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Running your first Balanced Scorecard Review Meeting

Posted April 22, 2010 1:02 PM by Ted Jackson

This post builds on my earlier post called Preparing for your Strategy Review Meeting. Let's assume now that you have prepared for your monthly strategy review meeting well, and it is time to start thinking about the meeting itself. There are a few things that you want to have in order. First, you want to have a clear agenda for the meeting. You want to send this agenda and your prepared data to all of the attendees in advance. It needs to be clear to the group what you will be discussing, why you are discussing it, and what you hope the outcome of the meeting will be. This step is more than just an email with the document attached. You want to ensure that the attendees are prepared to take action in the meeting.

Your meeting should have the following agenda items:

  • Theme overview
  • Objective analysis
  • Initiative discussion
  • Next steps
I'm talking about a monthly meeting, so in this case the overview is just for part of your strategy map or one Theme. If this is a quarterly meeting, your overview should be of the entire strategy map. The theme overview should have multiple objectives and be a broad brush that tells the story of what is happening with the theme. Are things going well or poorly? Can we celebrate successes or do we need to jump into a crisis? If we can get everyone on the same page at the start of the meeting, it will help. The theme overview does not need to be more than 15 minutes of the meeting.

The next step is the objective analysis. Here you look at each of the objectives in the theme, and you look both at the measure performance and the supporting initiatives. I would suggest doing this for both on track and off track objectives. You can spend less time with the on track ones, but it is important for the leadership team to be on the same page when talking with everyone else in the organization about the successes at your company. Objective owners should drive this discussion, and if you need decisions to be made, it should have been clearly stated in the agenda and the pre-read.

You should have an outside facilitator for your first few meetings, and he/she should be mindful off the time and should work hard to keep the discussion on track. Create a parking lot for important issues that are just not relevant to the discussion. It will allow the team to make sure these items are heard and put on an agenda for a later discussion. The facilitator will need to push both the objective owner as well as the rest of the team to stay on track and in the time requirements.

During the initiative discussion, you should focus on whether this is the best group of initiatives to support the strategy. Many organizations have too many initiatives, have legacy initiatives, or just have projects that they are working on that are not currently related to the strategy (they may have been great ideas at the time). You should take a hard look at your initiatives that support the strategy and ask if you need to make changes. Changes could include accelerating or slowing an initiative. It could include stopping or changing the scope as well. It is important to take a close look and ensure you are happy with how you are spending your resources.

At the end of the meeting, you want to capture the next steps. Some people call these action items. Here you want to capture what you decided and what still needs to get done. Decisions are great for the meeting minutes (to be discussed in a different post), and they are good to communicate what takes place during these strategy review meetings. Action items are items that require action (duh!) outside of the meeting. It is important to capture these so that you can make sure these items are followed up on before the next meeting or as appropriate. This is also a good time to deal with any issued that you have put in the parking lot. If you capture action items appropriately, you will have accountability for each item. You should then start your next meeting by reviewing the action items from the previous meeting.

I'd be interested to hear any successes or challenges that you have had with your own review meetings.