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SA Air Force To Implement The Balanced Score Card

By Lt Col Pieter Coetzee, Acting DM&RS, Photos by Amn Lebogang Ramaboea.

WHAT IS A BALANCED SCORECARD?

A balanced scorecard (BSC) is a central list of numbers, which show each key part of an organisation's success, such as financials, people, operations, suppliers, customers, and support systems. The numbers should measure not just important outcomes, but also the factors that influence, or drive, those outcomes.


CAF Presenting the Balance Scorecard to members at AFB Hoedspruit on 22 Jan 2009

The basic philosophy of the BSC is that people will focus on what you measure - more because it shows you care about it than because of financial incentives. Most organisations, when you look at their actual behaviours rather than their words, focus on a few financial measures, but that doesn't help them to improve their results, because if you tell your employees to increase stakeholder satisfaction - what should they do? But if you know what determines stakeholder satisfaction - high customer satisfaction, high quality or cost effective service delivery, etc. - then you have some ground to stand on, especially if you can work back to the key issues managers and employees should focus on.


Members attending the CAF Presentation at AFB Hoedspruit

Thus, the BSC does its magic by focusing the organisation on the issues which the leadership team decides are key to its success. It does this more through the process of implementing the scorecard than through the actual paper or numbers - so a human solution is the key. Simply buying expensive software won't provide the full benefit.

There are other benefits - stronger communication (through the cascading and measurement tracking processes), warning of strengths and opportunities ahead (from watching key indicators), less "information overload" (from focusing only on the most important measures), and greater alignment (from agreement on key objectives), to name a few.


CAF Presenting The Balance Scorecard to Air Command members

A sheet of paper with numbers on it can be created by one person and implemented by sheer force of authority. However, the point of a balanced scorecard is to:

align all members of an organization around common goals and strategies;

link initiatives to the strategy, making prioritisation easier;

provide feedback to people on key issues - notably, areas where they can have an impact; and

be an essential decision-making tool for everyone in the organization.

WHY THE BSC IN THE SAAF

The implementation of the BSC in the DOD was approved by the PDSC on 26 February 2007. The strategy maps and performance measures for the top three DOD scorecards are being finalised and the next step in the implementation process is compiling of the Strategy Maps for the various Services.

WHAT HAPPENED SO FAR

During the November Air Force Command Council (AFCC) work-session at Ditholo, the members of the AFCC, lead by CAF, personally took responsibility of driving and implementing the BSC. They revised the Vision, Mission and Slogan of the SAAF during the session and managed after long tedious hours to determine the strategic objectives for the SAAF and compiled the Strategy Map of the BSC. That is however not where their commitment towards implementing the BSC stopped. Since the work-session they spend the first two hours of every AFCC meeting on the BSC and will continue doing so until the BSC can function as their management framework in executing the SAAF strategy.

THE WAY FORWARD

During January and February 2009 CAF will visit all SAAF Bases and Units to share this with them and explain how the BSC and Excellence Model work together as well as the transition from the SAEM to the EFQM Excellence Model. It is important for the bases and units to realise that the BSC will not replace the Excellence Model, but merely work together. Therefore only the Air Force Office and Air Command will implement the BSC while the Bases and Units will still use the Excellence Model.

The measures for the strategic objectives have already been determined and the various appointed members and experts will determine relevant targets and initiatives to execute the strategy. Bases and Units will use these initiatives as input to the Excellence Model to align their daily operations with the SAAF strategy.
 

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