The dashboard of a car can give you information such as your speed, direction of travel, engine rpm, and whether or not your lights are on or off.

It can also tell you when you need to get gas or if you’ve left a car door open. Some dashboard displays can give you a view behind your car as you are backing up or tell you if you are too close to another car.

Environmental controls for airflow, AC, and heat could also be included as part of this list. I’ll also add the seat warmers which is one of my favorite amenities. There are, of course, the various warning lights that need to be included that only come on when there’s a problem.

The purpose of a dashboard is to give you at a quick glance all of the information you need to safely operate your car. However, it can’t give you the qualitative information required to tell you how you should be operating your car: the state of the weather, road conditions, and whether or not there is traffic on the road, for instance. This is up to the driver.

Shifting gears, managing a business could be done with a dashboard.

With all of the information at your fingertips, you have the ability to see the engine of the company working in real time as you watch cash flow, people bill clients, and have employees join or leave the company. The ability to visualize the inner workings of an organization can lead to a greater understanding of the variety of factors that people are dealing with as they make business decisions.

It is up to the leader of an organization to assess the external and internal forces factors that are at work on a company: the state of the economy, morale, the relevance of my products and services to my customer, and where the company needs to go in the future. This is information that a dashboard can’t necessarily tell you. Some of it can be inferred from data, but it’s tough to assess without a larger view of an organization and, quite simply, experience.

It’s not enough to lead a company armed with metrics alone.

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