7 Steps to Developing And Using Your Own "Personal Balanced Scorecard" (PBSC)

A while back I developed a tool for personal growth and motivation based around developing a balanced set of criteria for personal growth and performance that I called a Personal Balanced Scorecard (PBSC). I decided I’d put it out here now on the internet under a Creative Commons license (i.e. you can use it and extend it, but please refer back to its source here when you do) in order to get some feedback about how useful people find it, and how you would like it extended.

What I’m sure you’ll want to hear first is what the PBSC is and how to use it.

Why We Need a Personal Balanced Scorecard

Life coaches, executive coaches and HR consultants the world over are making the point that very often our approach to success is not balanced. Often we focus on one area (e.g. career or wealth) and just as we find we begin to achieve success in that area, we find perhaps in doing so we may have neglected other important areas of our life (e.g. health, relationships, spirituality, etc). This has been addressed through the notion of “work-life balance,” which focuses on achieving a balance between two major areas of our lives: work and the rest of our lives.

However, the notion of work-life balance has some problems. In and of itself it does not lead us to think though and identify exactly what is important to us, nor does it provide an indicator for how well we are progressing against all of the things that are important to us in life.

The Personal Balanced Scorecard Metaphor

The PBSC uses a metaphor that is analogous to the corporate Balanced Scorecard (BSC) methodology for organisations developed by Kaplan and Norton.

In the BSC, the argument goes that in order to know how a company is performing now (and how it will perform in the future) it is not enough for a company to simply to report on financial measures. Instead, to manage performance a company must report on a wide range of relevant measures – including measures on customer interaction and satisfaction, learning and growth, and internal processes.

(image sourced online from Trump University)

Other areas for focus can also be introduced, for example environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

These measures and objectives may then be related to each other in a kind of hierarchy typically displayed in a “strategy map” that summarises the objectives, how they are to be achieved, and the relationships between the different objectives:


How to develop your Personal Performance Management System

The Personal Balanced Scorecard is based on many of the same principles. The process starts by building a Personal Balanced Scorecard by assessing what areas of our lives we each define as important. This may be different for each of us. The areas might include career, financials, relationships, spirituality, life purpose, or a range of categories considered important by an individual. We then assess where we are currently at in relation to each of those areas, where we would ideally wish to be, how to measure or assess whether or not we have achieved the ideal, and what our current objectives are.

The second phase is to develop a Personal Strategy Map, by assessing each of the areas and goals identified in the PBSC against a number of dimensions underlying performance such as relationships with other people, capabilities and learning, and processes and practices.

Developing Your Personal Balanced Scorecard

The steps to do build your PBSC are as follows:

1. Define the areas

The PBSC Process starts by defining the areas of your life that are important to you and will form part of your balanced assessment of how you are doing in your life. This in itself is a big step.

The list you build will be (and should be) different for everyone. Ideally you will have around 15-20 areas of your life identified. The areas on the list should include everything by which you’d assess if you were living life well or living a good life. It should include the core things that are central to your life (e.g. where you live, what you do for work, how your finances are) and how you consider your life should be (the level of love in your life, the level of connection with a greater purpose, etc).

This list will be different for everyone, but some starting areas for your consideration might include:

  • career
  • financials
  • romantic relationship
  • family
  • health
  • fitness
  • spirituality
  • creativity
  • life purpose
  • living arrangements
  • friends
  • social life
  • satisfaction
  • personal growth
  • education
  • positive impact on world
  • service
  • life experiences
  • travel
  • humanity

In addition, you can brainstorm. Try out emotionally laden words like ‘freedom,’ ‘passion,’ ‘contentment’ etc, that mean something to you. Do these words suggest or constitute areas of your life that are important for you?

Make your list of areas. Take an A4 page (or ‘letter’ page if you are in the US) in ‘portrait’ orientation and make seven columns, labelled ‘area’, ‘current status’, ‘ideal’, ‘measure’, ‘goal’, and ‘action’ respectively. Write down your areas in the left (‘area’) column, with a few vertical lines between each of them.

Your list is your measure of how you want to assess your life bearing in mind the areas that are important to you. Adjust the list until it feels right.

2. Evaluate your current status for each area

For each of the areas on the list, evaluate where you currently are. Be honest. Take a look at how you feel about the area.

Be proud of your accomplishments – make sure you appreciate the good.

