Maintaining clarity on your scorecard targets

Of all the different ways to implement a scorecard, there are some that tend to be more mathematical and some which are more intuitive. Clearly, there is no “right answer,” rather it varies by industry and corporate personality. However, one thing is constant: If you’re going to use your scorecard as a communication tool, make sure it’s build in a way that your people can understand success.

While companies see the purpose of the scorecard in different ways, whether it be the integration into other systems such as compensation or grading corporate performance to the board, it often pushes the scorecard to become highly mathematical. This isn’t to say that this is a bad thing, provided that the organization maintains the clarity on what is being targeted and what success looks like. Without a clear picture of exactly where the company is moving, it will be difficult to maintain alignment between the organizational resources and the strategic direction.

So, feel free to evolve your scorecarding methodology, but don’t forget to talk about “what does this mean to our people” before you sign off on next years goals.

Keeping your research strategic

There is an inherent connection between research and corporate/strategic level planning that results in the need for a high degree of integration for the company to fully leverage either of the these functions. Unfortunately, many companies understand aspects of their need for research but don’t make the connections to determine where and when to plug this into their planning cycle. The result is that Research is probably busy spending their time on some of the wrong things.

Some symptoms that your company is underutilizing Research:

– A low degree of specificity in the topics of and output of research
– No connection between research content and the strategic direction of the company
– Many unrelated “one off” requests
– Unclear scope and descriptions in research requests
– Research is only brought in when people are drawing a blank
– Research does not support information needs associated with changing markets or direction
– The research program does not change to reflect the changing needs of the company

While many entrepreneurial types maintain the confidence to move forward with intiution as their primary guide, there could be a significant cost associated with putting capital at risk or failing to capitalize on unrealized market potential. The simple truth is that the need for research is recognized, but the “what to ask for” and “how to use it” is not clear. This will not be clear until these questions are answered at the corporate level and the response implemented from the top down.

The bottom line is that your Research program has to be connected directly to the strategic planning/decisioning process of the company to be useful. Once this is achieved, it can begin to support the alignment and implementation of the strategy through provision of supporting information. At this point, lower levels of the company will see the value.