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Watch This Video to See Exactly Why Tony Robbins is a Serious Bad Ass

What is it that shapes us? Why do we do what we do?

  • “The defining factor is never resources, its resourcefulness.”
  • “If we get the right emotion, we can get ourselves to do anything.”
Check this excellent TedTalk video of Tony Robbins.

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Blog

The Balanced Scorecard is Really Useful. Here’s Why

The Balanced Scorecard. What is it? It’s a performance management framework alright – what’s that you ask? 

Probably one of the most useful frameworks around to support in the management of performance and strategy. The framework has been commended by both business people and academics alike.

Now, I’m not going to bore you with too many details but the Balanced Scorecard is essentially a tool that gives a company a template on how to manage both financial and non-financial strategic performance in line with goals and objectives that are set by the company or owner. Objectives, measures, targets and initiatives are set to implement, monitor and respond to, to ensure that the company is working towards it’s overall and longer-term objectives.

Now before we begin, it is probably worth defining, success.

  • Increased profits year on year?
  • A happy customer base?
  • A competent team?
  • Is it being efficient in all aspects of the company?
  • Or all of the above + more?

The Balanced Scorecard response to this question is that, all of the above definitions define success collectively. The Balanced Scorecard takes a “holistic” approach to strategic performance management, ie. managing different ‘dimensions’ of the business collectively, successfully.

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The Balanced Scorecard has four distinct sections to it and they are as follows:

  1. Financial – Focuses on financial objectives and ‘shareholder’ opinions of the organisation.
  2. Internal Business Processes – Focuses on the processes and systems in place to help the business excel.
  3. Learning and Growth – Focuses on the resources and infrastructure the company must establish and maintain to ensure growth, learning and development, resulting in innovation, effective team etc.
  4. Customer – Focuses on the approaches, processes and systems to ensure the customer is always satisfied.

The Balanced Scorecard poses a number of questions to Managers that contextualise the scorecards into a more accessible, friendly format, in order to allow Managers to better respond. The questions ask Managers to consider what metrics are important based on each scorecard. The questions are as follows with some example metrics:

  • Financial: “How should we appear to our Shareholders?”
    Example metrics include, ROI (%), Liquidity, Profitability Margins etc.
  • Internal Business Processes: “What business processes must we excel at?”
    Example metrics include processing times, individual steps needed for a process, wastage, errors etc.
  • Learning and Growth: “How will we sustain our ability to change and improve?”
    Example metrics include, Research and Development spend, innovative solutions, speed to market, corrective action response times and success rates etc.
  • Customers: “How should we appear to our customers?”
    Example metrics include delivery times, quality control, customer experience statistics etc.

In order for Managers to choose metrics that add real value, they must first understand what the company wants to achieve over the long term. With this knowledge, companies can then answer the above questions and choose measures, targets and initiatives to direct day-to-day activities that ultimately meet longer-term objectives.

For details and examples on the subheadings to each scorecard, with examples, please read this fabulous post, here.

The overall results of the implementation of the Balanced Scorecard can be improved processes, greater customer satisfaction, educated and motivated employees, better overall internal systems, increased and sustained profits and overall value added to all dimensions of the business. Why would you not want to use this tool to help determine what to monitor? It helps the company align its day-to-day operations with longer-term objectives and ambitions as all short-term objectives, targets and initiatives are based on long-term objectives.

You might be thinking, but why do I need this now? I’ve been doing just fine without a framework; indeed this is true but the point of the Balanced Scorecard is to provide a template on which to build upon. You may already be using the Balanced Scorecard unknowingly. The Balanced Scorecard simply provides a template, a structure, a guideline on how to structure performance management and strategy.
 
Related read: Balanced Scorecard In Detail.
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Blog

A Book You Should Definitely Read: Innocent: Our Story & Some Things We’ve Learned

So my Boss Dave read this book and really recommended it for a budding entrepreneurs – I ready it anyway – I laugh in the face of perceptions.

I just thought I’d write review on it. Here it is team.

Summary:
So the book itself is about the story of Innocent. It talks about the idea, the journey, the current situation and the future, all of which are extremely interesting as I do actually like to see how companies develop and grow. The book gives tips and tricks the founders have learned throughout their journey of setting up and managing the business.

The company was started by three Cambridge students – Now I hate it when people mention this because by mentioning this, I am inherently suggesting that only OxBridge graduates can go on to build successful companies, but that is bullshit, these guys were coincidently Cambridge graduates – all they did was simply execute an idea effectively, but I digest. Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright were the co-founders and they all had great jobs in the city as Management Consultants if I remember correctly before they setup the business. The guys had an ambition to start a business of some sort and wanted to take the jump. The team came up with the idea of healthy smoothies as they found a gap in the market (which I guess there was between 1998-1999). The book goes on to highlight the name ideas they had, the challenges they faced of not being able to source vegetables, retailers not accepting their product and more, all of which very interesting.

Verdict:
What I really liked about this book were the hints and tips they gave throughout to budding entrepreneurs. They talked about how the company has values, has a bookshelf that employees can loan books from and how the company will buy a book for an employee as long as they then donate it to the company bookshelf – great idea I thought and so much more.

What I really enjoyed about the book was the insight in to the process of how they chose their name, ‘Innocent’, below is a picture showing just how they came to this name – other names that were in the running before Innocent were, ‘Naked’, ‘Exposed’ and ‘Seedy’.

Some of the interesting advice in the book is as follows:

“Our advice: get a small team together of people who share the same values but bring a different and complementary set of skills.”

“If your product’s good, then there’s no greater advert than having someone try it.”

“Businesses that don’t listen end up failing. So all we would say is that in order to gather information from the people who make your business tick (your customers), you need to stay in touch and put out as many feelers and sensors you can. Wiretap your target market. Everything you do should suggest an attitude of availability and a willingness to learn.”

All in all, the book has some great advice for entrepreneurs and has an excellent tone to it – the books is extremely readable and I managed to get through it within a week with evening only reading – that is a major thing for me, as I take bloody ages to read a book.

What I would say is that the book didn’t come with a free sample of a smoothy – that would have been good. The book also didn’t come with the option to change the font on the paper like those Kindle things do nowadays. It was good quality e-ink and didn’t reflect the sun in the sunlight. I bought the book for £11.89. Worth it? yes – I don’t plan on giving this book to anyone as I have made a whole load of notes on it and bookmarked a whole load of pages for future reference.

Hope you enjoyed the review and hope I have enticed you in to buying it. Was I critical enough you may be asking? I was actually, the book is a really good read.

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Blog Words

A Word You Should Know: Innocuous

in·noc·u·ous (-nkys)

adj.

1. Having no adverse effect; harmless.
2. Not likely to offend or provoke to strong emotion; insipid.
“That big scary man running towards me with the knife shouting, “I’m going to fuc*ing kill you” seems fairly innocuous.”