Business Finance
Dynamic Business Environments Central Pillars and Article Summary Paper

Question Description

I’m trying to learn for my Management class and I’m stuck. Can you help?

please follow the format 

Article Reading Notes (two pages) Format:

• Single-spaced, business block format, 12 point Times New Roman font 

• Address the following using bold subheadings to segment your narrative: 

Thesis – identify the central lesson the author is trying to teach 

Central pillars – define and discuss at least three major learning outcomes 

Discussion – reflection on the book’s impact on the future manager 

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MANAGING FOR THE LONG TERM | BEST OF HBR | January–February 1996 Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton Editor’s Note: In 1992, Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton’s concept of the balanced scorecard revolutionized conventional thinking about performance metrics. By going beyond traditional measures of financial performance, the concept has given a generation of managers a better understanding of how their companies are really doing. These nonfinancial metrics are so valuable mainly because they predict future financial performance rather than simply report what’s already happened. This article, first published in 1996, describes how the balanced scorecard can help senior managers systematically link current actions with tomorrow’s goals, focusing on that place where, in the words of the authors, “the rubber meets the sky.” 150 Harvard Business Review 1284 Kaplan.indd 150 | July–August 2007 A transform themselves for competition that is based on information, their ability to exploit intangible assets has become far more decisive than their ability to invest in and manage physical assets. Several years ago, in recognition of this change, we introduced a concept we called the balanced scorecard. The balanced scorecard supplemented traditional financial measures with criteria that measured performance from three additional perspectives – those of customers, internal business processes, and learning and growth. (See the exhibit “Translating Vision and Strategy: Four Perspectives.”) It therefore enabled companies to track financial results while simultaneously monitoring progress in building the capabilities and acquiring the intangible assets they would need for future growth. The scorecard wasn’t | Robert Meganck S COMPANIES AROUND THE WORLD 6/7/07 10:51:38 AM MANAGING FOR THE LONG TERM | BEST OF HBR a replacement for financial measures; it was their complement. Recently, we have seen some companies move beyond our early vision for the scorecard to discover its value as the cornerstone of a new strategic management system. Used this way, the scorecard addresses a serious deficiency in traditional management systems: their inability to link a company’s long-term strategy with its short-term actions. Most companies’ operational and management control systems are built around financial measures and targets, which bear little relation to the company’s progress in achieving long-term strategic objectives. Thus the emphasis most companies place on short-term financial measures leaves a gap between the development of a strategy and its implementation. Managers using the balanced scorecard do not have to rely on short-term financial measures as the sole indicators of the company’s performance. The scorecard lets them introduce four new management processes that, separately and in combination, contribute to linking long-term strategic objectives with short-term actions. (See the exhibit “Managing Strategy: Four Processes.”) The first new process – translating the vision – helps managers build a consensus around the organization’s vision and strategy. Despite the best intentions of those at the top, lofty statements about becoming “best in class,” “the number one supplier,” or an “empowered organization” don’t translate easily into Robert S. Kaplan is the Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development at Harvard Business School, in Boston, and the chairman and a cofounder of Balanced Scorecard Collaborative, in Lincoln, Massachusetts. David P. Norton is the CEO and a cofounder of Balanced Scorecard Collaborative. They are the coauthors of four books about the balanced scorecard, the most recent of which is Alignment: Using the Balanced Scorecard to Create Corporate Synergies (Harvard Business School Publishing, 2006). 152 Harvard Business Review 1284 Kaplan.indd 152 | | Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System operational terms that provide useful guides to action at the local level. For people to act on the words in vision and strategy statements, those statements must be expressed as an integrated set of objectives and measures, agreed upon by all senior executives, that describe the long-term drivers of success. The second process – communicating and linking – lets managers communicate their strategy up and down the organization and link it to departmental and individual objectives. Traditionally, departments are evaluated by their financial performance, and individual incentives are tied to short-term financial goals. The scorecard gives managers a way of ensuring that all levels of the organization understand the long-term strategy and that both departmental and individual objectives are aligned with it. Lofty vision and strategy statements don’t translate easily into action at the local level. The third process – business planning – enables companies to integrate their business and financial plans. Almost all organizations today are implementing a variety of change programs, each with its own champions, gurus, and consultants, and each competing for senior executives’ time, energy, and resources. Managers find it difficult to integrate those diverse initiatives to achieve their strategic goals – a situation that leads to frequent disappointments with the programs’ results. But when managers use the ambitious goals set for balanced scorecard measures as the basis for allocating resources and setting priorities, they can undertake and coordinate only those initiatives that move them toward their long-term strategic objectives. The fourth process – feedback and learning – gives companies the capacity for what we call strategic learning. July–August 2007 | Existing feedback and review processes focus on whether the company, its departments, or its individual employees have met their budgeted financial goals. With the balanced scorecard at the center of its management systems, a company can monitor short-term results from the three additional perspectives – customers, internal business processes, and learning and growth – and evaluate strategy in the light of recent performance. The scorecard thus enables companies to modify strategies to reflect real-time learning. None of the more than 100 organizations that we have studied or with which we have worked implemented their first balanced scorecard with the intention of developing a new strategic management system. But in each one, the senior executives discovered that the scorecard supplied a framework and thus a focus for many critical management