Use Balanced Scorecard at Most Organizational Levels – Interview with James Creelman

James Creelman, independent Balanced Scorecard consultant and author.

James Creelman, independent Balanced Scorecard consultant and author.

10 questions to Balanced Scorecard Expert James Creelman, independent Balanced Scorecard consultant and author

1.    Please, summarize in a few words what your expertise and background is with Balanced Scorecard.

I have been involved with the Balanced Scorecard since 1993. I am an author of many Balanced Scorecard books and advise clients throughout the world – several of which have achieved Hall of Fame status. Dr David Norton has called me “the foremost chronicler and historian of the Balanced Scorecard movement.”

2.    It is known that Balanced Scorecard is used by more than 50% of Fortune companies. Do you think this concept is for big companies only?

Absolutely not. The Balanced Scorecard is used successfully from companies of any size and in any industries or sectors. If you have a strategy you can successfully deploy the Balanced Scorecard.

3.    While BSC concept is popular now, what other business performance measurement concepts can you recommend for companies to consider?

There are several emerging versions of the Balanced Scorecard that are worth looking at: most notably in my opinion the Value Creation Map pioneered by the Advanced Performance Institute in the UK. The scorecard also works well alongside frameworks such as Malcolm Baldrige or EFQM.

4.    Please, share your opinion about key ideas that should be kept in mind for successful implementation of BSC?

The most important component of a Balanced Scorecard is the Strategy Map, followed by the strategic initiatives. They are then followed by KPIs/targets. Keep the Strategy Map simple; understand the difference between objectives and initiatives and recognize that cultural barriers will likely pose the greatest barrier to scorecard success.

5.    The BSC is a business performance measurement concept, but should only top managers and CEO use it? Or should it be used company-wide? Should BSC be implemented in all departments or for instance, only in HR?

Firstly, the Balanced Scorecard is not a business performance measurement concept. It is a strategic performance management framework of which measurement is but one component. A scorecard can be used at most organizational levels from the corporate level down to departmental level. The important question is “what value had the scorecard at this level – how will it improve performance.” There are many examples of good function-level (HR, finance, etc) scorecards.

6.    While there are certain benefits of BSC, do you see there any limitations or possible problems? Some areas where BSC does not work properly or is inefficient.

Don’t expect too much of the scorecard – it will not answer all of your problems. And remember it is a strategy management framework not a system for managing operations – you need an operational dashboard for the latter, which is different from a Balanced Scorecard.

7.    The BSC concept is discussed widely. What do you think, if most companies understand the importance of BSC development? Are they willing to invest in BSC? Is it hard to get decisions makers to conclusion that it is necessary to use BSC?

Decision-makers will use the Balanced Scorecard if they can see the value. If not, why should they? What we need to do better is get the message across about the value. Remember, CEOs etc get bombarded with lots of ideas. The scorecard has to stand out from the crowd to be of interest. We have enough case studies, etc… now to make the argument.

8.    The practical implementation is always as important as the theory itself. There are a lot of ways to implement BSC from simple Excel files to software, web-based services and full integration with company business system. What do you think is the best implementation strategy in terms of quality/price? What type of tools would you use to do implementation?

Start with office tools, etc. After a year or so, migrate to a scorecard automation tool.
Automation enables a company to get the best out of the scorecard – progress tracking and reporting, best practice sharing, etc.

9.    There are companies that already use BSC, we read about them in business magazines, we read their case-studies and success stories.  What advice would you give companies that just started considering the implementation of a Balanced Scorecard concept?

Keep it simple. Understand the importance of strategy maps and that the maps should comprise objectives and not initiatives. Also people will only buy-in to the idea if they can see how it will make their job easier – if it’s just one more thing to do then they will resist: and rightly do. Also remember that the scorecard is not a measurement system – this is the biggest mistake that companies make and it stops them from securing the real benefits of the approach – which is around step-change, and breakthrough performance improvement.

10.    Thank you very much for your answers. I think our readers would like to know more about your company and service you provide. If possible share also your detailed experience with Balanced Scorecard here.

I have written 20 management books/reports, eight of which are on the Balanced Scorecard. I have three new scorecard books due for publication this year. I run workshops and conduct consulting assignments for companies throughout the word: two companies that I have advised have received Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame awards from Dr Kaplan and Norton.

