5 Ways To Get The Most From Your Balanced Scorecard

Does your report have both brains and beauty? Follow these reporting principles for great results.

Joseph, Director of Customer Success at ClearPoint, has over 10 years of experience working with customers to create efficient performance management and strategy execution processes.

A great Balanced Scorecard report is a beautiful thing. It should include your strategy map along with information about objectives, measures, and projects. Depending on the organization, you may also have a section devoted to action items or follow-up tasks from the last meeting. This information is all gathered throughout the month and then reported on, usually in a leadership team meeting.

Ready to see strategic success in your company? It’s time to put the Balanced Scorecard to work.

But if you want your Balanced Scorecard report to be really impactful, there are a few elements that we highly suggest you take into consideration beforehand. We’ve outlined them below—take a look!

5 Ways To Get The Most From Your Balanced Scorecard

1. Report elements should be agreed upon beforehand.

If your organization’s departments are, for example, using different measures to examine revenue growth, that may become a sticking point in the meeting. In other words, if one department is focused on increased income and another is adamant on lowering overhead costs, that discussion may dominate your meeting time. To avoid this situation and stay focused on what matters, make sure all departments have agreed upon the report elements beforehand.

2. The report should flow logically.

Your report shouldn’t jump around without any rhyme or reason. Instead, walk through the elements of your Balanced Scorecard in a logical manner:

  • First, your strategy map should be at the top.
  • Second, objectives are contained in the strategy map and should be examined in greater detail.
  • Next, measures provide you with a hard indicator of the progress you’ve made toward your objectives. In other words, they are the hard values that show you how you’re actually doing.
  • Finally, projects are put in place to improve measure performance, and should be the last thing discussed.

If you keep the agenda at the map and objective level, then the measures and projects can support the objectives as appropriate to the discussion.

3. Be sure to color-code.

Assigning red, amber, and green (RAG) statuses provides a quick and easy way to see how a particular element of your report is performing. For example, if you see that two of your objectives are green, you likely don’t need to have a lengthy conversation about them. Everyone in the meeting can immediately see this and place more focus on the yellow and red areas.

That being said, don’t forget to celebrate some green success every now and then. You might even have additional resources in these areas that you can apply to help move another part of your strategy from amber to green for the next quarter.

4. Include commentary in the report.

While assigning RAG statuses is important, simply saying “this objective is yellow” is insufficient. Everyone in the meeting wants to understand why your report elements are the way they are and how that may impact future performance—and additional commentary is a good way to keep everyone informed on this. This goes for every element of your report, from objectives, to measures, to projects.

Some organizations think that creating pretty dashboards should be enough to drive a meeting, but the devil is in the details. Having every person accountable for an element in the report write some analysis ahead of time will have a big impact on the quality of the meeting. Make sure that your reporting software or supporting mechanisms for your scorecard can accommodate this analysis in an easy to view way.

5. Create a uniform look.

If you want to create a Balanced Scorecard report that helps drive great decisions, make sure it’s easy to pull information out of it! For example, your charts should have consistent colors and branding. This helps attendees spend more time on decision-making and less time scratching their heads over what the bars, lines, or colors you’ve used actually mean.

If you are using Excel and PowerPoint, you may find ‘look and feel’ is easy to maintain initially—but as people start making updates, you will find that uniformity quickly spirals out of control. If you are struggling in this area, now might be a good time to look at software as an option for managing your scorecard.

A Quick Tip To Get You Started

When you create your Balanced Scorecard report, begin with your audience in mind. What do they want to see in a report? If your report doesn’t satiate these requirements, it’s going to flop—even if it looks incredible! Also, remember that like everything strategic, reporting is an iterative process. Your first-month report can and should look different from your report at month six. Focus on how priorities and expectations are changing throughout the process, and you’ll be a pro in no time.  [hs_action id="7328"]

5 Ways To Get The Most From Your Balanced Scorecard