Linking the Budget to the Balanced Scorecard

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Using templates to standardize reporting

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Personal Insight

I can recall being with Steve Ballmer, who was in charge of Sales. We were doing a review over in, I believe, it was the UK.

Steve had a standard set of templates that he wanted people to fill out to basically constitute the essence of the business review that he would hold over there as he made his trip once every six months. So, we arrive in the UK, and sit down.

The UK presented their deck of slides and started to go through it. But before they went through it, they explained: You know, actually our business here in the UK is a little different than the United States. We've had to modify these templates a bit because they truly didn't reflect all the nuances of this market, and it's important that you understand these nuances. And they go on and on. Pretty soon, what Steve began to understand, after they got into the fourth or fifth slide, was everything was positive, and he couldn't get his hands around the basic trends as to whether the business was a healthy as it was in Italy or as it was in Germany. Part of the reason for the standardization that we were desiring by prescribing these templates was to be able to calibrate one subsidiary against the other to see how they're doing in order to strengthen the weak ones and to take advantage of the learning from the really strong ones.

Having a standard template for reporting provides a uniform structure when collating responses from all sections of the business. It also allows people to concentrate on submitting the required details, rather than worrying about what format to present the information in.

Robert Herbold

Former Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft Corporation

Robert Herbold is the former Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Microsoft Corporation, and the Managing Director of the consulting business Herbold Group.

Mr. Herbold joined Microsoft in 1994 as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President. For the following six-and-a-half years he was responsible for finance, manufacturing and distribution, information systems, human resources, corporate marketing, market research and public relations. During his tenure as COO, Microsoft experienced a four-fold increase in revenue, and a seven-fold increase in profits.

From spring 2001 until June 2003 Mr. Herbold worked part time for Microsoft as Executive Vice President, assisting in the government, industry and customer areas.

Prior to his time at Microsoft, Mr. Herbold spent 26 years at Procter & Gamble. During the last five years with P&G he was Senior Vice President of advertising and information services, responsible for the company's worldwide advertising and brand management operations, all marketing related services and management information systems worldwide.

Mr. Herbold serves on the Board of Directors of Agilent Technologies, ICOS Corporation and First Mutual Bank. He recently authored the book 'The Fiefdom Syndrome'.

In 2001 Mr. Herbold was appointed by President Bush to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He currently chairs the Council's Education Subcommittee.

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