The balanced scorecard, the methodology developed by Drs. Robert S. Kaplan and David Norton, recognizes executive management's excessive emphasis on after-the-fact, short-term financial results and improves organizational performance by shifting attention to measuring and managing the non-financial operational measures of customers, internal processes, and learning and growth that lead to better financial results. The balanced scorecard is one of the underpinnings needed to complete the full vision of a performance management system. Will the adoption rate of the balanced scorecard find the same difficulty crossing the chasms encountered by activity-based costing (ABC) systems in the 1990s? It took many failures in ABC system implementations before organizations learned what ABC is and how to shape, size, and level them before organizations began to get them right for use. Are balanced scorecard implementations going to travel down the same bumpy road?

An early indication of trouble is the confusion about what a balanced scorecard is, and more confusion about what its purpose is. If you ask executives whether they are using a balanced scorecard, many say they are. But if you next ask them to describe it, you'll get widely different descriptions. There is no standard - yet. Some say they have successfully transferred their old columnar management reports into visual dashboards with flashing red and green lights and directional arrows. Some realize a scorecard is more than that, and they have put their old measures on a diet, compressing them into a smaller, more manageable number of measures. Neither may be the correct method.

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