Could your organization improve its performance if you could somehow better communicate to your employees what your strategy is?  Do you have employees whose hard work is actually running counter to the organization’s goals because they have a different understanding of what you are trying to accomplish?  Do various departments in your organization focus on activities within their own silo more than on how they support the organization’s mission and vision? 

The problems addressed by these questions center on the issue of organizational alignment.  While the balanced scorecard has been touted as an effective tool for creating organizational alignment, the actual success of the system as an alignment tool can vary depending on the strategic focus of scorecard (simple performance measurement dashboard tend to not be very helpful), the success of its implementation and whether or not the organization successfully cascades the scorecard down to business or support unit level and/or individual levels.

Leaving the issues of proper strategic focus and successful implementation to be addressed on other pages, what is cascading and how does one do so effectively?

Cascading a balanced scorecard means to translate the corporate-wide scorecard (referred to as Tier 1) down to first business units, support units or departments (Tier 2) and then teams or individuals (Tier 3).  The end result should be focus across all levels of the organization that is consistent.  The organization alignment should be clearly visible through strategy, using the strategy map, performance measures and targets, and initiatives. Scorecards are used to improve accountability through objective and performance measure ownership, and desired employee behaviors are incentivized with recognition and rewards.

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