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The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    I have not actually finished the book yet but I do think that this is a book that anyone in a leadership role in thier organization could use to update the strategic planning process. The concept of focusing the whole organization toward common goals helps it succeed. As I continue to read this book I am looking for suggestions in order to include all of the employees and help motivate them to achieve the organizations overall goals. Instead of it being a one time event, I think it will also help us keep the strategic plan in front of us as we work through it this year for not only the board of directors but the staff as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2005

    Highly Recommended!

    The fact that executives keep trying new strategic initiatives despite their abysmal rate of failure is, like second marriages, a triumph of hope over experience. Or, it may indicate just how much pressure top managers face to improve their profits. By one estimate, nine out of ten companies fail to execute their strategic visions. Yet, CEOs - who witness a world in constant flux - continue to introduce change initiatives. Are they trapped in the operational definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? Or, are they just ready for this book? Authors Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton offer wise counsel to help executives break the cycle of strategic flops. They advise executives to transform their companies into 'Strategy-Focused Organizations' using the 'Balanced Scorecard' and 'strategic mapping' tools. With these initiatives, CEOs can ensure that every employee pays attention to strategy implementation. Kaplan and Norton, the all-star co-author team who wrote 'The Balanced Scorecard' and 'Strategy Maps', have done it again, in this well-organized but somewhat dry volume. We strongly recommend this book to any manager who is responsible for designing or implementing a strategic change initiative.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2000

    Basic Training for the New Business Environment

    First and foremost, this book is an ¿interim report on the authors concept, the Balanced Scorecard (introduced in 1992 and described in the book of the same name, published in 1996). The authors provide the reader with definitive guides for entertaining change, leadership and success for today¿s nimble organizations and businesses. When Intel executives heard that Ford Motor Company, and Delta Airlines would give PC¿s to all their employees to use at home, they got into the trend as well. (See ¿The Home Field Advantage¿ CIO, May 1, 2000, page 50) The timing was perfect since Intel had launched a virtual private network to support remote access for its workers. This is a perfect example of what the authors call an enormous improvement in the communications process that spell the difference between success and failure for any business or organization. The Balanced Scorecard is applied to those areas where a business action produces an effect that will either be beneficial or bad for that company. This can spell agility or molasses, making rapid project developments a success, ergo increased profitability. The book¿s premise is to show ¿how to implement new strategies¿. And while some companies may not have to move as quickly as Intel did, every company is facing an increased rugged landscape it has to map in order to survive. Both authors through 'The Strategy Focused Organization' imply that all companies are fighting guerilla warfare. In a conventional war- like the old days of strategic planning, the generals spent a lot of time reviewing the plans. In the current war, you don¿t have the same degree of control. Yet there is the potential to be even more successful than before in the new and ever-changing business environment, if companies employ the Balanced Scorecard.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2000

    Best Practices in Organizational Communication

    The Strategy-Focused Organization clearly deserves more than five stars. It is one of the ten most important business books of the past decade. The book successfully outlines an enormous improvement in communications practices for making important changes in for profit and nonprofit organizations. The communications stall is the most one in most organizations. Application of the authors¿ ideas can bring about a significant improvement in our society. This book is an interim report on the application of the authors¿ concept, the Balanced Scorecard (introduced in 1992 and described in the book of the same name, published in 1996). The purpose of the book is to provide ¿a roadmap for those who wish to create their own Strategy-Focused Organization . . . [by employing the Balanced Scorecard].¿ If you don¿t know what the Balanced Scorecard is, let me briefly describe it for you. A Balanced Scorecard adds several important measures to the ones normally found in the accounting system, designed to measure those areas where performance most directly and powerfully affects strategic position. Such areas include innovation, organizational learning, effectiveness in key tasks, and performance with key audiences like customers. The measures are chosen to reflect the systematic effects of how the organization¿s overall value and performance are improved, and are displayed in a Strategy Map that communicates those ideas to one and all. In doing so, the Balanced Scorecard is the applied solution to many of the issues raised about how to establish a learning organization in Peter Senge¿s The Fifth Discipline. Most new business concepts do not last long enough to warrant a study on their effectiveness. The ones that do, like reengineering a few years ago, usually display more problems than successes. The Balanced Scorecard concept is the exception. The results have been very positive for almost all those who have employed it. The key seems to lie in having everyone in the organization have a more complete understanding of what the organization is trying to accomplish. As such, the authors have actually uncovered something much more significant than a strategy communications process. Harvard Business School Professor and accounting guru (Activity-Based Costing) Bob Kaplan and consultant David Norton have uncovered a best practice in how to communicate any important message in an organization. Although the book does not address that latter point, discerning readers will quickly spot it. Presumably the authors will too at some point, and a future book will begin to address this important application. The focus of this book is on how Balanced Scorecard ¿adopting companies used [it] . . . to implement new strategies.¿ The finding is that with ¿their new focus, alignment, and learning, the organizations enjoyed nonlinear performance breakthroughs.¿ This is quite remarkable because organizations have reported in the past that implementing new strategies is one of the most difficult tasks they ever take on. Studies cited by the authors point to one problem being that most people in the organization are never clear on what the new strategy is. So if careful coordination and purposeful change are required, the speeding relay team may instead drop the baton along the way. The Balanced Scorecard provides for a fundamental strategic control mechanism in the same way that the budget provides an operational control. The Balanced Scorecard is at the center of the organization¿s business planning, getting feedback to improve learning about how to proceed and then translating the organization¿s vision for each employee. This feedback is critical because most initial concepts for strategy are flawed in fundamental ways. As the authors point out, strategies should be treated as hypotheses, rather than as commandments written permanently in stone. Only by uncovering those flaws and correcting them does a new strat

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2010

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