The Balanced Scorecard


Like it or not, most organizations today are aware of the critical need for new strategies to meet new challenges. Life in the business world has changed and will change over and over again in the foreseeable future. That comfortable feeling from operating a business “how we’ve always done it before” is scarce and getting scarcer! Successful companies are building and continually rebuilding their roadmaps to guide them through labyrinths of business challenges. And they will thrive best if they are also focused on selecting and retaining the right talent for their jobs!

Fortunately, there are plenty of excellent resources for organizations to leverage in creating new strategy roadmaps. The concept of the “Balanced Scorecard” is one such resource. It was introduced by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton in 1996 (“The Balanced Scorecard – Translating Strategy into Action”), and has achieved prominence in the eyes of major corporations who have implemented it. The four-part scorecard consists of Financial, Customer, Internal Processes and Learning and Growth. It provides a solid yet flexible framework for reviewing current performance in each target area, plus mapping new strategies for the future and tracking accountabilities.

Kaplan and Norton’s latest book, “The Strategy-Focused Organization – How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Economy” (Harvard Business School Press, 2001), reveals insight into implementing this performance management framework. After years of balanced scorecard implementations in large and small organizations, they note that success is not just dependent on the strategies contained in the scorecard. The major success factor revolves around the dynamics of executive leadership teams and their “abilities to transform themselves into problem-solving teams.”

Teams need a variety of talent and communication styles to be resilient and effective. Their ability to interact openly with each other and the rest of the organization is critical to achieving performance goals in all areas of the balanced scorecard. Kaplan and Norton note that the outdated “command and control” model of leadership just does not work anymore.

Human performance proves again and again to be the key success factor in making strategic business initiatives work, as in the implementation of the balanced scorecard. The investment made in selecting the right talent for evolving jobs – especially in leadership roles – continues to be the most valuable business investment for the future success of any business.

How does your business measure human performance? Do you have the right talent in place for the unique challenges of today’s evolving business world?

Face the future with confidence through effective human performance management. Contact us today to discuss how the TriMetrix System can lead your company to success with customized job benchmarking, talent selection and personal development.

Accelerating Change in an Uncertain World

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Sooner or later it happens to every manager and leader. The group you seek to lead has been doing what they are doing for so long that they appear incapable of change.

And yet, change they must. You see the writing on the wall. If they do not change the very existence of the organization is at risk. Unfortunately for you, endless downsizing, rightsizing, re-organization, redeployment, layoffs and other management initiatives have left the management “trust” account empty. You know, the account that you draw on when you have to ask people to do that which is unpleasant. But you know that you need their buy-in for the objective to be accomplished.

But now the account is empty. No more opportunity to withdraw. And there is no time to make significant deposits. You need action now. You know that the situation deserves a long-term fix, but the luxury of time is not yours.

It’s the kind of scenario that is played out all too often in corporate America these days. In order to address this issue we must start at the beginning. To begin with the “end in mind” may be good speech material, but this group has heard too many promises and “feel good” approaches. No, in a case like this, the only thing that will work is to start at the beginning – with the people.

There is no such thing as a group reaction.

Groups or organizations are nothing more than a collection of individuals. So it is very dangerous to generalize about the way a group will react. The group doesn’t react. People do. Now that is not to say that there is no such thing as corporate culture, there is. But what is culture? Culture is the habitual way a group of individuals will act. And habits are nothing more than an unconscious response to a situation.

Three types of employees.

In our experience there are three types of employees; the superstar, the average performer, and those who quit along time ago – but are still collecting a paycheck.

The danger in managing a group through change is that the average performers are often being influenced by the low performers to react to change negatively. The major reason that we have so many average performers in a typical organization is that the manager is managing for “average performance” not “excellence”. We spend all our time trying to bring those with below average performance up to the average. The theory here is that by improving the weakest members of the team we will shift the average performance upward. Our experience has been that this hardly ever works.

The Plan Of Action.

In order to get a change initiative into high gear, the leader must move decisively to:

  1. Identify by objective measurable terms the criteria for membership in each group.
  2. Determine which employees are in each group.
  3. Clearly communicate the goals for “excellent” performance to all employees.
  4. Give objective one on one feedback to all employees as to where they are now. Offer alternate employment to anyone who is unwilling or unable to improve.
  5. Place the bottom 10% of employees on a “performance improvement plan”.
  6. Use a “performance management plan” to communicate progress on their goals to all other employees. Focus your attention on the best performing employees.
  7. Do not tolerate average performance for very long if there is not progress being made.
  8. Celebrate excellence at every opportunity.

ROI: The End of Training As We Know It


How do you measure the effectiveness of training initiatives?

Don’t believe anyone that tells you it can’t be done. It can.

In fact, if you want your people to take training intiatives seriously, you must find a way to connect them with the business results that are important to operational leaders.The challenge for most leaders is not that they expect too much from training, it is that they expect way too little. As a result, leaders are unwilling to put forth much effort in most training programs. The result is as predictable as it is sad: Wasted time, wasted effort and wasted money.

