One of the most important things to think about when embarking in a career is: what are your goals? After all, these will always serve as a compass to move towards something better. There’s no joy in showing up to work just for a paycheck. While compensation is certainly necessary, most people need more than that to keep them showing up long-term. So what can you do to help your employees set and track individual goals? Do personal and professional goals ever overlap? And what’s the best way to keep tabs on their progress on their way to achieving them? Quick Links: What is Goal Setting? Why Does Goal Setting Matter? What is the Difference Between Personal Goals and Professional Goals? How Do Personal and Professional Goals Overlap? How To Help Your Team Set Goals How To Help Your Team Track Goals Achieve Your Goals Faster with BrightGauge's Data Dashboards What Is Goal Setting? Goal setting is a way to take an abstract concept and create a blueprint for an action plan. It’s a way to motivate and guide a person to deliberately work towards something. But not all goal setting is created equal. Even within this process, there are different types of goal setting: 1. Outcome Goals This is the big kahuna of goals; the end point of what you wish to accomplish. For example, signing up for a marathon means that you’re going to run 26.2 miles. So crossing that finish line is the outcome. Maybe you want to go even more hardcore and say that you’re going to run it in less than four hours. But you can’t just show up and run it. Although this is the end goal, there are steps involved to getting there, which brings us to performance and process goals. 2. Performance Goals To achieve the outcome goal, you will have to break it down into measurable steps. For example, first train for a 5K, then for a 10K, then for a half marathon. You may either choose to simply cross each of them off the list, or set time goals for them. Either way, as you accomplish them, each performance builds upon the previous one. As you do so, you keep riding the wave of momentum towards the next marker, until you’re ready to tackle that marathon. 3. Process Goals Process goals give you even more details of the path to follow. This is done by establishing the processes to get to the performance goals, and then to the outcome goals. For example, this could include running x number of miles a day, alternated between strength training days. Maybe hire a coach. Get informed on optimal nutrition. These processes give you something tangible to focus on every single day you show up to train. As you can see, setting goals provides motivation, while establishing processes and milestones helps you keep your eye on the prize. It’s also important to set up what are known as SMART goals. The acronym stands for: Specific In order to have something to move forward to, you need to define what it is that you wish to accomplish. It’s not the same thing to say: “I want the company to make more money,” than to say “I want to increase profits by 30% by the end of the year.” Measurable Once you have a goal set in place, you want to establish parameters to track your progress. Going back to the 30% increase in revenue, you can split it into how much more you should be making each quarter, which can be further broken down into how many more clients you are signing up every month. Attainable You have to be realistic about your goals. If you have been increasing your annual sales gradually and the trends show 30% to be a realistic number, go for it. But if the trends reflect 30% to be achievable, don’t try to raise the stakes by declaring that you want to double your sales. That will only set you up for disappointment. Relevant If you want to get more clients — or more upsell/cross sell opportunities — it behooves you to invest time and resources into accomplishing that. Now is not the time to look for a bigger office location, focus your energies on your influencer side gig, or organize your days around something that has nothing to do with your main goal of increasing sales by 30%. Time-Bound Always give yourself a deadline. Otherwise, it becomes way too easy to keep pushing things back to accommodate procrastination. Establishing a specific date by which to accomplish your goals also lets you organize the smaller steps accordingly and keep your team motivated. Why Does Goal Setting Matter? No matter the job setting, it’s crucial for employees to feel like what they’re doing actually matters. It’s good to know that all of their efforts are contributing to the employer’s goals — whether they’re weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Knowing that they’re helping move the needle forward gives them a sense of purpose. In a more micro sense, the benefits of setting goals at work include: Knowing where to place one’s focus and what to prioritize Having a roadmap from which to track progress Gaining momentum as individual tasks are completed Experiencing a sense of accomplishment with every milestone met Providing additional motivation Providing a means to keep everyone on the team accountable What Is the Difference Between Personal Goals and Professional Goals? Professional goals have to do with your career. They include both short