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The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment Hardcover – Sep 29 2000

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (Sept. 29 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578512506
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578512508
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.4 x 24 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 798 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #167,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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In their previous book, The Balanced Scorecard, Robert Kaplan and David Norton unveiled an innovative "performance management system" that any company could use to focus and align their executive teams, business units, human resources, information technology and financial resources on a unified overall strategy--much like businesses have traditionally employed financial management systems to track and guide their general fiscal direction. In The Strategy-focused Organisation, Kaplan and Norton explain how companies like Mobil, CIGNA and Chemical Retail Bank have effectively used this approach for nearly a decade, and in the process present a step-by-step implementation outline that other organizations could use to attain similar results. Their book is divided into five sections that guide readers through the development of a completely individualised plan created with "strategy maps" (graphical representations designed to clearly communicate desired outcomes and how they are to be achieved), then infused throughout the enterprise and made an integral part of its future. In several chapters, for example, the authors show how their models have linked long-term strategy with day-to-day operational and budgetary management, and detail the "double loop" process for doing so, monitoring progress, and initiating corrective actions if necessary. --Howard Rothman


" . . . Kaplan and Norton show they know how to follow a good opening act [The Balanced Scorecard] without losing their own balance." -- American Way, December 2000

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on Nov. 22 2002
Format: Hardcover
Having used the BSc a few times in my work, I expected this to be a hepful addition to my knowledge base in the area. I found that it added little to the author's other published tomes and to his articles in journals like HBR. Although the basic concept is sound, the implementation challenges are dealt with as you'd expect from an ivory tower-based profesoor and are several steps removed from the challenges that most of my real-world, and smaller company clients, need to address. I truly felt as though I didn't get my money's worth with this purchase and I should have stuck with the materials I already had by the author that was available in other forms. I would have saved time, money and a degree of frustration.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a critical piece of work that should pass the test of time. In commenting on the value of this book, I'd like to draw some parallels with IT Architecture Frameworks as implemented today.
During the same period that Zachman was developing his IT Architecture Framework, various business and management thinkers were looking for ways to adequately capture the importance of the "intangible" or non-financial assets of the organization. Notable in this respect were the attempts of Yugi Ijiri (Momentum Accounting and Triple-Entry Booking, American Accounting Association, 1989), and Robert Kaplan and David Norton (The Balanced Scorecard, Harvard Business School Publishing 1996).
Especially the efforts of Kaplan and Norton were implemented by various large-scale organizations - often in a different way than anticipated by the authors themselves. In this book, Kaplan and Norton describe their earlier effort as follows: "We first developed the Balanced Scorecard in the early 1990s to solve a measurement problem. ...... But we (subsequently) learned that adopting companies used the Balanced Scorecard to solve a much more important problem than how to measure performance in the information era. The problem, of which we were frankly unaware when first proposing the Balanced Scorecard, was how to implement new strategies."
Messieurs Kaplan and Norton goes on to describe the cause and effect linkages between a company's Mission, the way it interprets its reality and its beliefs (Philosophy and Core Values), how it thinks the future is going to look like (that Vision thing...), its Strategies (or its hypotheses and plans on how to create value), and the actual consequences.
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Format: Hardcover
If you have not already read Kaplan and Norton's The Balanced Scoreboard, I presume to suggest that you do so prior to reading this book. However, this sequel is so thoughtful and well-written that it can certainly be of substantial value to decision-makers in any organization (regardless of size or nature) which is determined to "thrive in the new business environment." Research data suggest that only 5% of the workforce understand their company's strategy, that only 25% of managers have incentives linked to strategy, that 60% of organizations don't link budgets to strategy, and 85% of executive teams spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy. These and other research findings help to explain why Kaplan and Norton believe so strongly in the power of the Balanced Scorecard. As they suggest, it provides "the central organizing framework for important managerial processes such as individual and team goal setting, compensation, resource allocation, budgeting and planning, and strategic feedback and learning." After rigorous and extensive research of their own, obtained while working closely with several dozen different organizations, Kaplan and Norton observed five common principles of a Strategy-Focused Organization:
1. Translate the strategy to operational terms
2. Align the organization to the strategy
3. Make strategy everyone's job
4. Make strategy a continual process
5. Mobilize change through executive leadership
The first four principles focus on the the Balanced Scorecard tool, framework, and supporting resources; the importance of the fifth principle is self-evident. "With a Balanced Scorecard that tells the story of the strategy, we now have a reliable foundation for the design of a management system to create Strategy-Focused Organizations.
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Format: Hardcover
The title from the review is borrowed from Maslow. Its choice is inspired by the fact that the authors try to promote the balanced scorecard as THE solution to *any* problem a company has. I agree on the value of Balanced Scorecards as a measurement tool. I also acknowledge the fact that what you measure will strongly influence the path your organization will follow. (One of the discoveries of sytems thinking is that the fact of measuring something changes the system.) However, there is MORE to strategy and to human motivation than just making measurable goals. As the authors note, an important question for strategy is whether it gets implemented, but measurement or scorecards aren't key in that. For stragegy, one needs to energize the whole company-system, so you have to combine scorecards with principles as the one you'll find in books as "Appreciative Inquiry" or "Whole-Scale Change". Likewise, for human motivation you have to make sure you get the right person on the right place (as we show at jobEQ.com) and as you can read in my book "7 Steps to Emotional Intelligence". Indeed, my experience has learned me that when Balanced scorecards fail, the reason has to do with the factors that these other books will mention. My rating for this book is the result of the observation that Kaplan and Norton "overstrech" the usability and impact their useful technology has.
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