Balanced Scorecards and Baldrige Excellence:
Working Together to Optimize Results
by Craig A. Anderson
If you are using a "balanced scorecard" approach for setting priorities and
measuring results without having a Baldrige engine in place to drive results
across your organization, you may be missing out on a real opportunity to improve
performance. Without implementation, strategic intent is meaningless. With
Baldrige, your strategies will become the focal point of your integrated
management system, ensuring consistent, measurable results in every part of your
The balanced scorecard community itself is moving in the direction of alignment.
The original authors of the balanced scorecard concept have just published
Alignment: Using the Balanced Scorecard to Create Corporate Synergies (Kaplan
and Norton, HBS Press, April 2006), which makes the case that "successful
enterprises achieve powerful synergies by explicitly defining corporate
headquarters’ role in setting, coordinating, and overseeing organizational
strategy." Exactly! And what better way to set, coordinate, oversee, and
IMPLEMENT strategy than with the Baldrige Performance Excellence system.
In fact, the current version of the Baldrige Criteria recognize the importance of a
balanced perspective toward performance measurement, noting that "the use of a
balanced composite of leading and lagging performance measures offers an
effective means to communicate short- and longer-term priorities, monitor actual
performance, and provide a clear basis for improving results." (Criteria, p.4, Focus
on Results and Creating Value). Baldrige is designed to "play nice" with all valid
process improvement methodologies including scorecards, ISO-9000, Six Sigma,
Lean, etc. We are all interested in the same thing: measurable results.
Why is Baldrige great for implementation? Our long-time readers know that the
open source nature of the Baldrige system is the key. The Baldrige Criteria
represent the leading edge of validated management practice, tested and
deployed every day be thousands of "real world" organizations that are focused on
results. Open source systems will always trump proprietary systems developed by
small, closed groups of specialists. Open source in Baldrige means that sharing
and learning are embedded in the Core Values and Criteria, reinforced through
ongoing feedback and annual revisions.
The open source Baldrige system has evolved over 18 years to become a potent
implementation tool. Don't take our word for it: the Criteria for Performance
Excellence are instantly accessible (click here) via the internet from any computer,
anywhere in the world, from the main Baldrige Program Office at the US
Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technologies.
Attend a national or regional conference to hear experienced Baldrige
practitioners share learnings and best practices. Study case studies and
examples online (several recent case studies are posted on our corporate
website: http://gpsinc.us). Finally, invest in yourself: introduce the Baldrige Criteria
in your own organization and contribute to defining the "leading edge of validated
Until next month, stay well, and good luck with your important work to optimize
human and organizational performance, with whatever method you choose to
employ! If you want to learn more about how Baldrige Performance Excellence can
turbocharge your balanced scorecard initiative, contact our President, Craig
Anderson, at 301-309-8530, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.