Saturday, June 7, 2008

On the Bookshelf

"Drive Business Performance: Enabling a Culture of Intelligent Execution" by Bruno Aziza and Joey Fitts represents much more than a demystification of performance management terminology. The book is neither a re-telling of the benefits of performance management, nor a veiled attempt to shape a business case for PerformancePoint. Instead, the authors introduce novel ideas backed by case study research, culminating in a pervasive and flexible model for business transformation within the scope of performance improvement.

The Culture of Performance (CoP) Model presented by the authors bridges a gap between the establishment of a performance measurement framework (e.g., Balanced Scorecard, TQM, Lean, etc.), and the tools and methods brought to bear in executing performance measurement (read: Business Intelligence). CoP is a comprehensive model for evolving organisations into the strategy-focused enterprises that Drs. Kaplan and Norton envisioned years earlier. To be certain, we all stand on the shoulders of giants.

That the authors chose to include "culture" in the name of their model cannot be understated: it directly addresses organisation-wide cultural transformation as it relates to the adoption of performance management (through the model's six phases). The authors demonstrate, with compelling evidence, that a company is more likely to achieve its desired outcomes when all its members adopt a performance-oriented mindset. Here, case studies on Expedia, Energizer and The Veterans' Health Administration (U.S.) each strike a chord on the sometimes painful transformation to a culture of performance. Aziza and Fitts make these findings practical, encouraging incubation through scored questionnaires, supporting capability models (MAP) and guiding principles. The final chapter of the book provides an excellent summary that aligns said scores to an entry point into the CoP model; this provides a reasonable indication of where an organisation may begin to improve business performance.

This excellent book warrants careful review and consideration-- it represents fresh and illuminating thinking from two of the most prominent figures in the field of performance management. For executives, directors and managers looking to improve business performance (as well as consultants specialising in performance management) consider this book essential reading.

- Adrian Downes

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