Notice when you feel room for improvements and make a note – describe how you picture or feel things could be even better (this will lead into the next stages).

Put your notes for your current status in each area on the second column (‘current status’) on your A4 piece of paper.

3. Identify / reflect on your ideal ‘vision’ for each area

Review each of the areas from the point of view of where you’d like to be. What would your ideal life look like in each of these areas? Describe the vision. Dare to dream. Make sure to include the impossible.

Describe it in a paragraph or two in the present tense. Write it down in the third column (‘ideal’).

4. Refresh the areas – do we need new areas?

Chances are, you already had a set of major goals – where you wanted to go with your career, relationships, what’s important to you. But in going through the steps above, you probably also found some surprises, some areas you had taken for granted, some areas you might not have thought much about, and some areas for new goals and development. Have a look at your previous goals (if any), together with the new insights and directions that arose from your review. What are the current goals emerging from this process?

All this thinking about where you are and revisiting your existing / previous goals may trigger further thoughts about areas that are important to you. Now is the time to revisit the areas – do you need to add more areas? are some of them less relevant than you thought? Update the list of areas, the current status, your goals for each area, and your 3-5 major areas to focus on until you are happy with it – it feels right.

5. Develop your measures

For each of the areas, review what you wrote to describe your ideal state. How would you know if you had it? What quality or quantity would indicate your life is on track and successful in that area?

Your measure might be quantitative (e.g. financial goals of >$2,000,000 in liquid assets) or qualitative (e.g. a consistent feeling of high level connection and intimacy with your partner).

If you have a quantitative measure, drill down further. In the example above, if you achieved your $2,000,000 in liquid assets, what would that give you? What feeling (e.g. confidence, security, power, freedom etc) would you get? How would you know when you achieved enough to make your life really on track in that area? Couple your quantitative measure with an additional qualitative measure.

Also, make your measures emotionally meaningful. “Lose 15KG” is a specific and measurable target, but fitting into a certain size pair of jeans or dress or other item of clothing that you used to fit into and love may be more emotionally specific and empowering.

Write your measures down in the fourth column (‘measure’).

With all the measures across each of the important areas in your life, you have a complete Personal Balanced Scorecard.

But before stopping and putting up our feet, the process goes a couple of steps further – into goal setting.

6. Identify your specific objectives by each area

Having identified the ideal state and the measures in each area, now identify for each area what specific objectives you’d like to achieve in each area. Write them down in your fifth column (‘goal’).

In setting your goals, start with something specific and measurable. For example, rather than saying ‘I want a new job’ say ‘I want a new position as a Travel Writer for a global media or publishing organisation with a strong career development program and a salary of over $85,000.”

Then expand your goal. How could you make it even better? For example, would a bigger salary, the ability to bring a friend along on your travels, or an editorial or ownership position make it even better?

Then, identify the essence of what you want with the objective. What is it about your goal of a travel writer position that appeals and is important to you? Is it getting your voice out there? Is it the travel? Is it reporting back from the road? Is it getting in to the publishing industry? If you can be specific about the essence of what it is you are seeking and what is really important to you, your chances of achieving something along those lines are greater.

Then, write it down in the fifth column (‘goal’).

7. Pick a Major Focus and a Timeframe

OK, you’ve got 15-20 areas, and set objectives against many or most of them. It’s all good. However, you may not be able to achieve them all at once, right now. You need to focus. What is most important to you to achieve? Where are you hurting the most, or most inspired and passionate about? What are your most important goals now? Are you focusing on everything that’s important, or do other areas also need attention?

Pick out your 3-5 most important goals work on, from different areas. You need to pick a small set (e.g. 3) of major focus goals in quite different areas of your life. Highlight these rows with a highlighter pen. Get more specific about the actions you will take to realise that goal and the timeframe in which you’ll take them. Keep repeating until it is broken down into specific, realisable chunks that you can see (not just believe) that you can achieve.

Write down your action plan for your small set of 2-5 focus areas in the sixth column (‘action’)

Consider the Dimensions underlying Performance

Just as the BSC has 4 perspectives or quadrants underlying achievement of targeted objectives – namely financial, customer, learning and growth, and processes – the PBSC defines six different dimensions underlying our performance.

For example, our performance dimension might include all the outcomes identified in the areas listed, as developed above. It can list everything we want to achieve, and how we are performing against those goals.

