How to Create a Balanced Performance Scorecard


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Paying attention to outcomes pays off in big ways. Yet many companies fail to take the time to systematically figure out how to measure performance. As a result, the business doesn't flourish as it should. Instead, it stagnates. This presentation highlights the nine success factors of a balanced performance scorecard.

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How to Create a Balanced Performance Scorecard

  1. 1. How to Create a Balanced Performance Scorecard
  2. 2. Overview Paying attention to outcomes pays off in big ways. Yet many companies fail to take the time to systematically figure out how to measure performance. As a result, the business doesn't flourish as it should. Instead, it stagnates. This tool shows how to create a balanced performance management scorecard.
  3. 3. When a large health care system in California started measuring health outcomes, a surprising thing happened: patient health increased, while at the same time, health care costs declined. Why this surprising result? A major factor was that doctors started looking at the performance measures and teaming up to treat the sickest people. As a result, the number of “frequent fliers” – people who regularly sought medical care – decreased dramatically.
  4. 4. The following diagram shows how to distinguish between different types of performance measures:
  5. 5. When we work with our clients, we help them look holistically at the organization and develop a set of performance measures that tracks outcomes rather than outputs.
  6. 6. We then help ensure that the information is communicated throughout the organization on a regular basis – via forums in which people talk about performance, look at trends, and focus on areas where the organization is not meeting its targets.
  7. 7. Sharing performance information in this manner aligns people around a common set of goals and focuses everyone’s attention on how to improve organizational performance. It also builds trust when people see that leaders are holding everyone accountable.
  8. 8. The bottom line: Done well, a strong set of performance measures will raise the organization to a higher level of success.
  9. 9. Scorecards should be developed first for the organization as a whole, and then for the departments or functional units within it. Let’s look an example.
  10. 10. Performance Scorecard Example: A utility company’s overall performance scorecard lists the following as its core values: Financial sustainability Reliability of service Customer satisfaction Employee quality Safety Environmental responsibility
  11. 11. Under reliability, it lists these metrics and targets: These high-level performance measures drive a more detailed set of performance metrics and targets related to transmission line quality, circuit redundancy, and reserve power available. Individual department managers are responsible for working together to achieve these targets
  12. 12. Success Factors What makes a performance management system successful? Research and experience shows the following to be the important success factors.
  13. 13. 1. Start at the beginning. A solid measurement process is built on the foundation of core values and key performance indicators. If these are not set with a great deal of thought and clarity, implementation can easily fall down. Once these are defined by senior management, staff should be responsible for defining performance expectations related to the programs and processes needed to achieve these results. Reversing the process results in confusion.
  14. 14. 2. Build focus and alignment. It’s important to focus on the most important outcomes. These should be identified in a strategic plan. Don’t try to measure everything. Make sure people in all parts of the organization operate under a set of well-understood performance metrics and targets, not just some.
  15. 15. 3. Create a balanced scorecard. A good scorecard provides a balanced look at all aspects of the organization. It also mixes different types of data. Financial performance is a “lagging” indicator of performance, since by the time it’s measured, there’s little you can do to change the results. Customer surveys frequently tip people off to performance issues that are just emerging, and thus are considered “leading” indicators.
  16. 16. 4. Champion the scorecard. Make sure you have strong championship from the top. The performance scorecard must be highly visible and regularly reviewed. Just as the CEO makes sure the overall scorecard is visible throughout the entire organization, senior managers need to make sure their departments’ performance scorecards are visible.
  17. 17. 5. Build “Learning loops.” A measuring system is nothing without the communication to generate shared understanding and ideas for improvement. The leadership team should model this by creating regular forums where they share performance data and discuss steps to improve performance. Mid-level managers should do the same.
  18. 18. 6. Invest in the system. It will take resources to build the necessary data collection and information management systems. It will also take time to identify and train people to pull together the performance data into a useable scorecard.
  19. 19. 7. Instill clear roles and responsibilities. Measuring performance creates powerful incentives for department managers to cooperate in order to achieve important outcomes. Make sure it’s clear who’s responsible for what.
  20. 20. 8. Prepare for a culture change. When you start to measure performance consistently, it will trigger a change in the organization’s culture. Sharing information about performance and adjusting behaviors accordingly requires a more open culture – one that is comfortable admitting what is going well, what is not going well, and deciding what to improve.
  21. 21. 9. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. No performance management system will be perfect. Data will be difficult to get. There won’t be enough people with the skills to collect and synthesize the data. This is not a reason not to do it. All organizations should have performance measurement systems.
  22. 22. Measuring Different Outcomes: Performance management systems are relatively easy to build when well-understood outcomes are in place. Developing these outcomes is the responsibility of the senior management team.
  23. 23. Measuring Different Outcomes: This chart shows some examples of outcomes and related ways to measure performance.
  24. 24. High performing organizations integrate the different levels of performance measurement (inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, and ultimate outcomes) in a system that is clear to everyone.
  25. 25. LRI prefers to work from the top down, starting with the board of directors or executive team, to assure there is clarity about the long-range measures and targets. Once those are defined, it becomes much easier to create an integrated system of performance management measures that cascades throughout the organization.
  26. 26. Once these different levels of performance measurement are in place, LRI can facilitate the development of the ongoing monitoring process to assure that the communication about performance management results in what we call "learning loops."
  27. 27. These feedback loops are the key to assuring that the organization uses its performance scorecards in a productive way, enabling people to talk about problem areas, brainstorm potential solutions, and decide how to make mid-course adjustments. This continuous improvement is what creates learning organizations.
  28. 28. To speak with an LRI consultant about developing a clear performance management system for your organization, please call (916) 325-1190 or contact us online at Thank you for viewing this presentation.