and long term objectives. And while it may be tempting to think that it all relates to what makes you the most money, in reality, compensation is one of many factors that come into play to make a person feel accomplished — health benefits, 401(k), stock options, room for upward mobility, skills learned, continuing education, tuition reimbursement, paid time off, sick leave, paid parental leave, etc. Personal goals involve what you wish to accomplish within your lifestyle: Sleep more, register for a CrossFit competition, read more books, spend more time with family, finally write that novel, and learn how to cook a gourmet five course meal. In other words, this is what’s often seen as the fun stuff. While it may seem obvious at first glance (e.g. having a healthier lifestyle vs. making 30% extra in profits), the line between personal and professional goals often go hand in hand. How Do Personal and Professional Goals Overlap? Personal and professional goals have different labels because they each refer to different aspects of your life. But the common denominator is that it’s your life. Therefore, it’s only natural that they overlap. Professional Goals Even if you’re the type of person who likes to keep your personal and professional life separate, the reality is that most people spend the majority of their life at work. Even if you work from home, you have work responsibilities that require your attention for most of the day. And whether your professional goal is to work towards an advanced degree, a promotion, or a specific career path, your definition of success will definitely have a significant impact on your personal goals. Personal Goals Ok. So what are those personal goals? Maybe you want to change your body composition by developing muscles. Maybe you want to purchase a home in a specific part of town you love. Maybe you want to travel the world, eat healthier, or meditate more often. While all of these things are done outside of work, they are greatly influenced by what you can accomplish at work — your salary, your time off, your actual ability to take that time off, reasonable working hours, etc. They are often put on the back burner, since they usually don’t carry the urgency of professional goals. Therefore, both professional and personal goals, in the end, are personal goals. You are trying to reach an objective that you believe will help you in becoming happier. How To Help Your Team Set Goals While the entire team can present their ideas on how to accomplish goals, it’s up to leadership to establish the roadmap. Break Down Major Goals Into Manageable Steps Going back to the marathon example, big goals can feel overwhelming. To better manage big goals, you want to establish short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals. Use software to assign daily tasks, so that the business objectives aren’t just some abstract concept. As employees cross each thing off the list, they’ll get a sense of accomplishment. Put It in Writing Verbal communications can be miscommunicated, recalled incompletely, or forgotten. By putting your goals in writing, you’re giving employees a point of reference. Define them clearly. Include what the specific goals are, how you’re breaking them up into manageable steps, what are the resources and tools available to accomplish them, and how to track progress. Include processes for every step of the way. Creating this knowledge base gives your team the peace of mind that comes from being able to easily reference a document for clarification. Provide Adequate Training In order to reach a destination, everyone must be rowing in the same direction. And to get everyone to do so, you must first show them how to do it — how to handle situations at work (bottlenecks, conflicts, common customer concerns) and how to complete tasks (do you want them to do it a particular way, or can they work at their discretion?) This also lets them know what your expectations are, which will make it a lot easier for them to meet them. Ask for Feedback Your team is on the front lines. They know what’s working and what’s not. They know whether a particular software helps them do their jobs effectively, or whether they need something better. Keep an open door policy and let your team know that you’re always willing to listen to what they have to contribute to improve processes. Also, take the initiative to ask them directly — during one-on-one meetings and/or through anonymous surveys. Measure Progress The only way to know if what you’re doing is working is to compare where you are today versus where you were a few weeks ago. Are you inching your way towards your goal? If so, keep at it. If not, it’s time to reassess and develop new strategies. For accurate measuring, always look at the numbers: projects started, projects completed, new prospects, new signed customers, etc. Praise Success Praising success lets your team know that you’re aware of their efforts and accomplishments. This makes them feel seen and valued. In turn, they are more motivated to continue working to accomplish the collective business goals. How To Help Your Team Track Goals Everyone on your team should be tracking goals. And to do so, you need adequate tools. One of the most effective ways to do this is to set up a dashboard with the numbers that matter to you. Depending on your specific goals, this can include: Number of website visitors Number of people filling out forms in landing pages Number of prospects scheduling sales calls Bounce rates on webpages Tasks completed daily Sales, upsells, and cross sells Achieve Your Goals Faster With BrightGauge’s Data Dashboards With a variety of pre-built dashboard templates and a fully customizable system with filters for your departments, BrightGauge’s dashboard solutions can help you stay on track, adjust when needed, and meet your goals, short and long term. You can use existing dashboards or build your own, depending on your needs, and our team is ready to assist.
