Kunle Balances his Score Card…

Kunle Balances his Score Card…

“This Balanced Score Card thing is not working. We have invested so much and now the software keeps hanging and we cannot even finish our damned performance appraisals” snaps a very irritated Uche Okafor, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at KG Industries, a. leading indigenous manufacturer in Makurdi, Benue State in the North Central part of Nigeria. “All these fancy theories that you consultants like to sell to us - Balanced Score Card that doesn’t work” Uche exclaimed as he punched hard on his keyboard.

Uche was sharing his thoughts as he on-boarded the Company’s new Head of Human Resources, Kunle Odebiyi, who had just completed an MBA abroad after working previously as Head of HR Business Partners at Valbrew - one of Nigeria’s fastest growing brewers.

In all of the interviews and discussions that Kunle had with the CEO of KG Industries and a few of the Executive Directors this issue of the Balanced Score Card (BSC) featured prominently. It was clearly a major source of concern for the Company and was certainly going to be his first priority. “I wonder why everyone keeps referring to the BSC as a software?” Kunle thought to himself as he left Uche’s office pondering on the comments Uche and most of the other Executives he had interacted with had made about the BSC.

To swing right into action, Kunle took his time to study the strategy development and performance management system. The files were actually quite detailed and painted a picture that came straight out of his Strategy text at his MBA. KG Industries had engaged one of the Big four accounting firms in the country to re-fresh its organization-wide strategy and performance management process. They implemented the BSC for the Company and built a robust performance management system to support its implementation. “On paper, it looked like the consultants had done a great job, so why was the BSC not working” Kunle asked one of his HR Business partners, Amina as they concluded reviewing the files. Amina was one of the oldest HR staff, so Kunle kept her close by as he learned the ropes for historical-context and clarity, and her insights were usually spot on.

“I think it was the way we went about it with the Consultants, they barely interacted with us and to be honest most people, even those of us in HR are pretty clueless about the whole BSC thing, apart from the IT guys who installed the software”, responded Amina.

“Hmmm, I think I know what we should do - let us carry out a survey on the Strategy and Performance Management System” responded Kunle excitedly after reflecting for a few seconds. “I read this article written by a Nigerian author during my MBA research on the 10 Classic Strategy Mistakes that Companies make, and I will not be surprised if KG Industries and their Strategy Consultants were guilty of several of those mistakes”. “We will do a staff survey on the process and get insights from employees about what went wrong, so that we can actually fix it”

Kunle was right, the feedback from employees suggested that there were many things wrong with the Strategy and Performance Management process. It was no surprise: The Consultants did most of the work and hardly got the managers and employees involved in the process; there was absolutely no capacity building for Managers and Executives on the BSC; and the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set were never really discussed with the staff except at an Executive Briefing which the Consultants held with the CEO and the EDs for about one hour. On the 10-Count charge from the article which Tunde used as a guide, KG Industries and its Strategy/Performance Management system with the BSC was guilty on at least 8 Counts!

“At least we have a clear understanding of what the challenges are and the root causes of the challenges. We can now roll-out interventions to balance our scorecard at KG Industries”, a hopeful yet overwhelmed Kunle said as he ended his presentation to the CEO and the Executive Management Team on the outcomes of the Staff Survey.

Kunle, Amina and the rest of the HR Team swung into action with the full support of the CEO to fix things - the next six months saw a massive investment in Line Manager Training on the BSC and Performance Management - even the EMT members got a refresher training on the BSC. The HR Team held Performance Contracting Clinics across all the Departments in the Company to re-write the wrongs of the previous cascading process; and a change management plan was put in place and implemented to ensure that more communication, engagement and feedback was done to carry the employees along on this important journey of BSC implementation.

By the next year-end performance appraisal cycle, the narrative had changed significantly - Uche Okafor was no longer punching the keys on his computer so hard and whining about the broken down BSC software. He now knows better - BSC was beyond a software and has actually make a difference in driving performance in KG Industries. Kunle and his HR Team had balanced his score card.

Learning Impact NG is a full-service organizational development, organizational learning and strategy consulting firm that offers a unique range of solutions to meet the needs of organizations and individuals. Click HERE to learn more about our program on Implementing the Balanced Score Card.

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