processes: departmental and individual goal setting, business planning, capital allocations, strategic initiatives, and feedback and learning. Previously, those processes were uncoordinated and often directed at short-term operational goals. By building the scorecard, the senior executives started a process of change that has gone well beyond the original idea of simply broadening the company’s performance measures. For example, one insurance company – let’s call it National Insurance – developed its first balanced scorecard to create a new vision for itself as an underwriting specialist. But once National started to use it, the scorecard allowed the CEO and the senior management team not only to introduce a new strategy for the organization but also to overhaul the company’s management system. The CEO subsequently told employees in a letter addressed to the whole organization that National would thenceforth use the balanced scorecard and the philosophy that it represented to manage the business. National built its new strategic management system step-by-step over 30 6/7/07 10:51:47 AM Translating Vision and Strategy: Four Perspectives months, with each step representing an incremental improvement. (See the exhibit “How One Company Built a Strategic Management System…”) The iterative sequence of actions enabled the company to reconsider each of the four new management processes two or three times before the system stabilized and became an established part of National’s overall management system. Thus the CEO was able to transform the company so that everyone could focus on achieving long-term strategic objectives – something that no purely financial framework could do. Translating the Vision The CEO of an engineering construction company, after working with his senior management team for several months to develop a mission statement, got a phone call from a project manager in the field. “I want you to know,” the distraught manager said, “that I believe in the mission statement. I want to act in accordance with the mission statement. I’m here with my customer. What am I supposed to do?” The mission statement, like those of many other organizations, had declared an intention to “use high-quality employees to provide services that surpass customers’ needs.” But the project manager in the field with his employees and his customer did not know how to translate those words into the appropriate actions. The phone call convinced the CEO that a large gap existed between the mission statement and employees’ knowledge of how their day-to-day actions could contribute to realizing the company’s vision. Metro Bank (not its real name), the result of a merger of two competitors, encountered a similar gap while building its balanced scorecard. The senior executive group thought it had reached agreement on the new organization’s overall strategy: “to provide superior service to targeted customers.” Re- 1284 Kaplan.indd 153 | search had revealed five basic market segments among existing and potential customers, each with different needs. While formulating the measures for the customer-perspective portion of their balanced scorecard, however, it became apparent that although the 25 senior executives agreed on the words of the strategy, each one had a different definition of superior service and a different image of the targeted customers. The exercise of developing operational measures for the four perspectives on the bank’s scorecard forced the 25 executives to clarify the meaning of the strategy statement. Ultimately, they agreed to stimulate revenue growth through new products and services and also agreed on the three most desirable customer segments. They developed scorecard measures for the specific products and services that should be delivered to customers in the targeted segments as well as for the relationship the bank should build with customers July–August 2007 | Harvard Business Review 153 6/7/07 10:51:53 AM MANAGING FOR THE LONG TERM | BEST OF HBR in each segment. The scorecard also highlighted gaps in employees’ skills and in information systems that the bank would have to close in order to deliver the selected value propositions to the targeted customers. Thus, creating a balanced scorecard forced the bank’s senior managers to arrive at a consensus and then to translate their vision into terms that had meaning to the people who would realize the vision. Communicating and Linking “The top ten people in the business now understand the strategy better than ever before. It’s too bad,” a senior executive of a major oil company complained, “that we can’t put this in a bottle so that everyone could share it.” With the balanced scorecard, he can. One company we have worked with deliberately involved three layers of management in the creation of its balanced scorecard. The senior executive group formulated the financial and customer objectives. It then mobilized the talent and information in the next two levels of managers by having them formulate the internal-business-process and learning-and-growth objectives that would drive the achievement of the financial and customer goals. For example, knowing the importance of satisfying customers’ expectations of on-time delivery, the broader group identified several internal business processes – such as order processing, scheduling, and fulfillment – in which the company had to excel. To do so, the company would have to retrain frontline employees and improve the information systems available to them. The group developed performance measures for those critical processes and for staff and systems capabilities. Broad participation in creating a scorecard takes longer, but it offers several advantages: Information from a larger number of managers is incorporated into the internal objectives; the managers gain a better understanding of the company’s long-term strategic goals; and such broad participa- 154 Harvard Business Review 1284 Kaplan.indd 154 | | Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System tion builds a stronger commitment to achieving those goals. But getting managers to buy into the scorecard is only a first step in linking individual actions to corporate goals. The balanced scorecard signals to everyone what the organization is trying to achieve for shareholders and customers alike. But to align employees’ individual performances with the overall strategy, scorecard users generally engage in three activities: communicating and educating, setting goals, and linking rewards to performance measures. Communicating and educating. Implementing a strategy begins with educating those who have to execute it. Whereas some organizations opt to hold their strategy close to the vest, The personal scorecard helps to communicate corporate and unit objectives to the people and teams performing the work. most believe that they should disseminate it from top to bottom. A broadbased communication program shares with all employees the strategy and the critical objectives they have to meet if the strategy is to succeed. Onetime events such as the distribution of brochures or newsletters and the holding of “town meetings” might kick off the program. Some organizations post bulletin boards that