!) For Putts, I count the Total including the number less than 3 feet and greater than 20 feet. At the end of each hole in addition to my Gross Score I have some interesting statistics to help me M&M at the next tee. By the way, don’t ask me to keep your score as well as mine – There is no room on the card and my M&M Dashboard is all consuming to my focus and Paramount to my Success. David Pasieka is the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the RIC Centre. Learn more here.