Underlying the performance dimension, however, there are a number of other dimensions that help achieve performance outcomes. For example, just as customers are important to achieving corporate objectives, personal stakeholders (the people we interact with and are important to us, including for example our loved ones, bosses, and anyone who is significant to us, anyone dependent on us, our next door neighbours, and generally anyone who we touch or who touches us in our journey through life and our achievement of our goals) are important to the achievement of our personal objectives. What do you your stakeholders need from you, and what do you need to do in relation to your stakeholders, to achieve your goals? These questions form part of the stakeholder dimension.

In interacting with our stakeholders and in managing our performance, there may be processes or habitual activities that underlie our success. For example, we may have regular processes to organise our time and set goals, and regular actions to go to the gym or spend quality time with loved ones. Underlying our success, or progress towards success, there is a dimension of processes and practices.

There is also a dimension of capabilities and learning. In order to perform to meet our goals, we need to have or develop the necessary capabilities, and this may involve learning and growth.

Two other important dimensions are motivation and emotion and mindset and beliefs. In order to pursue a significant performance goal, sustained emotional commitment is necessary. We need to tap our passion and drive to sustain us throughout the journey. Sometimes in addition our mental frameworks, our beliefs and paradigms, constrain or enable us in identifying what we believe is possible. Highlighting the dimension of mental frameworks such as beliefs and paradigms underscores another important dimension underlying performance against our performance goals.

You might identify other useful dimensions to consider, but as a starting point I am listing 6 dimensions for personal performance management: dimensions of

  • Performance
  • Stakeholders
  • Processes and Practices
  • Capabilities and Learning
  • Motivation and Emotion
  • Mindset and Beliefs

The next phase in personal performance management is to consider the goals developed for each of the areas important in your life in terms of these underlying dimensions – by developing a personal strategy map.

Develop your Personal Strategy Map

A Strategy Map for our personal goals shows all our goals in a visual causal map. We can begin to relate this to the learning we will need to do to achieve our goals, the organisational tools we need to focus our efforts and use our time effectively, and what we need to do to maintain our relationships with stakeholders.

To develop your personal strategy map, take each of your 3-5 focus goals identified for your life areas, above (these are your objectives in the performance dimension), and then think about what will need to happen in each of the other dimensions in order to realise the desired outcomes. What will need to happen in terms of your relationships and interactions with stakeholders? What processes or practices will need to support it? What capabilities will you need to develop or use?

On paper, make a table with two columns and six rows (after the header row). In the left column, list the six dimensions. In the right column, add a bubble for each item of what needs to happen to achieve a given goal. Put your key performance outcomes or ‘mission’ at the top above the table. After you have added all your bubbles, draw arrows between them indicating the causal interconnections between the different bubbles – what needs to happen in order to achieve your major focus outcomes.

Simplify the set of bubbles so that you have only the most important things that need to happen in order to achieve your objectives. Then put targets, milestones or measures against them.

You now have your personal strategy map.

Monitor Progress and Performance

Work the plan

OK, you’ve identified the key areas of your life and a real, workable plan plan to get there in a specific period illustrated in a simple personal strategy map. Now do it! Check back on your progress against your specific focused objectives for the given period on a daily or weekly basis.

In pursuing your current focus goals, check back against the list of areas – how are your efforts to pursue your focus goals impacting on other areas of your life? Are they enhancing other areas, or are they detrimental? Do you need to make any changes in how you are pursuing your goals?

Repeat on a regular schedule – but not too often

In addition to monitoring your progress against your major focus goals for the definite specified period, it is important to revisit the whole process on a regular basis. Not too often . . . maybe quarterly, every six months or even annually. Probably not every day. It should be after some period of time. But maybe every day does work. Try it and let me know.

Do it from a fresh perspective and then compare with where you were last time, or just revisit the old worksheet and update it. But do check back in against your list of areas that are important to you.

Key Metrics

In addition to the personal strategy map, it is useful to develop some key metrics or key indicators that are useful for yourself personally to monitor your progress and growth. These will vary from person to person, but as an example you might like to assess how challenging the goals you set are, how many actions you take towards your goals on a daily basis, and how effective your performance management process is.

So is it useful?

Well, I’d really like to hear from you on this one. If 5 or 10 people could try using the PBSC as described above and let me know your experiences, I’d really like to hear back on to what extent you find it useful, what specifically you find most useful about it, and what you’d like changed or extended in the model.

