My big problem with the Balanced Scorecard approach to strategy and performance management is that is, well, too balanced. It makes everything of equal importance.

In most Balanced Scorecard projects and reports I’ve seen, there is a general assumption that all goals carry the same weight. The end result is that the management of the business becomes unnecessarily complex and confused, with managers trying to keep on top of a dozen or more measures.

I don’t work that way.

When I work with my clients we determine what their #1 goal is, and use that goal to drive their agenda and strategy. We then identify other KPIs to counter-balance our goal and make sure that it is delivered in the right way, but we don’t give everything equal weighting.

As set out in the chart, it is like having one major weight being counter-balanced with several smaller weights. In that sense, our scorecard is purposefully unbalanced.

For example, I’ve recently worked with the executive team of a major retailer and we have concluded that growing footfall – that is, the number of people coming into their stores – is their #1 goal.

The team counter-balanced that measure with other KPIs – conversion rates, customer satisfaction and operating cost ratios – to ensure that the footfall was of the right quality and cost. But the big breakthrough the team have made is that, all other things being equal, increasing footfall is the factor that will best drive their short- and long-term ambitions.

Are you suffering from an excessive number of conflicting objectives? Or have you identified your #1 goal and focused your organisation on delivering it in the right way?

© Stuart Cross 2010. All rights reserved.