I can be reached at james.creelman<at>

Find more interviews with BSC experts in our “Interviews” section

Related Articles

Posted in Interviews
Tags: , , ,

What is BSC Designer?

BSC Designer is a balanced scorecard software available as a cloud-based service and Windows desktop application.

Getting Started with BSC Designer

Try BSC Designer for free

Download BSC Designer

Who uses BSC Designer

According to our users, BSC Designer is easy to install, configure and it helps a lot with Balanced Scorecard, strategy maps, and KPIs.

BSC Designer Customers

Training for the software

To make it easier for the users to get started, we have a lot of free training materials for the software.

Video manuals for BSC Designer

Customer support

Should you have any questions, we are at your disposal.

Pricing and buying

How much does BSC Designer cost? It depends on the configuration that you prefer. Use this price calculator to find out the total cost, get an official quote, and buy the software.

What Balanced Scorecard is all about?

Fast Track explains complex ideas in a simple way Check out Strategy Scorecard Fast Track to find easy explanation of the most important complex ideas.
  • What is a Balanced/Strategy Scorecard?
  • How to build a good strategy map?
  • How to find winning KPIs?
  • How to cascade strategy?
  • How to implement scorecard
Learn all the nuances quickly and ask follow-up questions to BSC expert. Learn more...

What are your current challenges?

We help our users to get started with Balanced Scorecard, strategy maps, and KPIs. Here is a list of frequently asked questions and respective answers to them.

Q: What is the Balanced Scorecard?

Big picture about Balanced Scorecard A: Check out: Get the big picture about Balanced Scorecard article.

Q: I'm looking for a KPIs... how do I find good ones for our business?

How to find a KPI for... A: Check out our recommendations.

Q: Do you have some examples of the Balanced Scorecard?

Examples of Balanced ScorecardA: Sure, we have some here.

Q: Balanced Scorecard is about strategy execution, right? But what is a strategy?

Define strategy, create strategy mapA: Check these articles about strategy definition and creating strategy map.

Q: How do we cascade our top level scorecard throughout the company?

How to cascade a strategy mapA: Do it by business goals, some examples will also be useful.

More questions and answers...

BSC Lessons

Download BSC Designer and we will follow up with you with lessons about the Balanced Scorecard:

BSC Designer experts

Aleksey Savkin Performance Management and Balanced Scorecard

Kazim Ladimeji HR KPIs and Performance Expert

Levi Newman Effective KPIs and social metrics

Oana Boteanu Performance Management

Oleg Tumarkin Business Measurements

Upcoming events and talks

We organize, sponsor, and participate in various events related to the strategy execution.

  • “Building Balanced Scorecard Step by Step.” 15th August, 2017, online training. Read more…
  • VIP Training sessions: Practical Business Scorecard and KPIs for CEOs and Strategists” 16th November, 2017, Lisbon, Portugal. Read more…

Drop us a note if you want to meet up at these events.

Online training: Build BSC step by step

The best way to get started with the Balanced Scorecard is to join our online training.

Balanced Scorecard Training Online Strategy map, KPIs, cascading - it might be hard to put it all together. In the online training "Building BSC Step by Step" we explain all the nuances in simple words and help companies to build a prototype of their balanced scorecards.

Find us on Google Plus

Thank you for sharing!

Whether you are looking for a professional Balanced Scorecard software, or just researching information about Balanced Scorecard and business strategies, we recommend you to download and try our BSC Designer software (no credit card is required).

We will follow up with you with lessons about the Balanced Scorecard and will keep you informed about the trending articles on

Follow us in Social Media

Send this to a friend

More in Interviews
Many Balanced Scorecard Implementations Fail to Deliver the Value – Interview with Gavin Lawrie

10 questions to Balanced Scorecard Expert Gavin Lawrie, Managing Director at 2GC Active Management. 1.    Please, summarize in few words...

The Balanced Scorecard Should be Cascaded to All Departments/Business Units and Teams – Interview with Sandy Richardson

10 questions to Balanced Scorecard Expert Sandy Richardson, BSc, MEd;  President and Managing Consultant at Strategy Focused Business Solutions Inc.;...