How to Build a Balanced Business Scorecard | Executive Recruiting Firm

      How to Build a Balanced Business Scorecard

      Company executives are always seeking to improve business performance and operations. After all, continued success reaps financial benefits, pleasing customers and investors. 

      However, senior leadership knows that concentrating on a single performance measurement, or even on a particular division, isn’t enough to drive performance.

      Instead, executives must take a holistic approach to success. They can do so by building a balanced scorecard, where they consider performance from several different perspectives. Insights from customers, employees, company financials, and growth should all play a role in determining where they can make improvements.

      The Four Perspectives

      Executives consider four perspectives in a balanced scorecard:

      1. Customer
      2. Internal
      3. Learning
      4. Financial perspectives

      Each viewpoint provides its own insight.

      Rather than integrate multiple measurements and metrics, the balanced scorecard considers only those items that are the most critical. The goal is to create a single management report that reflects the vital aspects of the organization’s strategy.

      Another essential component of the balanced scorecard is minimizing the optimization of a single aspect at the expense of others. For instance, leaders seeking a properly balanced scorecard would avoid concentrating only on financial performance while letting customer satisfaction slide.

      Achieving a balanced scorecard can lead to an efficient organization that is well-positioned to overcome obstacles and achieve growth.

      1. The Customer Perspective

      Executives understand the need to please their customers. After all, if the customer isn’t satisfied, they’ll take their business elsewhere, potentially undermining profits and resulting in declining revenue.

      Customers typically have four fundamental concerns:

      1. Time: Time describes how quickly the customer can obtain the product.
      2. Quality: Quality measures whether the product or service meets the customer’s expectations.
      3. Performance: Performance represents the level of value a product adds.
      4. Expense: Expense is simply the cost of the product when compared with other options.

      Organizations have control over all four customer concerns. They should strive to meet specific goals related to their customers’ needs. For instance, an e-commerce business might enhance its delivery speed to compete with similar companies effectively. 

      If cost is a significant factor for the customer, the business may attempt to undercut its competitors by offering special deals or sales.

      2. The Internal Perspective

      The internal perspective of the business has the most significant impact on customers. For instance, a company that produces many defective products will negatively impact its customers. It also affects clients if the company can’t deliver products or services promptly. 

      When choosing metrics for the internal perspective of the balanced scorecard, executive leaders should:

      • Focus on those most likely to impact consumers
      • Look at the core competencies of the organization. Core competencies will vary from organization to organization.

      For instance, a car manufacturer may emphasize reducing the number of defective vehicles that make it to market. If its vehicles regularly have defects, consumers will lose confidence that the company can produce safe cars.

      When analyzing the internal perspective, technology and data are critical. Management can’t make timely decisions without real-time data to analyze the metrics in a balanced scorecard. Thus, the organization must have the right technology to assemble data quickly for the metrics.

      3. The Learning Perspective

      Growth and development are essential parts of any organization. Technology and customers’ needs are constantly changing. They don’t remain static year after year. Consequently:

      • Product development and innovation are crucial to ensuring the company’s survival. If it lags behind its competitors, consumers will jump ship and buy from other organizations with more advanced products.
      • Innovation and learning aren’t limited to research and development. Both concepts impact other areas of the organization. Marketing tools are constantly changing. Commercials and sales calls no longer make up the majority of advertising methods. Instead, digital marketing dominates most advertising strategies.
      • Traditionally back-office functions like legal and finance must also pursue growth and development strategies. More tools are available today that can simplify accounting and finance procedures that were once clunky and time-consuming. 

      Balancing innovation and learning involves examining the company’s existing processes and determining which ones require the most change to impact the business positively.

      4. The Financial Perspective

      Organizations must seek to maximize their financial performance at all times. However, financials aren’t limited only to increasing revenue and reducing expenses. Other factors play significant roles as well.

      For example, in an economic downturn, companies should prepare themselves well in advance for shortfalls in sales and high debt payments. Measuring debt levels and determining how to pay them off is essential, especially for those companies that don’t have a large cushion to fall back on.

      Cash flow is another critical measurement that companies should track. If there is a drop in receivable collections, executives will want to determine why and how to get payments back on track.

      Measuring current results shouldn’t be the only concern. Adequate budgeting and forecasting are also important. If the financial forecast isn’t on the mark, senior leadership must make adjustments to the process to improve its reliability.

      While financial results give leadership insight into how their other initiatives are working, it’s essential to understand that the three other perspectives significantly impact financials. 

      For instance, if customers aren’t happy, there will be a drop in sales. Similarly, if the company doesn’t maximize its internal processes, it loses time and energy because of inefficiencies.

      Moving the Company Forward

      Ideally, companies that implement a balanced scorecard will see significant benefits. If management chooses the proper metrics, executives are in an excellent position to identify inefficiencies and correct them before they worsen.

      Rather than concentrating on single metrics or measurements, managers must be willing to understand how each metric affects other departments and perspectives. Understanding the connectivity allows for a holistic approach to improving the organization’s performance.

      A balanced scorecard seeks to incorporate the company’s overarching strategic vision, not the performance of single individuals or departments. Combining all four perspectives increases awareness of the interaction among divisions, employees, and customers. 

      By adopting a balanced scorecard, executives can reduce their reliance on the past and focus on the future, advancing their strategic vision.

      Cowen Partners Executive Search | National Executive Search Firm

      At Cowen Partners, our top-rated executive recruiters are exceptionally skilled at delivering in-demand candidates, no matter the need and across all industries. Backed by a proven executive recruiting process, we have been the partner of choice for startups, corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and more, meeting unique and critical recruitment needs across the entire C-suite, including CEOsCFOsCOOsCMOsCIOs, CTOsCHROsVPs of sales, other VPs, directors, and several other leadership roles.  

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      Contact us to see why we are continually ranked as one of the best executive search firms around and why we have so many repeat and long-term clients, as well as referrals.

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