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Alignment: Using the Balanced Scorecard to Create Corporate Synergies Hardcover – April 24, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert S. Kaplan is the Baker Foundation Professor at Harvard Business School. David Norton serves as President of Balanced Scorecard Collaborative/Palladium.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (April 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591396905
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591396901
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Mark P. McDonald VINE VOICE on May 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you are a CIO, Head of HR, or other so called "support" function looking for help on how to align with the business, this is not the book for you.

My suggestion is to skip this book, or if you must check it out of the library or buy it used. The book you want is Kaplan and Norton's first book called "The Balanced Scorecard" which is very good and is just repeated in this book. Next I would purchase the HBR article on Strategy Maps (September 2000). Those two works cover all of what is in this book and they have a stronger implementation flavor.

Alignment is a persistent issue facing every organization and operating unit with the organization. This book does not provide the practical or actionable advice needed to give business leaders the tools and techniques need to make progress in this critical area.

If you want to know why please read on.

Kaplan and Norton are the undisputed masters of issues related to scorecards and their ideas in that area are used by leading organizations everywhere with great success. Unfortunately as they have tried to expand beyond scorecards there work in this area (this book and The Strategy-Focused Organization) have not come near the mark in my opinion.

Alignment is a critical issue in today's dynamic and changing environment. Unfortunately the authors approach alignment in a very simplistic way: create a strategy map, then create a scorecard and you will get alignment. Sorry but just using these two tools do not cut it to handle such a tough issue and this book shows it.

Like "The Strategy Focused Organization" Kaplan and Norton seek to use case studies to help illustrate their points. For that they are to be commended.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Peter Leerskov on March 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is about organizational alignment. It is the fourth in a series of thought-leading books on how to translate strategy into actions - via balanced scorecard, strategy maps, and the strategy-focused organization.

The authors start with a wonderful story:

Imagine an eight-person shell racing up the river populated by highly trained rowers, but each with different ideas of how to achieve success. But rowing at different speeds and in different directions could cause the shell to travel in circles and perhaps capsize. The winning team invariably rows in beautiful synchronism; each rower strokes powerfully but consistently with all the others, guided by a coxswain [corporate center], who has the responsibility for pacing and steering the course of action.

Unfortunately, many firms are like an uncoordinated shell. They consist of strong business units, each populated by highly trained, experienced and motivated executives. But the efforts of the individual businesses are not coordinated.

Unsurprisingly, the authors suggest that their four scorecard perspectives on financials, customers, processes, as well as growth/learning also could be used to create organizational alignment and also find synergies, e.g.

- FINANCIAL: acquiring and integrating other firms, monitoring and governance processes, skills in negotiating with external entities (capital providers, etc.)

- CUSTOMERS: leverage common customers (cross-sales), corporate brand, common customer value propositions across the world,

- PROCESSES: exploiting core competencies in product or production technologies, sourcing or distribution skills, etc.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
After their article "The Balanced Scorecard - Measures That Drive Performance" appeared in Harvard Business Review" (January-February, 1992), Kaplan and Norton co-authored four books in which they expand and fine-tune several of their core concepts about the Balanced Scorecard. What we have in this volume is a brilliant analysis of how to use the Balanced Scorecard to create corporate synergies. As they observe in the Preface, they have identified five key principles "for aligning an organization's management and measurement systems to strategy":

1. Mobilize change through executive leadership.
2. Translate strategy into operational terms.
3. Align the organization to the strategy.
4. Motivate to make strategy everyone's job.
5. Govern to make strategy a continual process.

When gathering the information needed to write this book, Kaplan and Norton rigorously examined more than 30 organizations which include Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Citizens Schools, Hilton, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Media General, and the U.S. Army. Note how different these organizations are in terms of their respective products and services, markets, and potentialities for aligning their management processes and systems to the given strategy. I assume that the diversity of the exemplary enterprises during Kaplan and Norton's selection process was deliberate because they are convinced - as am I - that if the core principles of the Balanced Scorecard are applied effectively, any organization (regardless of its size or nature) can create highly beneficial synergies by getting its management and measurement in proper alignment with its strategy. In this book, Kaplan and Norton explain how to do that. Obviously, it is difficult to achieve such alignment and even more difficult to sustain it.
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