I was recently asked that question by a client. Now, in all fairness, I didn’t actually say it was a stupid question.
But it is. Of course they work.
The premise of the question is the problem. Of course Balanced Scorecards “work.” They display a particular set of organization-specific metrics to use within the context of coaching and performance management/improvement. They don’t do–nor are they supposed to do–any more than that.
Therein lies the problem, and the basis for my “stupid” comment. Too many think that scorecards, incentive plans, spiffs, et al, should actually DO something. Like somehow substitute for leadership. Like motivate so a leader doesn’t have to. Like provide the impetus for discretionary effort and productivity without any leadership heavy-lifting.
Balanced Scorecards work just fine. Incentives (if done properly) work just fine.
When you watch baseball, what do you expect the scorecard to do? Make hits? Score runs? Catch balls? It’s a scorecard–it tracks your score.
When you play golf, what do you expect the scorecard to do? Hit drives? Make putts? Whistle at the cart girl? It’s a scorecard–it tracks your score.
If related leadership would just remove their heads from their collective butts, maybe the added benefit of those scorecards could be realized. Brazen Leaders don’t have their heads up their butts. That’s practically a definition.
But then, I’m just a consultant.