Personal Balanced Scorecard

by David Samoranski on September 14th, 2011

I have been thinking a lot lately about the most critical factors to optimizing performance within companies. Organizations are made up of people and those people have the most profound impact on the ability to create and execute strategies to achieve an organization’s mission. If people are not happy, they are not engaged and not performing well individually. This lack of performance leads to excess costs, reduced productivity, and customer dissatisfaction. On the other hand, happy people help build an engaged workforce that enables an organization to excel.

Happiness is such a soft and fluffy word. What does it actually mean? Based on readings from several authors in personal productivity and self-improvement, I think happiness is a state where your efforts are aligned with your values. Everyone’s values are different, so happiness comes in many different flavors. This concept of alignment is very similar to the balanced scorecard methodology used in business. The balanced scorecard identifies strategic objectives so that the efforts of the organization are aligned to specific goals that will directly affect the mission. The balanced scorecard methodology categorizes strategic objectives into four perspectives (learning and growth, business process, customer, and financial).

It turns out Dr. Hubert Rampersad has modified this business scorecard concept to personal achievement in his book, Personal Balanced Scorecard. Many of the concepts are the same. Create a vision of what it is you are trying to achieve in life and a mission statement that defines how you are working towards your vision. Personal objectives fall into four perspectives (health, relationships, growth, and finances). Strategy is only the first step in managing performance though. An example of an annual cycle could look something like:
1. Analyze Performance
2. Define Objectives
3. Specify Goals
4. Identify Initiatives
5. Prioritize and Budget
6. Plan and Execute
7. Monitor and Adjust

I was not easily able to find information about implementing the personal scorecard process. I want to put the idea to work, so I figured I would start out with a personal assessment of how my time and energy currently fall into these perspectives. I feel things like work are contributing to growth and finance goals, while things like sports contribute to relationships and health. This is based on very loose estimates, so the next step would be to assess this a little more accurately. I can keep track of my activities throughout the week and then analyze where I actually spend my time and energy.

PBSCgraphic 

I think one of the biggest challenges to personal happiness is the concept of a paradigm. Dr. Stephen Covey addresses this concept in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. My personal interpretation of this idea is that we are all driving on the road of life. We all have different internal maps that guide where we think we are going and the decisions we make to get there. The problem is that our maps are wrong. They have been built on false limitations, social pressures, and learned behaviors that restrict our ability to see and think clearly. If we shift our paradigms and discover what is truly important to each of us as individuals, then we can redraw our maps and ensure our efforts are actually driving towards the things we value most.

In addition to documenting my activities for the next week, I also want to prototype an assessment that helps identify how people value each perspective. This could potentially create a way to quantify happiness in terms of targets, actuals, and variance. This would provide a good base of information to create improvement objectives and continue a process similar to the one listed above.

From → Personal