Let me know what you think!

What should the PBSC be called?

While writing this post, I did a bit of a browse around the internet and noticed that Hubert Rampersad has developed a tool with the same name (and written a couple of books on it including the Personal Balanced Scorecard and the Total Performance Scorecard). I think my approach and his approach are different (and I can talk about that more later), but I guess I should call my PBSC something different. Perhaps the ‘Life Scorecard’ or the ‘Think Differently Personal Balanced Scorecard.’ Any suggestions for what it should be called will be appreciated.

The copyright stuff

The PBSC described above is provided under “Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 Australia” licensing. In a nutshell, this means feel free to use it, but credit it back to me (e.g. link back to here or reference the “Mackinnon Personal Balanced Scorecard” or “Think Differently!! Personal Balanced Scorecard”). If you extend it, refer back to the original model published here when publishing / promoting your model. Just like open source licensing.

The formal licensing is as follows:

Creative Commons License

This means you can use it commercially, you can also extend it and enhance it, but in any and every use of it (in whole or part) and in any reuse and extension of it must

  1. cite that your work is based on the original (but not in any way suggest that I endorse you or your use of the work),
  2. reference the original version (e.g. link to this page or an equivalent publication from me), and
  3. the extended work distributed must be provided under the same Creative Commons licensing.
2 Responses to 7 Steps to Developing And Using Your Own "Personal Balanced Scorecard" (PBSC)
  1. Tina Su
    November 2, 2007 | 8:19 PM

    What a great idea. I really enjoy the content of your blog. Keep up the awesome work.

    Love & Gratitude,
    Tina
    Think Simple. Be Decisive.
    ~ Productivity, Motivation & Happiness

  2. Katie
    November 18, 2007 | 8:10 PM

    Great blog! I can't think of what else to call it but PBSC!

    I'm not so creative, I guess.

    Maybe this could be incorporated into a personal goal management software? I have no idea how to go about doing this, but I think it would be hot.

    Anyway…

    Here is one of my favorite articles on Balanced Score Card:

    http://www.coursework4you.co.uk/balanced_scorecard.htm

    Best!

7 Steps to Developing And Using Your Own "Personal Balanced Scorecard" (PBSC)

A while back I developed a tool for personal growth and motivation based around developing a balanced set of criteria for personal growth and performance that I called a Personal Balanced Scorecard (PBSC). I decided I’d put it out here now on the internet under a Creative Commons license (i.e. you can use it and extend it, but please refer back to its source here when you do) in order to get some feedback about how useful people find it, and how you would like it extended.

What I’m sure you’ll want to hear first is what the PBSC is and how to use it.

Why We Need a Personal Balanced Scorecard

Life coaches, executive coaches and HR consultants the world over are making the point that very often our approach to success is not balanced. Often we focus on one area (e.g. career or wealth) and just as we find we begin to achieve success in that area, we find perhaps in doing so we may have neglected other important areas of our life (e.g. health, relationships, spirituality, etc). This has been addressed through the notion of “work-life balance,” which focuses on achieving a balance between two major areas of our lives: work and the rest of our lives.

However, the notion of work-life balance has some problems. In and of itself it does not lead us to think though and identify exactly what is important to us, nor does it provide an indicator for how well we are progressing against all of the things that are important to us in life.

The Personal Balanced Scorecard Metaphor

The PBSC uses a metaphor that is analogous to the corporate Balanced Scorecard (BSC) methodology for organisations developed by Kaplan and Norton.

In the BSC, the argument goes that in order to know how a company is performing now (and how it will perform in the future) it is not enough for a company to simply to report on financial measures. Instead, to manage performance a company must report on a wide range of relevant measures – including measures on customer interaction and satisfaction, learning and growth, and internal processes.

(image sourced online from Trump University)

Other areas for focus can also be introduced, for example environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

These measures and objectives may then be related to each other in a kind of hierarchy typically displayed in a “strategy map” that summarises the objectives, how they are to be achieved, and the relationships between the different objectives:


How to develop your Personal Performance Management System

The Personal Balanced Scorecard is based on many of the same principles. The process starts by building a Personal Balanced Scorecard by assessing what areas of our lives we each define as important. This may be different for each of us. The areas might include career, financials, relationships, spirituality, life purpose, or a range of categories considered important by an individual. We then assess where we are currently at in relation to each of those areas, where we would ideally wish to be, how to measure or assess whether or not we have achieved the ideal, and what our current objectives are.

