By Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton
Harvard Business School Press, 2008
Interestingly, I just became involved with the “Balanced Scorecard” concept put forth by Kaplan and Norton in their book of the same name, specifically while I was consulting for two nonprofits as a strategic planner. A lot of these ideas were new to me, and at times I struggled with trying to see where all the pieces fit. Then I received this book to review.
I really enjoyed reading Execution Premium and watching the pieces fall into place. The authors have done an excellent job of looking at organizations and how they have implemented the ideas stemming from The Balanced Scorecard. The “execution premium” is the value and the benefits that come with adhering to those concepts. For example, one of the big challenges faced by corporations is how to take a strategic plan and come up with an operational plan that matches the strategies set forth in the strategic plan. Through each chapter, Execution Premium shows how to overcome this challenge in ways that make a lot of sense.
The early chapters cover how to set the strategy and then launch it. They also cover how to align operations with strategy so companies do not waste time and resources on projects and initiatives that do not match up with the strategic plan. Next, the authors focus on planning operations and conducting review meetings of operations and strategy.
The last chapter is devoted to periodically looking at the strategies and adjusting them if necessary. It also makes a pitch for the implementation of an Office of Strategy Management within a corporation, which brings me to the only real criticism I have for this kind of book. While the lessons to be learned are invaluable, the reader is left to figure out how to apply these lessons to small and medium-sized business.