There are several purposes to the Balance Scorecard. One of the most important is to create measures that are forward looking and proactive. This way the Balanced Scorecard can be an effective agent of organizational change. However, we can never start any forward thinking without a vision.
I use to think that Vision and Mission Statements was just a consultant/academic type exercise. I did them but I have to honestly admit, it may have been more of an exercise than a real vision. In recent years, working with such a variety of companies, I have shifted my thinking. Without vision, you seldom provide a unifying theme of purpose. All of your objectives, all the measures, all the targets, etc. become disjointed. In a recent interview for a future Business901 Podcast, Ari Weinzweig, CEO and co-founding partner of Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, MI said, “Vision comes from the heart”. That statement sums it up perfectly.
Recently, I have participated with organizations using Hoshin Kanri and the Balanced Scorecard. These approaches have a remarkable similarity and both are driven by the vision and strategic goals of the organization. These approaches will highlight a lack of vision. You will find great difficulty in completing the process without a crystal clear view of where you want to go. It’s that Why, Simon Sinek explains in his book, Start with Why.
Whether you call it Why or Vision, there is not anything else more instrumental to your success. Do you believe your organization has a heart? Does that mission pulsate throughout the entire organization? It’s not an iterative process. It is not anything that is cloudy or mysterious to your organization. It is Why you get up in the morning and go to work. With Vision, With Why, a unifying theme of purpose exists. All of your objectives, all the measures, all the targets, etc. become aligned.
It’s very similar to Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz! She was running away from home for a better life. They did not understand her. She lacked a vision. Linda, the good witch came back and told Dorothy, “You have had the power all along; you just had to find it.” I encourage you as a business to find your vision and identify with it. Tap those shoes together: Find the Vision, the Why of your organization.
P.S. How long should you plan for? I think vision is something that will extend many years out and would venture to say for even young companies that 5 years is a minimum period. Most mature companies should paint a vision and strategic direction for at least a 10 year period.