Customer Spotlight: Boosting Camaraderie with Organizational Intelligence
It's an honor to be featured in Rado and Gerry's recently published book: Organizational Intelligence: How Smart Companies Use Information to Become More Competitive and Profitable. I worked with the authors to develop one of the case studies in Part 2, which illustrates how Lutheran Life Communities uses analytics to boost operational performance.
As Gerry and Rado suggest in the introduction, success with organizational intelligence is directly proportionate to the degree to which you can distribute information. At Lutheran Life Communities, we created an InfoApp™ called Shipshape that extends budgetary responsibility throughout the organization. Previously, our managers were overwhelmed by intensive reporting and data management tasks. Now they can see relevant information at a glance. Comparative metrics enable benchmarking among departments and campuses, which allows managers to compare their performance to the performance of similar departments at other campuses.
Whether its managing food services costs, monitoring the census mix, or any other number of operational variables, each manager defines target performance levels and establishes budgets. The InfoApp™ displays progress through dashboards that contain interactive graphs, making it easy to see variances from stated targets. This gives us a constant readout on organizational performance across key cost areas. And it allows the people responsible for those areas to compare actual expenditures against budgets so they don't stray too far from their goals.
In addition to improving accountability and performance, this InfoApp™ delivered an unexpected benefit: boosting camaraderie. Sharing information and performance data makes everybody feel like they are part of the big picture. Since all managers can see best practices, they know what is working at each site. They can learn from each other and help each other as they assess net differences among campuses.
Another great thing about this InfoApp™ is the degree of autonomy it gives to the user community. It's easy for employees to obtain insights on their own. By transforming a large and diverse data set into actionable data points, we have allowed people to see how their portion of the business is trending, and then drill down to follow unique paths of inquiry.
Color-coded displays allow managers to assess strengths, weaknesses, and possible areas for improvement. The metrics are displayed as key performance indicators (KPIs) that keep everyone from finance officers to nurse-managers apprised of important developments within their purview (see screen shot).