Sunday, May 15, 2011

Using the Balanced Scorecard to Improve Strategic Alignment

The building blocks of strategic alignment; business strategy, FM strategy, organizational infrastructure and processes and FM infrastructure and processes, combine with strategic fit and functional integration to act as the foundation upon which real alignment is built.  While understanding this conceptual base is necessary, it is only the base.  Strategic alignment is an ongoing process and can sometimes be hard to discern, given its conceptual nature.  That is where the balanced scorecard comes in, providing a way to measure FM strategies and outcomes in a way that is clear, relevant to the business, and actionable.

A balanced scorecard measures four dimensions; financial, customer, internal processes, and innovation/learning.  This broad view of the business, as opposed to a traditional financial or operational metrics only view, provides a deeper perspective of current operating performance and future performance drivers.  Because of this broad view perspective, the balanced scorecard is best viewed as a management system, not a performance indicator.

To build a successful balanced scorecard for FM organizations you must address each of the four dimensions.
  • Financial Perspective:  How is FM maximizing shareholder value?
  • Customer Perspective:  How is FM performing in ways that matter most to its customers?
  • Internal Process Perspective:  What are the factors needed to build strategic capabilities and efficiencies?
  • Innovation and Learning Perspective:  What are the knowledge, skills, and systems needed to sustain continual improvement?
You can see how these four dimensions act upon each other.  Learning, for example, supports continuous improvement of internal processes which in turn results in higher customer focus and satisfaction.  By linking the four dimensions of the FM balanced scorecard to enterprise strategy FM’s help align their unit strategy with the overall strategy of the business.
This linkage to enterprise strategy is critical.  Many FM’s have balanced scorecards that are FM centric, focused primarily on traditional FM metrics.  While this may indeed indicate how well your operation is performing in relation to broad based FM benchmarking metrics, it may do little to illustrate how your FM department is supporting or hampering the overall goals of your specific business. 
And that is the point, isn’t it?  Understanding how FM relates to your overall business, how you can provide positive support to the enterprise, how you can leverage FM to the benefit of your business are all good things to do. 
In today’s business world being able to demonstrate value and leverage are two critical elements of success.  Those who do these well are at a strategic advantage.  They can explain FM value and importance in specific business-centric terms, they demonstrate attention to improving customer outcomes, they learn and innovate to the benefit of the enterprise.  In doing all of this they act as thought leaders, anticipating and fulfilling the needs of their organizations, aligning FM with the enterprise at strategic and operational levels.
Is that you?  Does it sound like your FM group?
It should.

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