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Balanced Scorecard: Step-by-Step for Government and Nonprofit Agencies, 2nd Edition by Paul R. Niven

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Appendix
The Importance of Terminology and a Balanced Scorecard Glossary
Roadmap for the Appendix Each and every term relating to the Balanced Scorecard—from objective to measure to target to initiative—may connote different meanings to different people. For that reason, this chapter begins with a discussion of the power of words, those seemingly harmless things that Jean-Paul Sarte once termed “loaded pistols.” We’ll explore the potential danger of not reaching consensus on your Balanced Scorecard terms, and discuss an exercise designed to help you avoid this pitfall. I’ll then provide a glossary of terms you can use to ensure a shared understanding among your team of Balanced Scorecard terminology.

A WORD OR TWO ABOUT WORDS

In his 1833 book, On War, Karl von Clausewitz declared that “the first task of any theory is to clarify terms and concepts that are confused . . . Only after agreement has been reached regarding terms and concepts can we hope to consider the issues easily and clearly, and expect others to share the same viewpoint . . .” I’m not a big fan of military metaphors in the business world since, unlike the results of war, I believe organizations should strive for an outcome in which everybody wins. However, I am particularly struck by the power of this German general’s words. Reaching “agreement on terms and concepts” is not as easy as it sounds, especially when you consider there are over 14,000 meanings for the 500 most common words in the English language. ...

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