The second phase is to develop a Personal Strategy Map, by assessing each of the areas and goals identified in the PBSC against a number of dimensions underlying performance such as relationships with other people, capabilities and learning, and processes and practices.

Developing Your Personal Balanced Scorecard

The steps to do build your PBSC are as follows:

1. Define the areas

The PBSC Process starts by defining the areas of your life that are important to you and will form part of your balanced assessment of how you are doing in your life. This in itself is a big step.

The list you build will be (and should be) different for everyone. Ideally you will have around 15-20 areas of your life identified. The areas on the list should include everything by which you’d assess if you were living life well or living a good life. It should include the core things that are central to your life (e.g. where you live, what you do for work, how your finances are) and how you consider your life should be (the level of love in your life, the level of connection with a greater purpose, etc).

This list will be different for everyone, but some starting areas for your consideration might include:

  • career
  • financials
  • romantic relationship
  • family
  • health
  • fitness
  • spirituality
  • creativity
  • life purpose
  • living arrangements
  • friends
  • social life
  • satisfaction
  • personal growth
  • education
  • positive impact on world
  • service
  • life experiences
  • travel
  • humanity

In addition, you can brainstorm. Try out emotionally laden words like ‘freedom,’ ‘passion,’ ‘contentment’ etc, that mean something to you. Do these words suggest or constitute areas of your life that are important for you?

Make your list of areas. Take an A4 page (or ‘letter’ page if you are in the US) in ‘portrait’ orientation and make seven columns, labelled ‘area’, ‘current status’, ‘ideal’, ‘measure’, ‘goal’, and ‘action’ respectively. Write down your areas in the left (‘area’) column, with a few vertical lines between each of them.

Your list is your measure of how you want to assess your life bearing in mind the areas that are important to you. Adjust the list until it feels right.

2. Evaluate your current status for each area

For each of the areas on the list, evaluate where you currently are. Be honest. Take a look at how you feel about the area.

Be proud of your accomplishments – make sure you appreciate the good.

Notice when you feel room for improvements and make a note – describe how you picture or feel things could be even better (this will lead into the next stages).

Put your notes for your current status in each area on the second column (‘current status’) on your A4 piece of paper.

3. Identify / reflect on your ideal ‘vision’ for each area

Review each of the areas from the point of view of where you’d like to be. What would your ideal life look like in each of these areas? Describe the vision. Dare to dream. Make sure to include the impossible.

Describe it in a paragraph or two in the present tense. Write it down in the third column (‘ideal’).

4. Refresh the areas – do we need new areas?

Chances are, you already had a set of major goals – where you wanted to go with your career, relationships, what’s important to you. But in going through the steps above, you probably also found some surprises, some areas you had taken for granted, some areas you might not have thought much about, and some areas for new goals and development. Have a look at your previous goals (if any), together with the new insights and directions that arose from your review. What are the current goals emerging from this process?

All this thinking about where you are and revisiting your existing / previous goals may trigger further thoughts about areas that are important to you. Now is the time to revisit the areas – do you need to add more areas? are some of them less relevant than you thought? Update the list of areas, the current status, your goals for each area, and your 3-5 major areas to focus on until you are happy with it – it feels right.

5. Develop your measures

For each of the areas, review what you wrote to describe your ideal state. How would you know if you had it? What quality or quantity would indicate your life is on track and successful in that area?

Your measure might be quantitative (e.g. financial goals of >$2,000,000 in liquid assets) or qualitative (e.g. a consistent feeling of high level connection and intimacy with your partner).

If you have a quantitative measure, drill down further. In the example above, if you achieved your $2,000,000 in liquid assets, what would that give you? What feeling (e.g. confidence, security, power, freedom etc) would you get? How would you know when you achieved enough to make your life really on track in that area? Couple your quantitative measure with an additional qualitative measure.

Also, make your measures emotionally meaningful. “Lose 15KG” is a specific and measurable target, but fitting into a certain size pair of jeans or dress or other item of clothing that you used to fit into and love may be more emotionally specific and empowering.

Write your measures down in the fourth column (‘measure’).

With all the measures across each of the important areas in your life, you have a complete Personal Balanced Scorecard.

