Week of November 17, 2003
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'Business Scorecard' Guruby JACK LYNE, Site Selection Executive Editor of Interactive Publishing
Kaplan Signs On for IAMC's
Arizona Spring Forum
NORCROSS, Ga. Robert Kaplan, whose work Conference Board President Richard E. Cavanaugh called "required reading for those who seek to measure and manage successful business strategy," is set as one of the high-profile speakers at the Industrial Asset Management Council's (IAMC at www.iamc.org) Spring Professional Forum in Tucson, Ariz.
The high-profile Harvard Business School professor and business strategist will be a key cog at the gathering of top real estate managers on March 14-17 at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort (www.loewshotels.com/hotels/tucson), IAMC officials in suburban Atlanta confirmed.
Kaplan will bring a powerful, performance-oriented message to IAMC's conference, the latest in the rapidly growing organization's widely praised forums. Much of his Tucson message will spring from the work that first catapulted Kaplan to worldwide prominence as a business strategist: 1992's publication of The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action (Harvard Business School Press).
Co-authored with Renaissance Solutions President David P. Norton, the book squarely hit a business nerve. The Financial Times, for example, included Kaplan in its list of "Top 25 Business Thinkers."
Publishers Weekly wrote in its review of the book, "Balanced scorecards could represent the emergence of a new era of management sophistication, in which both the hard and soft variables of work life are taken into account in a rigorous, testable fashion."
Crystallizing Management MetricsIndeed, metrics are the warp and woof of Kaplan's balanced scorecard. As Booklist magazine observed in its Balanced Scorecard review, "What Kaplan and Norton have created is a system that not only measures but, more important, manages such elusive corporate goals as mission, vision, and customer and employee satisfaction."
The Harvard educator has crystallized management measurement in four "perspectives" (as he calls them): the financial perspective, the customer perspective, the employee perspective and the process perspective. Each company creates its own unique scorecard, listing for each perspective four to six key factors in performance success.
Part of the beauty of the balanced scorecard is its concision. A good balanced scorecard, says Kaplan, only needs to cover a single page to effectively communicate a company's entire strategy to every employee. (Some of today's more verbose corporate mission statements alone can drag on for a goodly part of a single page.)
Study: Scorecard ManagementBut the balanced scorecard's beauty contains an even more important aspect: It works, creating a major competitive advantage. That competitive edge was documented in a 1999 study of 203 U.S. companies by Metrus Group (www.metrus.com), a Somerville, N.J.-based consultancy.
Makes Big Difference in Performance
The Metrus study found that 97 percent of organizations that were using the balanced scorecard reported "success in last major change effort." By comparison, only 55 percent of companies that weren't using the scorecard approach reported that their last change initiative has been successful. Similarly, 93 percent of balanced scorecard users reported "clear agreement on strategy among senior management" - a key factor in successfully implementing savvy real estate management. But only 37 percent of non-balanced scorecard users reported senior managers' common understanding of company strategy.
Significantly, the differences documented in the Metrus study extend to the bottom line. The study found that 80 percent of organizations using the balanced scorecard reported "a three-year positive return on investment." For non-balanced scorecard users, the comparable figure was only 45 percent.
Real-World Focus, Top-Rated FacilityKaplan's keynote address blends well with the Tucson Forum's theme "Kick it Up a Notch: Blending Best-of-Class Business Practices to Maximize Corporate Growth."
Similarly, the appearance of Kaplan, who has worked with companies that include Brown & Root Energy Services, CIGNA, FMC Corporation and Mobil, continues IAMC's real-world focus. The fast-growing group has established a distinctive niche with its core focus on executive-level managers in the industrial and manufacturing sectors who're responsible for corporate real estate and asset management.
That focus prompted a recent Whittaker Report to observe, "IAMC has the market right now on a conference that is entertaining, educational, and still perfect for business." (For the full Whittaker Report story, go to: www.whittakerassociates.com/newsletter/Oct03.html#iamc.)
The highly ranked Kaplan will deliver his keynote presentation at a highly ranked facility. Loews Ventana Canyon Resort has been honored with Meetings and Conventions magazine's Gold Key Award for "finest meetings service and quality" since 1986, and it's received the Mobil Travel Guide's four-star rating since 1987.
Attendees can also enjoy a wide range of leisure activities at the Arizona resort. Two Tom Fazio-designed golf courses, tennis courts, jeep tours, hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking are all available.
Ventana Canyon Resort also contains five restaurants. One of them, the Ventana Room, has received the Zagat Survey's "number one ranking."
For registration information for the Tucson conference, go to IAMC's Web site at www.iamc.org/forum/2004/tucson.
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