Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Real Value of the Personal Scorecard

As I read the readings this week I thought to myself, "Self, you have had no formal business training." Then I thought, "But, this all makes sense!" Strategy is a fundamental part of living in my opinion. Not only in the business sector, but also the public and non-profit sectors as well. It is important to remember that we use strategy in our daily lives, many times just to get through the day. I am using strategy to figure out my school and work schedule for the Spring to make a feasible work-life-school balance. I am making this point to say that the real value of strategic planning does not only lie in workplace or corporate America, but also in your everyday life and the two other sectors that we not really mentioned in the readings.

Now that I have gotten that off my chest I want to focus on what I think is the genius "personal scorecard".(Kaplan & Norton) Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System by Kaplan and Norton, helped me understand how the strategic planning process can be for naught. They emphasize how important it is to close the gap between creating the strategy and implementation of the strategy. The balanced scorecard is a watchdog that manages the strategy that was created. I want to focus on one process of the scorecard; 'Communicating and Linking'. It seems too often that individual departments or lower level employees are completely unaware, let alone uninterested, in the goals and objectives of the organization or their department. I worked at the Center for Inclusion at UPMC here in Pittsburgh, and I can say no one in my office knew what the objectives or goals of corporate were for that year, except our department head. As a customer, I could figure out the goal by watching advertisements on television or reading PAT buses that pass by. I never understood what the disconnect was. Do managers care if their employees are stakeholders in the vision of the organization? Do they just want them to do their job?

I hope managers really do value their employees, but just do not have the tools to make them valuable players. If the communicating and linking process of the scorecard is followed, I believe all employees will not only know what the objectives are, but will feel valued and in turn perform better. Setting goals is an important step I learned as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs here in Pittsburgh. Setting goals for yourself makes you accountable for your own growth and allows you to track your progress. My cohort of twelve fellows had to engage over 100 local citizens in long term capstone project. We did not have any money, but we need we had to engage these people somehow and keep them with us along this journey. We developed Personal Action Plans for each person we engaged it. These plans forced them to write down what they wanted to learn from this process, how they were going to put their knew knowledge into action, and what they wanted to see change from these actions. The participants were excited that we cared about their personal growth and were invested in them. They came to each capstone seminar eager to learn new tools and left ready to change their communities with the tools they learned. The personal scorecard allows employees to learn the corporate objectives, then relate their department to those objectives, and lastly create personal goals that align with corporate objectives and ways to achieve them.

I think in order to implement an effective strategy, you must have buy in from your employees and they must understand what the process will be. Organizational Design and Implementation (Krackhardt) taught me that people are usually averse to change. Take the time to communicate and link with your employees. I want to leave with this question/thought. Do you think this step would be an implicit part of the process if HR used this in their hiring strategy? What would companies look like if they hired people with personal objectives that mirrored the company; no matter what position is was hiring for?

Kaplan & Norton, Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System. 2005

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