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    In this article, the authors – experts in the field of strategic analysis, strategic planning and strategic initiatives – examine the relevance of the Balanced Scorecard methodology for undertaking a strategic assessment of higher education.

    The authors begin by pointing out that accountability in higher education has become a challenging issue since the 1990s. Increasingly, institutions of higher learning have been required to provide performance indicators – empirical evidence of their value – to state, alumni, prospective student, and other external stakeholders. State commissions of higher education have developed “report cards” that grade colleges and universities according to their level of performance in a variety of categories. Surveys in the popular press and on the Internet rank institutions according to criteria such as retention and graduation rates, resources, and academic reputation. However, such efforts have not dramatically changed the operational performance of most major universities.

    According to the authors, the real test for institutions is to create meaningful systems for strategic organizational assessment and then use that information in internal policy and resource allocation decisions. The authors discuss the importance of performance indicators in internal assessment and in providing substantive information for strategic decision making and performance management.

    The authors make important observations on the key differences between external accountability and internal assessment. Then, they go on to discuss the Balanced Scorecard concept, focusing on how it provides an integrated perspective on goals, targets and measures of progress. Using real-life examples, the article shows how an academic scorecard can be constructed, taking into account the unique challenges posed by higher education. The article also shows how strategic analysis can be linked to the scorecard model. By doing so, higher education institutions can move performance management discussions from an externally driven concern for image and rankings to an internally driven concern for improved institutional effectiveness.

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    In this article, author, management consultant and Balanced Scorecard expert Paul Niven focuses on one aspect in any Balanced Scorecard program that is crucial but neglected – training

    Training leads to a better educated and motivated workforce and can also produce dramatic improvements in bottom line results. This holds for the Balanced Scorecard as well. In this article, the author asserts that an organization’s Balanced Scorecard will benefit greatly from a well-planned, carefully constructed, and skillfully delivered training program. He also shares the essentials necessary to develop a training curriculum for Scorecard success.

    The ideal starting point for this is to define the objectives for using the Scorecard and other key ingredients necessary to ensure a successful outcome. The author explains how to study key initial elements like the target audience, audience profiles and assessment of skills –skills the audience already has, new skills needed, and skills that need improvement.

    After discussing the target audience and needs assessment, the article also provides tips on factoring in learning styles and preferences. Then, the author discusses the development of a primer on enterprise performance management and the Balanced Scorecard. Moving on, the author discusses where organizations can source appropriate literature to distribute and the benefits of engaging an external facilitator or consultant.

    The article identifies the following elements for developing a Balanced Scorecard curriculum, which can be used in a workshop - background on the concept; the fundamentals, covering the four strategic perspectives, Strategy Maps, lead and lag key performance indicators (KPIs); success stories of other organizations, use of the Scorecard as a performance management system; a hands-on exercise for participants; and finally, details of implementation. The author also encourages organizations to evolve the training curriculum with the evolution of the Balanced Scorecard.

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    In this article, author, management consultant and Balanced Scorecard expert Paul Niven points out how differences in definitions for the same terms are more than a matter of semantics and have the potential to create a whole lot of confusion and damage in a Balanced Scorecard implementation. The author then offers a simple exercise in terminology to help organizations create a lexicon for the Balanced Scorecard and ensure shared understanding.

    To communicate the importance of terminology, the author draws relevant portions from two different experts – Karl von Clausewitz, a German General, and Peter Senge, an organizational learning expert. Both of them point out that the essence of leadership is communication.

    The author then provides examples of what happens when definitions are not agreed on. This confusion can start at the very beginning – with the organization’s mission and vision, where many people have interchanged definitions in mind when they are talking. Such disagreement can create widespread confusion and throw the Balanced Scorecard initiative off track.

    After discussing the terminology issue, the author offers an exercise that leaders and organizations can use in two phases over a period of two weeks. This exercise is designed to create clarity regarding the organization’s Balanced Scorecard and covers terms like mission, vision, objective, measure, initiative, budgets, and Performance Management. The author points out that his experiences with such terminology exercises generates a surprising amount of dialog and learning, which strengthens the team and also forms the foundation for a successful Balanced Scorecard initiative.

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    In this article, author, management consultant and Balanced Scorecard expert Paul Niven focuses on the most challenging aspects of business – strategy. While the study of business strategy and its development has generated a wide range of perspectives and a wealth of material, the author points out that true success is entirely dependent upon the successful execution of strategy. This is where the Balanced Scorecard fits in, says the author.

    To elaborate on this aspect, the author reviews the common elements of strategy identified by the enormous amount of material generated on strategy development and then shows how strategy and the Balanced Scorecard must be woven together to get the maximum benefit from both. The key aspects of strategy are: 1) choosing a different set of activities that leads to a unique and valuable position in the market, 2) effective strategies demand trade-offs and therefore the entire organization must be aligned around the strategic position, 3) activities chosen must fit one another as an integrated whole for sustainable success, and 4) strategy needs consistency in thinking on the most basic issues and the direction needs to be clear to both internal and external constituents.

    While organizations have numerous options when it comes to developing strategies, the
    fundamental issue, says the author, is one of implementation, of translating the strategy into terms that everyone understands so that there is focus in day to day actions. Here, the Balanced Scorecard provides the framework for an organization to move from deciding to live their strategy to doing it. The author explains how this is done in the Balanced Scorecard, talking about the strategic perspectives, objectives, strategic initiatives and other Scorecard elements. In doing so, the author defines the link between the key principles of strategy identified in the article and the Balanced Scorecard as a strategic performance management tool.

