Balance - one of my favorite words.
To find balance in everything that we do is what I believe is the purpose in life. Sounds very ZEN right?
Think about it, we strive to find the sweet spot in everything that we do, Balanced Diet, a Work Life Balance, Balancing our Accounts, Balance in the way we communicate with people. Balance gives us the Stability that we need and stability is the seed of growth. If you are not stable, achieving greater heights are almost impossible.
Before you make a conclusion, this is not an article about the benefits of Yoga, or the likes. It is however the story of how we took the concept of Balanced Scorecard (BSC) and applied it in an organization. I know BSC is a concept that has been around for a very long time but just like the age old advice of your grandmother, there is so much benefit in any concept if we understand the fundamentals of it and know how to practice it in our own unique environment
In 5 simple steps you would learn the basics of BSC and see how we introduced it in a real organization in the span of 1.5 years. The real challenges that were faced and how we managed to balance it out.
So let’s get started !
STEP 1: Understanding the Overview of BSC
Balanced Score Card is nothing but a tool that is used to clearly define your company’s strategic goals and then breaks down into smaller actions that you would need to perform in order to reach those goals. You then put measurements towards achieving those actions so that you progressively move towards achieving those mission and objectives.
Sounds simple enough right? Well, the concept is indeed very straight forward, however most of times we get lost in day to day operations and bottom lines that we do not catch ourselves doing things that take us further from our goals. There could also be a scenario where people do not see their job as purposeful as they do not see how this relates to the higher purpose of the organization.
Traditionally, companies have judged their health by how much money they make. Financial measures are definitely important, but they only give you part of the picture. They focus on the short-term
You might want to think a little further than that if you are building a company that is going to be around longer. The name “balanced scorecard” comes from the idea of looking at strategic measures in addition to traditional financial measures to get a more “balanced” view of performance.
The concept looks pretty simple right ?
Let me now take you on a journey of implementing this in an organization that was 450 employees strong, technical in nature and predominantly male. The organization had been having challenges in managing the performance of its people. Every time they wanted to focus on the people their performance suffered and when the focus was shifted to performance the people suffered. They were in a pretty critical situation to perform as it was really important that they made their numbers that year but at the same time, they were very clear that if they did not focus on their people they would suffer in the long term as these were very skilled workers and they were not willing to loose them.
Knowing a little about the background of the organization we started by taking stock of where we were at that point.
The management team embarked on this journey by first being very clear and real about the current situation in the organization. The point of embarkation was a simple SWOT analysis looking at the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats that they were facing in 2016. While the exercise was a very simple one, the team took it very seriously and I believe this acceptance and Honesty was the seed of success in the changes that we see in the organization today. The SWOT analysis gave us a very good background to see if the Mission, Vision and the objectives of the organization were aligned to the direction the company was headed too. Were we headed in the direction that we intended to go or were we just fighting fire everyday allowing the ship to sail where the wind took it?
I know what you are thinking… Vision and missions statements are stuff that we put up in pretty places in the office and more often than not they are merely a forgotten bunch of words that really do not impact us. I agree with you …really. Most organizations who do not align their goals towards their vision and mission, do not see the benefits of having clear direction. We did not want to be one of those companies because when a Balanced score card is designed, the anchor of the entire exercise is really the Vision of the organization. The litmus test to see if an action we are performing is necessary or beneficial is to see if it ties back to the vision of the organization. It is so simple that it seems so impossible that if would yield any results. My personal learning from this year of implementing this was exactly that, it is in the simplest of things that sustainability can be found. Only when we can sustain something can we see results.
Once we got this done we were ready to take on the next part in actually understanding and developing the Balanced Scorecard.