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17 July 2009 • 7:00 am

Scorecard Blues (plus Three Other Colors)

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To my chagrin, the term ‘scorecard’ is widely used in both the disciplines of performance management and strategy execution, and without further qualification, has an imprecise variety of meanings. To some, it may mean a large collection of indicators of operational performance. To others, it is an ambiguous shorthand for ‘balanced scorecard,’ which is a well-developed set of related ideas and practices around strategy management and execution. Ambiguity comes from the fact that to some, the term ‘balanced scorecard’ means simply a collection of measures that has been balanced according to some real or imagine scheme. On far too many occasions, I’ve been approached by a conference attendee with a request to review and comment on his so-called ‘balanced scorecard,’ only to find that the proud offering is a only collection of operational measures with no connection to strategy. This is the basis of my Scorecard Blues. So let me be blunt: if a set of measures has been selected without the prior development of a strategy map, it cannot be properly called a balanced scorecard.

Even without the qualifier of ‘balanced,’ a ‘scorecard’ is seen as a group of measures, and / or the visual representation of those measures, and / or the tool for managing measurement data. Many software tools called ‘scorecards’ have been developed to facilitate the collection, analysis, and presentation of scorecards, both for operational and strategic use. Because the term ‘scorecard’ has so many diverse meanings and uses, it simply cannot be used alone without further explanation. But there is one trait that attaches to nearly every individual’s own definition of the term ‘scorecard.’

The lowest common denominator of nearly all ‘scorecards’ is the ubiquitous red – yellow (amber in Europe) – green summary indicator scheme (hence RYG). more

30 June 2009 • 7:00 am

How Was Your Flight? A Journey From Concept to Indicator

In our pursuit of a shared vocabulary of measurement, we’ve already considered the ideas of accuracy, precision, and healthy skepticism. Here, we take a step back and look at key terms of measurement concept, dimension, and indicator.

A measurement concept is a mental image that describes an area of interest, such as speed, warmth, or comfort. The key to thinking about a concept is that it springs from an idea; an impression or perception that cannot be directly measured. To conceptualize an idea is to specify what we mean when we use that mental image.

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