Robert S. Kaplan

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Robert Samuel Kaplan (Born 2th may 1940) is an American accounting academic, and Emeritus Professor of Leadership Development at the Harvard Business School, known as co-creator, together with David P. Norton, of the balanced scorecard.

Quotes[edit]

The Balanced Scorecard, 1996[edit]

Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton. The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action. 1996

  • Today, organizations are competing in complex environments so that an accurate understanding of their goals and the methods for attaining those goals is vital. The Balanced Scorecard translates an organization’s mission and strategy into a comprehensive set of performance measures that provides the framework for a strategic measurement and management system.
    • p. 2
  • Companies are in the midst of a revolutionary transformation. Industrial age competition is shifting to information age competition. During the industrial age, from 1850 to about 1975, companies succeeded by how well they could capture the benefits from economies of scale and scope. Technology mattered, but, ultimately, success accrued to companies that could embed the new technology into physical assets that offered efficient, mass production of standard products.
During the industrial age, financial control systems were developed in companies, such as General Motors, DuPont, Matsushita, and General Electric, to facilitate and monitor efficient allocations of financial and physical capital. A summary financial measure such as return-on-capital employed (ROCE) could both direct a company’s internal capital to its most productive use and monitor the efficiency by which operating divisions used financial and physical capital to create value for shareholders.
The emergence of the information era, however, in the last decades of the twentieth century, made obsolete many of the fundamental assumptions of industrial age competition. No longer could companies gain sustainable competitive advantage by merely deploying new technology into physical assets rapidly, and by excellent management of financial assets and liabilities.
  • p. 2-3
  • Industrial age companies created sharp distinctions between two groups of employees. The intellectual elite—managers and engineers—used their analytical skills to design products and processes, select and manage customers, and supervise day-to-day operations. The second group was composed of the people who actually produced the products and delivered the services. This direct labor work force was a principal factor of production for industrial age companies, but used only their physical capabilities, not their minds. They performed tasks and processes under direct supervision of white-collar engineers and managers. At the end of the twentieth century, automation and productivity have reduced the percentage of people in the organization who perform traditional work functions, while competitive demands have increased the number of people performing analytic functions: engineering, marketing, management, and administration. Even individuals still involved in direct production and service delivery are valued for their suggestions on how to improve quality, reduce costs, and decrease cycle times...
Now all employees must contribute value by what they know and by the information they can provide. Investing in, managing, and exploiting the knowledge of every employee have become critical to the success of information age companies
  • p. 5-6

What You're Really Meant To Do, 2013[edit]

Robert S. Kaplan, What You're Really Meant To Do: A Road Map for Reaching Your Unique Potential, 2013

  • What does it mean to be “successful”? How do you achieve your dreams?
Does it mean creating an impressive list of achievements? Does it mean gaining significant wealth, status, position, and power? Maybe it means pleasing your parents, family, and friends?
I wrote this book to address these questions and to create a road map to help you achieve your aspirations. Following this road map involves taking a series of steps and answering a set of questions, all of which require you to look inward as well as outward. It also involves developing a set of new skills and habits, some of which may be challenging and uncomfortable for you.
  • p. 1; Lead paragraph
  • There’s no single right way to accomplish your goals. Each of us has a number of avenues to reach our potential. The world constantly changes. Life often unfolds as a series of phases. Our potential is likely to evolve as the world evolves and as we continue to learn, grow, and develop our capabilities.
Reaching your potential is not simply about dreaming or being idealistic, It is a process that involve specific actions, exercises, discipline and hard work. It is challenging, rewarding and unending.”
  • p. 11
  • Effective leadership begins with having the right mindset; in particular, it begins with having an ownership mind-set. This means a willingness to put oneself in the shoes of a decision maker and think through all of the considerations that the decision maker must factor into his or her thinking and actions.
Having an ownership mind-set is essential to developing into an effective leader. By the same token, the absence of an ownership mind-set often explains why certain people with great promise ultimately fail to reach their leadership potential.
An ownership mind-set involves three essential elements, which I will put in the form of questions:
  • Can you figure out what you believe, as if you were an owner?
  • Can you act on those beliefs?
  • Do you act in a way that adds value to someone else: a customer, a client, a colleague, or a community? Do you take responsibility for the positive and negative impact of your actions on others?
These elements are not a function of your formal position in an organization. They are not a function of title, power, or wealth, although these factors can certainly be helpful in enabling you to act like an owner. These elements are about what you do. They are about taking ownership of your convictions, actions, and impact on others. In my experience, great organizations are made up of executives who focus specifically on these elements and work to empower their employees to think and act in this way.
  • p. 22-23

External links[edit]

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