We live in an age where data monitoring is everything. Some people track their daily steps, their macros, and sometimes even their sleep. When you market your business, you want to know the numbers — how much is being invested, how many leads are you getting, what are the conversions? The reason why everyone has become so data driven is because when you have this information right in front of you, you see trends you would’ve otherwise missed. And this is what helps you make better informed decisions. Whether it’s on a personal or professional level, these insights can help guide you to success. And when it comes to cybersecurity, they provide you with information that can literally save your business. Quick Links What Services Do Managed Service Providers (MSPs) Offer? How Do MSPs Provide Security Monitoring? What Kind of Metrics Monitor Security? BrightGauge's Dashboards Facilitate Data Visualization What Services Do Managed Service Providers (MSPs) Offer? Managed service providers perform a wide variety of essential services, including network, infrastructure, and applications management (both on-site and cloud-based). They also offer ongoing help desk support. Some MSPs may also team up with other vendors to provide a more complete suite of services. For example, while offering infrastructure services, an MSP may work with a partner to offer disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) or backup as a service (BaaS). While all of these services are pretty much required for your business operations, they all are built upon the safety net of network and cybersecurity. After all, a security breach could end up costing you — financially, your reputation, and even your business license. That being said, it’s crucial to note that MSPs work in partnership with their clients to keep networks protected. While MSPs work to secure and manage infrastructures, their efforts will only be effective if their clients also do their part to protect their networks. For example, enabling two factor authentication and restricting access based on job roles. Employers should also regularly train employees on internal security policies, such as learning how to recognize telltale signs of a phishing scam, installing software updates as they become available, and regularly changing passwords — ensuring that these are difficult to guess (whether by getting ultra creative or by using a password manager tool). In addition to training, all security protocols should be easily accessible to staff. Easy ways to do so is to create infographics and/or bullet points lists and include them in email reminders. It’s also advisable to review these policies at monthly meetings. By ensuring everyone on your team is prioritizing internal security, MSPs are better positioned to do their jobs. How Do MSPs Provide Security Monitoring? Did you know that 92% of organizations would consider using/moving to a new IT service provider if they offered the right cybersecurity solutions? When you hire an MSP to provide you with cybersecurity services, that may include: Updating antivirus software Patching vulnerabilities Upgrading network security configurations Monitoring threats in order to prevent them Responding to existing threats Using end-to-end security Monitoring employee passwords Granting permissions to employees based on their job roles Ensuring compliance with privacy laws and industry regulations MSPs are able to provide security monitoring by staying updated on security threats. This includes regularly checking to see if any app or hardware vendors have announced network security configuration upgrades. But other than reading industry news, they also rely heavily on data from different sources. This allows them to spot any threats before they become bigger issues. One big challenge with security monitoring is that security data is everywhere. You can create dashboards sourced from a variety of tools. Everywhere you look, someone’s trying to sell you the newest gadget or software. A good MSP will know how to organize such data. They know how to sort through it efficiently so that they can immediately identify key indicators of a security threat. Once a threat is identified, they act preemptively. What Kind of Metrics Monitor Security? The metrics you need to monitor can vary depending on your specific business needs. This can include industry regulations, risk factors, and risk aversion. However, you should always pay attention to the following numbers: 1. Number of Known Vulnerabilities MSPs should always be aware of internal and external vulnerabilities, as well as their level of severity. This includes viruses, malware, and personnel (password weaknesses, unauthorized access, or lost or stolen devices). Once this information is available, they can design security objectives and priority lists. 