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Five principles of successful organizations emerged from Kaplan and Norton’s research on successful Balanced Scorecard adaptors. Hence, the five principles describe the key elements of building an organization that can focus on strategy while delivering breakthrough results. Additionally, high performance groups depend heavily on effective facilitation and participant ownership.

The nineties are arguably the most worldwide productive in economic history. Because, productivity accelerated, market values rose, and unemployment fell to record lows. However, in a Zook survey, only 13 percent of organizations achieved shareholder returns greater than the cost of capital. Therefore setting up the need for a return to strategy, such as the Balanced Scorecard. History will show a pattern of

“excessive exuberance”

to quote Alan Greenspan, and a shift from strategy to tactics, such as:

  • First to market
  • Operational excellence
  • Customer relationship management

As companies abandoned strategy, they began to pay the price—proven by the implosion over the next fifteen years, leading us to, today. Compound that abandonment with a shift from a manufacturing era to the age of knowledge. Notice the transformation in the workplace . . .

From To
Functional (silo) Process (integrated)
Incremental change Transformational change
Management Leadership
Production driven Customer driven
Tangible assets Intangible assets
Top down Bottom up

Five principles of Kaplan and Norton’s Balanced Scorecard include . . .

  1. Align the organization to the strategy—Nobody is smarter than everybody and robust alignment requires multiple perspectives. An effective, neutral facilitator is the best choice for securing alignment among a group of people.
  2. Make strategy a continual process—The journey is more important than the destination, and there is no better guide on a journey than a well-prepared facilitator using an appropriate methodology.
  3. Make strategy everyone’s job—Ownership is key and facilitated sessions can secure individual commitments that must be met to save face. The key output of any facilitated session is agreement on WHO does WHAT and WHEN.
  4. Mobilize change through executive leadership—Big egos demand great skill and facilitators earn their income over and over when forced to deal with executives, who many times embrace being rational as what is best for them, rather than the entire group. Facilitation helps avoid such fallacy.
  5. Translate the strategy into operational terms—Requiring a life cycle of activities as ideas are transformed from the abstract to the concrete.  Hence, no better leader can be found than one who manages context on behalf of the subject matter experts.

The message becomes clear. When you want to accelerate results, you better place a high value on the role of facilitator. They can pay for themselves many times over. They may generate more economic value for the organization than other roles, even the CEO. The CEO who has the answer but is unable to realize these five principles within their own organization, will likely generate sub-optimal returns.

Balanced Scorecard Demands Strategy-Focused Facilitation

Balanced Scorecard


Don’t ruin your career or reputation with bad meetings. Register for a class or forward this to someone who should. Taught by world-class instructors, MG RUSH  professional facilitation curriculum focuses on practice. Each student thoroughly practices and rehearses tools, methods, and approaches throughout the week. While some call this immersion, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

Our courses also provide an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, and 40 CDUs from IIBA, as well as 3.2 CEUs for other professions. (See individual class descriptions for details.)

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Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Facilitation Best Practices blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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  1. Terrence-

    the BSC is just a dead horse these days and those guys have no sustainable documented results to even talk about with organizations that have used that approach!!

    It is still Harvard Business Presses marketing darling.

    Hope all is well.

    William Malek


    • Thank-you William for taking valuable time to provide an expert reply. As the author of “Executing Your Strategy” you have clearly justified your position. Humbled by the superb quality of your book, I truly agree with your comment, from the role of methodologist. To me, BSc has always failed to measure balance, in addition to the compelling concerns you set forth in your book. In the role of instructor however, I recognize the ongoing use of BSc and aspire to provide one means of making it better, suggesting that the FAST training you and others have taken, will improve their effectiveness with any methodology. As expert facilitators, we remain methodologically agnostic. Hope to see you soon. We have a significant announcement coming in about ten days.

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