illustrate and explain the balanced scorecard measures, then update them with monthly results. Others use groupware and electronic bulletin boards to distribute the scorecard to the desktops of all employees and to encourage dialogue about the measures. The same media allow employees to make suggestions for achieving or exceeding the targets. The balanced scorecard, as the embodiment of business unit strategy, should also be communicated upward in the organization – to corporate head- July–August 2007 | quarters and to the corporate board of directors. With the scorecard, business units can quantify and communicate their long-term strategies to senior executives using a comprehensive set of linked financial and nonfinancial measures. Such communication informs the executives and the board in specific terms that long-term strategies designed for competitive success are in place. The measures also provide the basis for feedback and accountability. Meeting short-term financial targets should not constitute satisfactory performance when other measures indicate that the long-term strategy is either not working or not being implemented well. Should the balanced scorecard be communicated beyond the boardroom to external shareholders? We believe that as senior executives gain confidence in the ability of the scorecard measures to monitor strategic performance and predict future financial performance, they will find ways to inform outside investors about those measures without disclosing competitively sensitive information. Skandia, an insurance and financial services company based in Sweden, issues a supplement to its annual report called “The Business Navigator” – “an instrument to help us navigate into the future and thereby stimulate renewal and development.” The supplement describes Skandia’s strategy and the strategic measures the company uses to communicate and evaluate the strategy. It also provides a report on the company’s performance along those measures during the year. The measures are customized for each operating unit and include, for example, market share, customer satisfaction and retention, employee competence, employee empowerment, and technology deployment. Communicating the balanced scorecard promotes commitment and accountability to the business’s long-term strategy. As one executive at Metro Bank declared, “The balanced scorecard is both motivating and obligating.” 6/7/07 10:52:01 AM Setting goals. Mere awareness of corporate goals, however, is not enough to change many people’s behavior. Somehow, the organization’s high-level strategic objectives and measures must be translated into objectives and measures for operating units and individuals. The exploration group of a large oil company developed a technique to enable and encourage individuals to set goals for themselves that were consistent with the organization’s. It created a small, fold-up, personal scorecard that people could carry in their shirt pockets or wallets. (See the exhibit “The Personal Scorecard.”) The scorecard contains three levels of information. The first describes corporate objectives, measures, and targets. The second leaves room for translating corporate targets into targets for each business unit. For the third level, the company asks both individuals and teams to articulate which of their own objectives would be consistent with the business unit and corporate objectives, as well as what initiatives they would take to achieve their objectives. It also asks them to define up to five performance measures for their objectives and to set targets for each measure. The personal scorecard helps to communicate corporate and business unit objectives to the people and teams performing the work, enabling them to translate the objectives into meaningful tasks and targets for themselves. It also lets them keep that information close at hand – in their pockets. Linking rewards to performance measures. Should compensation sys- tems be linked to balanced scorecard measures? Some companies, believing that tying financial compensation to performance is a powerful lever, have moved quickly to establish such a linkage. For example, an oil company that we’ll call Pioneer Petroleum uses its scorecard as the sole basis for computing incentive compensation. The company ties 60% of its executives’ bonuses to their achievement of ambitious targets for a weighted average of four Managing Strategy: Four Processes financial indicators: return on capital, profitability, cash flow, and operating cost. It bases the remaining 40% on indicators of customer satisfaction, dealer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and environmental responsibility (such as a percentage change in the level of emissions to water and air). Pioneer’s CEO says that linking compensation to the scorecard has helped to align the company with its strategy. “I know of no competitor,” he says, “who has this degree of alignment. It is producing results for us.” As attractive and as powerful as such linkage is, it nonetheless carries risks. For instance, does the company have the right measures on the scorecard? Does it have valid and reliable data for the selected measures? Could unintended or unexpected consequences arise from the way the targets for the measures are achieved? Those are questions that companies should ask. Furthermore, companies traditionally handle multiple objectives in a compensation formula by assigning 1284 Kaplan.indd 155 | weights to each objective and calculating incentive compensation by the extent to which each weighted objective was achieved. This practice permits substantial incentive compensation to be paid if the business unit overachieves on a few objectives even if it falls far short on others. A better ...
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Article Summary
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Article Summary

Companies, whether local or multinational, do not operate in a vacuum, but rather in a
dynamic environment which often changes with any change in technology. The dynamic
business environments in which businesses operate dictate whether these business organizations
will achieve their goals and objectives. In order to address the challenges that are associated with
such dynamics in their business environment, managers often use different ideas and techniques,
such as the balanced scorecard. In the article titled "Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic
Management System," Robert Kaplan and David Norton address the importance of a balanced
scorecard in management by enabling organizations to make sound and achievable strategic
Thesis statement: The balanced scorecard is essential in supplementing other
conventional financial measures that have always been used in measuring organizational
performance based on three perspectives; learning and growth, internal business process, and
customers. As a strategic management tool, it enables firms to track financial results, monitor
progress in building capabilities, and access intangible resources that would be vital in enhancing
the organization's future growth ...

fuhrmann (8546)
Cornell University

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