There is an abundance of outstanding material available to business leaders who are seeking to inspire maximum engagement and monitor the results. Perhaps the most popular and effective performance measurement tool is the Balanced Scoreboard, which was developed in the early 1990s by Drs. Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton. Kaplan and Norton have introduced the Balanced Scoreboard to hundreds of organizations, and it represents an invaluable contribution to the whole field of organizational development. The editors of the Harvard Business Review cited Kaplan and Norton’s Balanced Scorecard concept as one of the most influential management ideas of the past 75 years.
The Scoreboard was the first instrument available to business leaders which incorporated intangible assets (the human side of the business success equation) into tangible outcomes—hence the name Balanced Scoreboard. Kaplan and Norton emphasized the utility of the Scoreboard for assisting leaders in “evaluating the journey that information age companies must make to create future value through investment in customers, suppliers, employees, processes, technology, and innovation.”
Another outstanding writer and researcher is Dr. Jeffrey Pfeffer of Stanford University. Like Kaplan and Norton, Dr. Pfeffer recognized the critical importance of intangible inputs, and he began generating titles through Harvard Business School Press, such as Competitive Advantage Through People; Unleashing the Power of the Workforce (1994) and The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First (1998). Pfeffer forcefully asserts that maximum engagement will result in maximum profitability.
It would be difficult to overstate the value of the contributions these authors have made to business excellence and success. Dr. Pfeffer’s empirical research and the conclusions he draws are immensely valuable. I offer nothing but praise for his efforts and the work of Kaplan and Norton. I believe these men have done a magnificent job of introducing the human factor as a critical performance driver, thus helping business leaders gain a more complete understanding of the impact that the intangibles have on sustainable success.
But I do offer one caveat: it is my opinion that they have largely ignored the human spirit foundation that supports all the intangible elements included in the Balanced Scoreboard. Maximum engagement and long-term success begin with purpose partners understanding who they are as human beings. This is the impetus behind all key performance drivers.