How to Create High Performing Teams

08 March 2016

In this article we will discuss the learning and growing perspective which is the foundation perspective of the Balanced Scorecard, developed by Robert Kaplan and David Norton, Harvard Business School, in the 1990s.

Are staff really the most important asset?

Everyone agrees staff are the most important assets in our businesses – right? But how many of us know why they are? Have we thought about what this really means?   Staff are the most important asset because they deliver value (profit) through their knowledge and sharing of this. The more staff are engaged, the more value they will generate for the organisation.

The Scorecard is an effective way to acknowledge staff’s contribution and importantly, it ensures management focuses on developing strategies and measurements to continually engage staff to grow their skills, competencies and level of engagement. Within the Scorecard this is known as the Employee Learning and Growing perspective – how do we get the best out of our staff?

Within the framework the Learning and Growing perspective is placed at the bottom which can see it perceived as being the least important perspective. On the contrary, the Learning and Growing perspective is the foundation and is actually the most important. Bob Kaplan described Employee Learning and Growth as the roots of a powerful tree, which are the sources of support and nourishment leading to the blossoms on financial returns.


In my language, it means staff who feel valued and engaged (learning and growing); who have the right systems (internal business processes); will give fantastic service (customer) which will lead to year-on-year financial improvement (financial). This is a simple, yet seemingly difficult, concept for us to grasp because when we are working in our business we do not have the time to work “on” it – we sometimes can’t see the woods for the trees. This is why a framework such as the Balanced Scorecard allows us to take the complexities of our business and apply them against a framework to achieve success, providing a balanced approach to improving financial returns/outcomes.

How can we apply this?

Let’s outline a method to populate the Learning and Growing Perspective, which is the “how to” execute, measure and deliver the strategic plan. I prefer the term “Building Employee Vibrancy” as this sits better with AVID’s values and culture. The process is:

  1. What does success look like when our staff are happy?

Develop a statement about what success looks like, so when you get there, you and your staff know will recognize it.

  1. Strategies

            Develop strategies leading to building employee vibrancy.

  1. Develop measures will we need for “Building Employee Vibrancy”
  • Quality of work environment
  • Number of cross-trained employees
  • Absenteeism
  • Turnover rate etc.
  1. One initiative that will lead to improved engagement.

In the next article we’ll look at internal business process, focusing on what systems we need to be good at.