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Why call your balanced scorecard perspective “learning and growth”?

Because people who change it make three fundamental mistakes in their balanced scorecard design and use by re-naming the “learning and growth” perspective to something like “people” or “employees”.

I often come across “scorecards” that have re-named the learning and growth perspective people or employees.  They think it is more representative.  However these things have a reason.There are three good reasons for not changing the name.

Changing from “Learning and growth” changes the dynamic

First, names such as “employees” or “people” are fundamentally static.  They suggest that the purpose of the perspective is to measure employees and people.  The name, “learning and growth” was deliberately chosen and designed to suggest movement.  What do we have to learn?  What do we need to grow?

It is about change, rather than being static. This explains why many organisations rename their learning and growth perspective employees and then place lot of static information and annual measures about their staff in the perspective. They are not thinking of the strategy and the change. They are providing a grip on where the organisation is now.  In effect they are operating in either the compliance or operational perspectives.

They are not asking, what needs to change, be learnt anew or grown as a capability, to deliver the strategy for the future.

Changing from “Learning and growth” narrows the scope

Secondly, changing the name not only destroys the dynamic nature of the perspective, it changes its scope.

If the name is changed from learning and growth to “People or employees”, what role is there for technology, data, or physical capability?  What potential is there to discuss, learn about and develop alliances, suppliers and partners if only employees are considered?

If the perspective is employees, where is the contribution of management?  All of these can add to the organisations capability, and help to deliver its strategy.  Basing the perspective only on people or employees narrows these aspects.

Learning and growth opens up the scope.

Changing from “Learning and growth” changes the cause and effect model

Finally, changing the name also changes its relationship to the other perspectives.  The name, learning and growth, begs the question, “What do we need to learn and grow?”

In contrast, the title ‘people’ or ’employee’ at best begs the questions what people or employees do we have or need?

Learning and growth opens up the question to a wider set of answers.  It also invites different questions in the cause and effect relationship across balanced scorecard’s perspectives.

So, unless you want a static, unrelated perspective full of merely employee or people measures, keep the name of your balanced scoreacrd perspective as learning and growth.

Learning and growth enables you to ask the right questions that makes your balanced scorecard more dynamic, wider in scope and relate to the higher perspectives.

Phil Jones
Strategy & Performance Specialist
Excitant Ltd