But before stopping and putting up our feet, the process goes a couple of steps further – into goal setting.

6. Identify your specific objectives by each area

Having identified the ideal state and the measures in each area, now identify for each area what specific objectives you’d like to achieve in each area. Write them down in your fifth column (‘goal’).

In setting your goals, start with something specific and measurable. For example, rather than saying ‘I want a new job’ say ‘I want a new position as a Travel Writer for a global media or publishing organisation with a strong career development program and a salary of over $85,000.”

Then expand your goal. How could you make it even better? For example, would a bigger salary, the ability to bring a friend along on your travels, or an editorial or ownership position make it even better?

Then, identify the essence of what you want with the objective. What is it about your goal of a travel writer position that appeals and is important to you? Is it getting your voice out there? Is it the travel? Is it reporting back from the road? Is it getting in to the publishing industry? If you can be specific about the essence of what it is you are seeking and what is really important to you, your chances of achieving something along those lines are greater.

Then, write it down in the fifth column (‘goal’).

7. Pick a Major Focus and a Timeframe

OK, you’ve got 15-20 areas, and set objectives against many or most of them. It’s all good. However, you may not be able to achieve them all at once, right now. You need to focus. What is most important to you to achieve? Where are you hurting the most, or most inspired and passionate about? What are your most important goals now? Are you focusing on everything that’s important, or do other areas also need attention?

Pick out your 3-5 most important goals work on, from different areas. You need to pick a small set (e.g. 3) of major focus goals in quite different areas of your life. Highlight these rows with a highlighter pen. Get more specific about the actions you will take to realise that goal and the timeframe in which you’ll take them. Keep repeating until it is broken down into specific, realisable chunks that you can see (not just believe) that you can achieve.

Write down your action plan for your small set of 2-5 focus areas in the sixth column (‘action’)

Consider the Dimensions underlying Performance

Just as the BSC has 4 perspectives or quadrants underlying achievement of targeted objectives – namely financial, customer, learning and growth, and processes – the PBSC defines six different dimensions underlying our performance.

For example, our performance dimension might include all the outcomes identified in the areas listed, as developed above. It can list everything we want to achieve, and how we are performing against those goals.

Underlying the performance dimension, however, there are a number of other dimensions that help achieve performance outcomes. For example, just as customers are important to achieving corporate objectives, personal stakeholders (the people we interact with and are important to us, including for example our loved ones, bosses, and anyone who is significant to us, anyone dependent on us, our next door neighbours, and generally anyone who we touch or who touches us in our journey through life and our achievement of our goals) are important to the achievement of our personal objectives. What do you your stakeholders need from you, and what do you need to do in relation to your stakeholders, to achieve your goals? These questions form part of the stakeholder dimension.

In interacting with our stakeholders and in managing our performance, there may be processes or habitual activities that underlie our success. For example, we may have regular processes to organise our time and set goals, and regular actions to go to the gym or spend quality time with loved ones. Underlying our success, or progress towards success, there is a dimension of processes and practices.

There is also a dimension of capabilities and learning. In order to perform to meet our goals, we need to have or develop the necessary capabilities, and this may involve learning and growth.

Two other important dimensions are motivation and emotion and mindset and beliefs. In order to pursue a significant performance goal, sustained emotional commitment is necessary. We need to tap our passion and drive to sustain us throughout the journey. Sometimes in addition our mental frameworks, our beliefs and paradigms, constrain or enable us in identifying what we believe is possible. Highlighting the dimension of mental frameworks such as beliefs and paradigms underscores another important dimension underlying performance against our performance goals.

You might identify other useful dimensions to consider, but as a starting point I am listing 6 dimensions for personal performance management: dimensions of

  • Performance
  • Stakeholders
  • Processes and Practices
  • Capabilities and Learning
  • Motivation and Emotion
  • Mindset and Beliefs

The next phase in personal performance management is to consider the goals developed for each of the areas important in your life in terms of these underlying dimensions – by developing a personal strategy map.

Develop your Personal Strategy Map

A Strategy Map for our personal goals shows all our goals in a visual causal map. We can begin to relate this to the learning we will need to do to achieve our goals, the organisational tools we need to focus our efforts and use our time effectively, and what we need to do to maintain our relationships with stakeholders.