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    In this article, author, management consultant and Balanced Scorecard expert Paul Niven argues that the pace of change today has impacted all categories of organizations – private, nonprofit and public sector organizations – and requires them to focus on strategy execution. The Balanced Scorecard was born out of the realization that organizations need a system that allowed them to take advantage of intangible assets, and balanced both financial and non-financial indicators of success, thereby increasing the odds of strategy execution. The Balanced Scorecard begins with an organization’s strategy and seeks to translate the strategy into performance measures which can be tracked and used to gauge success in the successful implementation of the strategy.

    While it was originally created with the private sector in mind, the Balanced Scorecard can be easily altered to fit the demands of the public sector. For public sector enterprises, the Customer perspective is placed at the top of the Scorecard model, so that performance is measured from the eyes of the customers and their expectations. The author shows how the process works, starting with the Customer strategic perspective and moving on to the Internal Process and Financial strategic perspectives, ending with the Employee Learning and Growth perspective.

    The author also points out that many public sector organizations have embraced the Balanced Scorecard and are using it to drive focus, accountability, and alignment. The author also provides three case examples to show the public sector can use the Balanced Scorecard as a powerful measurement and management system that is suited for today’s challenging public sector environment.

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    In this article, author, management consultant and Balanced Scorecard expert Paul Niven argues that there is great pressure on nonprofit organizations to build new and improved performance measurement systems so that they can deliver transparency and accountability that is being demanded.

    The Balanced Scorecard can be the system that provides real insights into a nonprofit’s operations and helps it focus on performance and strategy implementation. While many nonprofits have recognized the inherent benefits of the Balanced Scorecard, there is a reluctance to embrace the tool. The author says this reluctance originates in the nonprofit world’s struggle to invest in “organizational capacity” and the focus on the organizations’s abilities to direct the vast majority of funds raised towards the needs of their constituents. The failure to invest in infrastructure and capacity ultimately limits the ability of a nonprofit to grow and effectively serve the needs of its constituents. The author points out that, while the for-profit world sees organizational capacity as a significant driving force in the race for competitive success, nonprofits appear to view this investment choice as a zero-sum game in which anything invested in capacity is considered lost to direct service. This thinking leads to decreased service delivery and reduced funding. Nonprofits need to understand that good outcomes need investment in building strong organizations.

    Against this background, the author points out that a growing number of nonprofit organizations have chosen to implement the Balanced Scorecard, and are discovering a number of benefits resulting from the process – attracting resources, promoting transparency and driving performance. In illustration of these aspects, the author discusses a number of cases drawn from the nonprofit world.

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    In this article, author, management consultant and Balanced Scorecard expert Paul Niven focuses on the enormous challenges that organizations face when mergers happen, contending with aspects like divergent cultures, conflicting sales channels and mismatched strategies.

    Using the case of Aliant, a Canadian information and communications technology company formed as the merger of four telecommunications companies, each with more than a hundred years of operating experience, the author shows how the CEO and his executive team used the opportunity to introduce the Balanced Scorecard as representing a new way at Aliant. The team explained that the Scorecard would supplement traditional financial measures with the drivers of future success and give every employee the opportunity to contribute to the company’s triumphs. Using a multi-pronged communication and training strategy, the leadership also ensured that employees across levels understood the Scorecard. Then, leadership introduced the new objectives and measures that would gauge the company’s strategic progress. Here, the leadership was careful to focus on a select few objectives that were built into the Strategy Map. The leadership also went one step further and creating a measure support team, which documented the measures, used a data dictionary, tested the reliability of measures, and proposed processes for data collection and suggested targets. Over a 3-year and 5-year period, Aliant aimed to achieve best-in-class and world-class performance, respectively.

    All this has played a significant role in creating the excellent results that Aliant has notched up rapidly, be it a measure of net income, earnings per share or share price. It has also played a key role in positively impacting the indicator of employee knowledge of company vision and strategy within the Employee Learning and Growth perspective, pointing to a shift towards a culture of performance, accountability, collaboration, information sharing and a focus on strategy – paving the way for a highly successful merger.

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    In this article, author, management consultant and Balanced Scorecard expert Paul Niven points out how executives feel that management meetings have become a highly unproductive activity in organizations. Further, most management meetings squander the opportunity to learn about the organization’s strategy execution efforts. Thus, poor meetings have a cascading effect that creates a bigger and unintended tangle for organizations.

    How can organizations get the most out of their management meetings? In response to this question, the author examines the case of the Port of San Diego as it worked with new strategic plans and finally embraced the Balanced Scorecard initiative to develop performance measures that would draw the organization together and create a platform for regular and systematic strategy reviews. Importantly, the CEO determined that quarterly meetings should be held to review progress on Scorecard measures that were deemed to drive those longer-term results. In the very first meeting after this decision, the move paid off, even though the team had only partial data to review. The decision triggered off strategic conversations unlocking new insights into the Port’s operations. One of the many benefits that the Port has accrued through regular review meetings of Scorecard results is finding what truly matters to the organization’s success.

    Thus, by leveraging the Balanced Scorecard, organizations can change the nature of management meetings and use them to constantly set the agenda for the entire organization, driving focus and alignment all the time.

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    This resource provides a top to bottom or end-to-end picture that shows how a company’s vision and mission are connected to activities and tasks. Internalization of this logic can contribute to enterprise performance management (EPM) and the development of business strategy.

    The diagram provides a connected view of strategic thinking and strategic planning on the one hand and tactical thinking and planning on the other hand. This view charts the flow from company vision, mission, values and company goals to business unit objectives, departmental objectives, and activities and tasks. In charting this flow, the diagram also points to the scope of performance measurement.

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