The question of how to measure the effectiveness of training has been increasingly posed to Human Resource Development (HRD) departments over the past decade. So much so, that nearly every HRD conference or convention has a slate of topics revolving around the issue. And the pressure to validate the return o n training dollars invested is only likely to intensify.

In fact, the general trend toward accountability could be the best thing that ever happened to training, but only if we start to think about training expenditures as investments, and demand a return on that investment. We must stop thinking that a successful training program is the one that trains the greatest number of people for the smallest amount of money. Training is irrelevant without a change in results.

And yet there are still lots of folks that would have us believe that training expenses should not be subjected to the same Return on Investment (ROI) decision making criteria as other business expenditures are. They would have us believe that you cannot measure or calculate the ROI of training initiatives. You know what I mean, they say things like “Yeah, it costs a lot of money, but -(insert excuse here)”. Well, the days of allowing training expenditures to made o n pure faith is over. And the training industry will be better for it!The truth of the matter is that training and development is not a mysterious art. It is a serious business discipline that should be conducted as any other business discipline is. Boiled down to it’s root elements, ROI training interventions are based on a very simple formula:

  1. Decide what business outcome we are looking to achieve and how we will measure our success (metrics).
  2. Determine the changes in behavior and application necessary to reach the business outcome.
  3. Identify the skills, knowledge and/or attitudinal shifts necessary for the necessary behaviors to be applied on the job.
  4. Design the intervention process based on the gaps identified.
  5. Measure the results in terms of the business outcomes impacted and calculate ROI.

Based on Kirkpatrick’s work almost 40 years ago on the four levels of training evaluation, the ROI model adds a fifth level: the impact of business results converted to a monetary value and compared to the costs of the training implementation. As with other measures of ROI, training ROI is typically expressed as a percentage (%). Table 1: Description of Evaluation Levels

Level Description

  1. Reaction and Planned Action Measures the reaction of the participant to the program and outlines the plan for implementation.
  2. Learning Measures skills, knowledge or attitude changes.
  3. Job Application Measures behavior change on the job and specific application of the program content.
  4. Business Results Measures the impact of behavior change in the business.
  5. OI Compares the monetary value of the business results to the costs for program implementation (%).

A model for calculating the return o n investment in HRD was proposed by Jack Phillips in his book ‘Return on Investment’. This model provides a methodology for simplifying a potentially complicated process to a series of sequential steps.

  1. Determine the purpose of the evaluation.
  2. Determine the instruments, timing and levels at which you propose to evaluate the effects of the initiative.
  3. Collect the data.
  4. Isolate the effects of the training.
  5. Convert the data to a monetary value that represents a conservative estimate of the benefits of the training. Keep a separate list of the intangible benefits of the training.
  6. Tabulate the program costs.
  7. Calculate the Return on Investment.

In these turbulent times, it is intuitive to many HRD professionals that top performers are looking to the company to invest in the development of their talents and abilities. These small-scale investments may not require the level of justification outlined above. However, it is our belief that the proper utilization of the ROI model is essential for the justification of large-scale HRD initiatives. only a realistic and believable ROI justification will ensure that HRD’s seat at the executive table is placed solidly in the front row.

Increasing Your Coachability


As you set more aggressive goals, you will continue to experience problems and challenges that are new to you. There are two ways to overcome new challenges:

  1. Trial and error by yourself.
  2. Learn from the experiences and input of others.

In order to accelerate your progress on goals you have set, and minimize challenges and frustrations, high achievers become experts at learning from others. There simply is not enough time to learn everything by yourself.

At the Oxley Group, we call this an attitude of coachability. We define coachability as:

  1. An openness to the ideas of others.
  2. A willingness and ability to change your behavior.
  3. A willingness to change until your results improves.

An openness to the ideas of others:

Most individuals, when asked, would claim they are quite open minded. However, the same individuals would claim there are many people they interact with that are not open minded. In truth, how ‘open-minded’ we are depends on how emotionally vested we are in the idea that is being challenged.

When presented with a new idea, we only have two choices: we can choose to learn, or choose to defend why we are right. However, you cannot do both at the same time. If you choose to defend why you are right, all learning will cease. If you choose to learn, you must suspend the right to defend yourself, only asking questions to understand a different point of view.

Choosing to learn does not imply that you blindly accept another’s point of view. It means that you are willing to let go of being right and objectively analyze an opposing point of view.

A willingness and ability to change your behavior:

Change of any kind is difficult to implement. Changing habits can feel downright impossible unless it is approached correctly. People who struggle achieving behavior change often focus on why the change cannot occur. Goal achievers exhibit a willingness to change their behavior when provided with feedback.

A willingness to change until results improve:

Coachable people realize that until an improvement in results has taken place, there is still more growth, development and change necessary. The success or failure of individuals and organizations, hinges on an understanding of this critical concept. You must never lose sight of the fact that hard work and long hours are meaningless if we you do not change your results.

To finish the exercise download this form to understand your Coachability Index.