Interview with John Monczewski, Booz Allen Hamilton
This interview was conducted in 2003, when John Monczewski was Manager, Balanced Scorecard for The GO-Team of the global management consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton.
With then about 900 employees and headquartered in McLean, Virginia, USA, The GO-Team is an amalgam of the support functions of a conventional corporate structure.
How long have you been the balanced scorecard manager within The GO-Team at Booz Allen Hamilton?
I have been working with the Balanced Scorecard and performance management more generally (since 1997). For the last two years (since 2001) I have been responsible for developing and rolling out the balanced scorecard within the GO-Team.
Who do you report to?
I report to the director of business performance management.
Unlike HR or finance, as examples, corporations do not have a history of recruiting Balanced Scorecard managers. What were the main requirements outlined in your job description?
They were looking for someone who had worked with performance management and metrics, and not specifically the Balanced Scorecard. Other requirements included being able to implement new change management ideas within a diverse organization, possessing the technical knowledge to understand the requirements for, but not necessarily install and implement, a software solution, and to work at building consensus across all levels of the organization.
You are full-time in the post. Why did the company decide to employ a full-time scorecard manager rather than getting somebody to do it on a part-time basis, as is the case in many companies?
This is a very important change management process for our senior partners. We are in the process of building not only top-level scorecards, but cascading these down into the organization, and tying our planning process into the Balanced Scorecard. As a collateral responsibility, I would imagine that this would work only for a short time and would also prove a much tougher task to ingrain the scorecard into the culture of the business.
How did you first get involved with the Balanced Scorecard?
I am a Chartered Public Accountant and worked within Financial Planning & Reporting for almost 15 years. My first introduction to the Balanced Scorecard was with a $1 billion software company where my boss was very interested in the scorecard and wanted to use it as a complement to the traditional reporting system. As I learned more about the scorecard, I realized that it offered so much potential for getting all employees to take a holistic view of the company.
What is it about the scorecard that made you want to do this job full-time?
Partly an escape from a purely financial role, but most of all it is extremely rewarding to learn about all of the areas of a large or small company that absolutely must link together to achieve the greatest result. Many or most companies become great fire fighting companies. The scorecard moves everyone to focus on key strategic objectives rather than the crisis of the day.
How useful is it to be from a finance background in dispatching your current duties?
In many of my previous jobs, I worked to understand all of the components of the business and their unique strategic objectives. Therefore, I do not believe that a finance background is a requirement for a Balanced Scorecard manager.
From your own career perspective, how do you think this role will benefit you personally in the longer-term?
Based on my experience with the scorecard and getting to know many scorecard-using organizations, I fully believe that this is not a temporary management infatuation with a new ‘tool’. Strategic execution is the key differentiator between industry leading companies and the second tier. Therefore, I strongly adhere to the concept that this will be something that an increasing number of companies will turn to. As a result gaining in-depth experience of working with the Balanced Scorecard must be beneficial to any individual’s career.
What are the key skills required by a scorecard manager?
I believe that there are two critical skills. The first is being a champion. You must absolutely believe in what you are doing and be able to pass this knowledge and excitement on to others. Without this you will quickly loose your audience.
The second is the ability to work with all levels within the organization. You must work with the executives to develop the top-down view and also work with the employee base to sync up the bottom-up knowledge that knowledge workers today possess.
A Balanced Scorecard has to become ‘the way we manage around here’. From where do you get the authority (for example from the CEO) to go into a team and say ‘we’re going to build a balanced scorecard’?
This is what I call executive participation versus executive support. It is one thing for the chief executives and directors to “support” an initiative such as the balanced scorecard, but it is clearly another for them to fully participate in ensuring its successful development and rollout. If senior management fully participates, as is the case within the GO-Team, the balanced scorecard gets built and implemented. If they don’t it could prove a real struggle.
What are the major challenges you face when facilitating the process of building and implementing balanced scorecards and how are these overcome?
By far the biggest challenge is getting buy-in throughout the organization. In working with a complex and diverse business organization, it is easy to see and understand the influence of the late adopters. A large group of these people can easily influence others to doubt the project and hinder progress. The second challenge would be to maintain momentum. There must be a comprehensive plan that is adhered to throughout the development. Otherwise, people will lose interest and momentum will be lost.
To overcome these challenges it is important to identify early adopters who will work diligently to develop a well thought through balanced scorecard solution. These early successes can then be used to show others what can be accomplished and what is being achieved by using the scorecard. Secondly, it is critical to have a team that is dedicated to the scorecard and to communicate the purpose through core team meetings, monthly newsletters, team meeting to review results, and other functional meetings to assist people to see the benefits and not the hurdles.
What are the major challenges in maintaining scorecard momentum?
Communication and time stand out to me as the two major challenges. Communication is critical to the success of so many facets of our lives, so why should it be different here. We have used the establishment of a Core Team (two key members from each of our nine main teams) to communicate direction back to their respective teams. They are our goodwill ambassadors. We have also used a monthly internal newsletter to keep everyone up to date on not only as to where we are in the process, but also to help educate new members on what the scorecard really is.
Time can also be a challenge. Everyone has daily responsibilities within their organization, and so it is vital to respect their time with meaningful meetings and information. Once people view this project as a burden with no value added, it will become shelf ware and the project will again loose momentum.
How many people work in your team and what are their responsibilities?
Including myself there are two others on my team. Their responsibilities are as follows:
Assistant Manager –Responsibilities include working with all of the teams on creating and modifying their strategy and accountability maps; assisting with communication plans; working on training material and assisting in group training sessions.
Balanced Scorecard Technical Lead – Responsible for implementation and deployment of our web based software solutions. Also, to gather customized reporting requirements and build these reports for executives and directors. The Technical Lead is also responsible for data gathering and automation to eliminate as much manual effort as possible from the process.
From your experience what are the critical success factors in succeeding as a Balanced Scorecard manager?
I believe this is more difficult to answer than for most other positions within an organization. However, I believe it is clearly important that the manager is the subject matter expert, has an ability to form and develop teams, can coherently articulate to a variety of audiences the philosophy and benefits of the scorecard, and be able motivate an organization to want to undertake such a change effort. If the manager is not a firm believer in this new management system, it will simply not succeed.
James Creelman wrote a case study on how the Go-Team of Booz Allen Hamilton implemented the Balanced Scorecard for his Report: Building and Implementing a Strategic Balanced Scorecard, Business Intelligence, 2003.