Kaplan and the Balance Scorecard

I was one of about 40 people at Li Gong Restaurant at the Empire lucky to be listening to a luncheon talk given by the guru of balanced score card, Robert S Kaplan yesterday afternoon. Kaplan is here in Brunei Darussalam and his one day conference which will be held tomorrow at the ICC entitled "Managing for Results: Using Balanced Scorecard to Achieve Better Performance and Good Governance in the Public Sector" a sellout even at $1,200 a person. According to the blurb, the conference supposedly will 'help delegates understand how to meet the needs of diverse constituents; hear how other leaders in government implement change to manage constrained financial and human resources; and master strategy alignment, execution and sustainability to drive performance and governance in organisations." Sounds a mouthful but it is Robert Kaplan.

For the uninitiated, who is he? Aside from being a Professor at Harvard Business School, he is co-developer of the BSC approach. This relatively new approach to strategic management was developed in the early 1990's by him and Dr David Norton. Recognizing some of the weaknesses and vagueness of previous management approaches, the balanced scorecard approach supposedly provides a clearer prescription as to what companies should measure in order to 'balance' the financial perspective. As of late, the BSC approach can also be used to prepare Strategic Planning for organisations. His latest book entitled 'Alignment' shows how companies can build an enterprise-level Strategy Map and Balanced Scorecard that clearly articulate the "enterprise value proposition" - how the enterprise creates value above that achieved by individual business units operating alone. This critical alignment lies with corporate headquarters.

The BSC approach is only one of the many revolutions going on in the Brunei civil service. On the outside, non-government people just see calm water not realising the underwater currents is churning. A lot of changes have taken place except that changes may not be as much as people had hoped but maybe a lot more than what was seen even 10 years ago. Almost every ministry had adopted and shown off its strategic planning - the Ministry of Defence, the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Finance and yesterday, the Ministry of Home Affairs. Each a document outlining what they planned to do and how they plan to do it. This was unimaginable even 5 years ago.

Technologically, the civil service had advanced. I walked around my building with a tabletPC (even though once in a while, I feel like throwing it 17 floors down) in connection with almost anyone else who has one. My officers sent me instant messaging, e-mails and documents with so much ease that we saved so much time that even coming up to my office becomes unnecessary. With the LegCo, the transparency in government is becoming visible. If you are non-government, don't write us off yet. We are here to serve the public and we aim to do it as well as we can.


Anonymous said…
First of all I have to say, great site (including its predecessor). Nice to be to able to read some intelligent writing coming out of Brunei. WRT BSC, when I was doing some research on it a coupla years back. I found an interesting website that replies to some of people's worries to the changes involved with BSC. www.balancedscorecard.org/basics/objections.html

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