2. Attack Frequency Cybersecurity has been a serious issue for years. However, cybercrime has increased significantly (by as much as 400%) since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, as businesses have adapted to a remote workforce. They are often the result of phishing scams, ransomware, or people accessing unsecured WiFi connections. 3. Third Party Incidents MSPs will know the number of unidentified users or devices within a network. They can also monitor the frequency of third party actors attempting to access our network. This helps identify possible weak access points. 4. Data Breach Response Times Time is of the essence in the field of cybersecurity, so it’s crucial to have skilled technicians acting fast. Security patches need to deploy as quickly as possible. Therefore, numbers to be acquainted with on a regular basis include MTTI (mean time to identify), MTTC (mean time to contain), and MTTP (mean time to patch). The longer these go unaddressed, the more disastrous the security breaches will be. 5. Number of Users with Administrator Access Knowing who has access to what and limiting users to only the systems, data, and resources they need is a best practice in data security policy and procedure. Keeping tabs on who has access to everything can help you and your client identify how many hands are in everything — and should there be a breach, identifying potential in-roads or actors. 6. Frequency of Access By Third Parties or Vendors As with your own employees, users representing third parties or vendors who have access to your network open the door for potential problems. Monitoring how frequently these individuals have access can reveal unknown or unidentified opportunities for attack or unauthorized usage. 7. Volume on Corporate Network Abnormal spikes in the volume may indicate misuse or resources that could include users transmitting large files or downloading unapproved applications or files. These transmissions may leave doors open for malware or other malicious attacks, so monitoring volume and looking for consistent numbers is a key step in threat detection. 8. Training Effectiveness Sometimes, internal breaches occur due to employees not being properly trained on security protocols. Therefore, every business should provide resources to remedy this issue — webinars, certification courses, newsletters, to name a few. Afterward, track whether there has been a reduction of incidents and adjust accordingly. Keeping track of these metrics can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways businesses can better monitor and interpret the effectiveness of their security measures. This is where data visualization comes in. How Can Data Visualization Techniques Improve Security Monitoring for MSPs? Data visualization is the visual representation of all collected data. It is an invaluable tool for MSPs when monitoring security because all relevant information is displayed in one centralized location. You can choose to have such data laid out as charts, graphs, gauges, or whatever other method you find helpful. Creating dashboards with the data you want to track allows MSPs to access and interpret the data in real time. In turn, they can design and implement security measures that are specifically tailored to protect your business. BrightGauge’s Dashboards Facilitate Data Visualization When it comes to choosing your business intelligence tools, you want to choose options that have all the functionality you need, out of the box, without complex coding involved. BrightGauge’s data dashboards integrate with over 40 platforms and are fully customizable to your business needs. You choose the metrics that matter. We help you monitor them.
August's Dashboard of the Month is a Client Manager Dashboard inspired by the July User showcase Webinar: Tailoring Best Practices: Building Off of Your Daily Metrics with Josh Smith, the Director of Support Services, and Harrison Teel, the NOC Manager, at Systems Solutions in Paducah, KY. Josh and Harrison built this Client Manager dashboard and cloned it out for each individual client manager in their office. The dashboard provides the client manager (aka account manager) a home base for managing their book of accounts. It includes proactive gauges such as: CSAT follow ups Tasks for Quarterly Business Reviews Metrics focused on future client opportunities Client Manager Dashboard - view here The Client Manager dashboard allows the Systems Solutions team to remain proactive while also setting goals and targets for obtaining new clients. If you want to recreate and customize this dashboard for your team, check out the links below: Client Manager Dashboard (public view link) Client Manager Dashboard Buildout Key Thank you, Josh and Harrison, for sharing your insights! Make sure to visit our library of more report and dashboard templates and please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!