The Balanced Business Scorecard is a useful model that encourages organisations to measure effectiveness and success in a more rounded way, considering alongside financial goals, internal processes, customers, and learning and growth.
Despite its obvious benefits however, the traditional Balanced Business Scorecard always felt a bit sterile and introspective to me. For example, when talking about customers, the language used in traditional models often revolves around how an organisation should ‘appear’ to its customers, which feels cold, compared to, for example, what it could do for its customers.
Back in 2004, as our team of three started to expand, we quickly realised that we needed a balanced business scorecard that was more ‘us’.
At the time, we had nine core values, which none of us could ever remember – a problem that a lot of organisations experience, so we began by whittling these down to a more manageable and memorable number.
We ended up with five ‘passions’, which have served us well for more than 15 years. They are to be, financially strong, innovative, customer focused, team spirited and socially responsible.
Every year since then, we’ve sat down as an entire team and agreed objectives for each of our passions. Of course, some are harder than others – we found it difficult this year to think about new things we can do to build on Team Spirit, for example. And there can be overlap – for example, innovative improvements should, ultimately, benefit the customer.
But these challenges exist with the traditional balanced business scorecard too. What our approach has enabled us to do, is directly link our values to business planning and our measures of success without the need for additional layers of language, complexity or bureaucracy.
So, what do our passions mean in practice?
Well, financially strong means we emerge from one of the toughest trading periods in our history debt free, whilst innovative means Trainers’ Library will be getting a refresh this year with exciting new functionality for our customers. Our customer focus has ensured customer service is ranked as one of the very best things about Trainers’ Library by our customers and ensures we remain focused on developing new, innovative training materials they will enjoy using. Whilst I like to think our team events and the way we involve every member of the team in the business is part of the reason staff turnover has always been very low.
But what about socially responsible? For us this is all about doing our bit for the local and global community.
It’s why all our office’s electricity has come from renewable sources since 2007, why we ensure all packaging and materials we used are recycled and why we offset our remaining carbon footprint. This year we’re taking another step towards our ultimate goal to be carbon negative, by planting a tree for every new trainer that joins Trainers’ Library in 2022, whether that’s a completely new customer or an existing customer adding more licences.
It’s also why, for example, we’ve donated £5,000.00 in the first week of January to the Seashell Trust, and why 1% of our turnover will go to a nominated charity this year too.
The thing, for me, is this: By creating a balanced business scorecard approach that uses our five core passions, rather than the more boring language of the traditional model, we’ve been able to align our business to us as people and build and sustain something we all feel incredibly proud of. And that, in terms of motivation, resilience, enjoyment and job satisfaction, is priceless.
Co-founder and Commercial Director at Glasstap® ( www.glasstap.com ), the company behind Trainers' Library® ( www.trainerslibrary.com ) a service relied on by trainers in more than 40 countries, I retain overall responsiblity for the...
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