To develop your personal strategy map, take each of your 3-5 focus goals identified for your life areas, above (these are your objectives in the performance dimension), and then think about what will need to happen in each of the other dimensions in order to realise the desired outcomes. What will need to happen in terms of your relationships and interactions with stakeholders? What processes or practices will need to support it? What capabilities will you need to develop or use?

On paper, make a table with two columns and six rows (after the header row). In the left column, list the six dimensions. In the right column, add a bubble for each item of what needs to happen to achieve a given goal. Put your key performance outcomes or ‘mission’ at the top above the table. After you have added all your bubbles, draw arrows between them indicating the causal interconnections between the different bubbles – what needs to happen in order to achieve your major focus outcomes.

Simplify the set of bubbles so that you have only the most important things that need to happen in order to achieve your objectives. Then put targets, milestones or measures against them.

You now have your personal strategy map.

Monitor Progress and Performance

Work the plan

OK, you’ve identified the key areas of your life and a real, workable plan plan to get there in a specific period illustrated in a simple personal strategy map. Now do it! Check back on your progress against your specific focused objectives for the given period on a daily or weekly basis.

In pursuing your current focus goals, check back against the list of areas – how are your efforts to pursue your focus goals impacting on other areas of your life? Are they enhancing other areas, or are they detrimental? Do you need to make any changes in how you are pursuing your goals?

Repeat on a regular schedule – but not too often

In addition to monitoring your progress against your major focus goals for the definite specified period, it is important to revisit the whole process on a regular basis. Not too often . . . maybe quarterly, every six months or even annually. Probably not every day. It should be after some period of time. But maybe every day does work. Try it and let me know.

Do it from a fresh perspective and then compare with where you were last time, or just revisit the old worksheet and update it. But do check back in against your list of areas that are important to you.

Key Metrics

In addition to the personal strategy map, it is useful to develop some key metrics or key indicators that are useful for yourself personally to monitor your progress and growth. These will vary from person to person, but as an example you might like to assess how challenging the goals you set are, how many actions you take towards your goals on a daily basis, and how effective your performance management process is.

So is it useful?

Well, I’d really like to hear from you on this one. If 5 or 10 people could try using the PBSC as described above and let me know your experiences, I’d really like to hear back on to what extent you find it useful, what specifically you find most useful about it, and what you’d like changed or extended in the model.

Let me know what you think!

What should the PBSC be called?

While writing this post, I did a bit of a browse around the internet and noticed that Hubert Rampersad has developed a tool with the same name (and written a couple of books on it including the Personal Balanced Scorecard and the Total Performance Scorecard). I think my approach and his approach are different (and I can talk about that more later), but I guess I should call my PBSC something different. Perhaps the ‘Life Scorecard’ or the ‘Think Differently Personal Balanced Scorecard.’ Any suggestions for what it should be called will be appreciated.

The copyright stuff

The PBSC described above is provided under “Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 Australia” licensing. In a nutshell, this means feel free to use it, but credit it back to me (e.g. link back to here or reference the “Mackinnon Personal Balanced Scorecard” or “Think Differently!! Personal Balanced Scorecard”). If you extend it, refer back to the original model published here when publishing / promoting your model. Just like open source licensing.

The formal licensing is as follows:

Creative Commons License

This means you can use it commercially, you can also extend it and enhance it, but in any and every use of it (in whole or part) and in any reuse and extension of it must

  1. cite that your work is based on the original (but not in any way suggest that I endorse you or your use of the work),
  2. reference the original version (e.g. link to this page or an equivalent publication from me), and
  3. the extended work distributed must be provided under the same Creative Commons licensing.
2 Responses to 7 Steps to Developing And Using Your Own "Personal Balanced Scorecard" (PBSC)
  1. Tina Su
    November 2, 2007 | 8:19 PM

    What a great idea. I really enjoy the content of your blog. Keep up the awesome work.

    Love & Gratitude,
    Tina
    Think Simple. Be Decisive.
    ~ Productivity, Motivation & Happiness

  2. Katie
    November 18, 2007 | 8:10 PM

    Great blog! I can't think of what else to call it but PBSC!

    I'm not so creative, I guess.

    Maybe this could be incorporated into a personal goal management software? I have no idea how to go about doing this, but I think it would be hot.

    Anyway…

    Here is one of my favorite articles on Balanced Score Card:

    http://www.coursework4you.co.uk/balanced_scorecard.htm

    Best!