“What you measure is what you get.” These words introduced Robert (Bob) Kaplan’s landmark Harvard Business Review article The Balanced Scorecard—Measures that Drive Performance, heralding a new era in performance management that enabled leaders to clarify and communicate their strategic vision, and align people, business units and resources to it. More than 20 years later, these words – and the revolutionary strategy execution tool that it defines – are even more relevant today.
Named one of Financial Times’ “Top 25 Business Thinkers,” the Harvard Business School (HBS) Professor has dedicated his career to helping companies look – and move – forward. Perhaps most renowned as co-originator – with fellow HBS Professor David Norton – of the Balanced Scorecard, one of the most successful and widely used strategic management tools in the world, Kaplan also co-developed the concept of activity-based costing, and is actively collaborating with HBS Professor and leading authority on competitive strategy Michael Porter to apply the approach to health care, as detailed in their Harvard Business Review article How to Solve the Cost Crisis in Health Care.
In his research and writing, speaking and consulting, Kaplan makes compelling cases for how leaders can link their performance and cost management systems to strategy implementation and operational excellence – shifting the lens of assessment from traditional financial metrics to nuanced interrelationships that look at the full organizational structure and mission. His most recent work has developed a new framework for risk management, showing how to integrate risk management with strategy development and implementation.
Kaplan has co-authored with Norton numerous books focused on the Balanced Scorecard concept, how it works and best practices for implementation, all published by Harvard Business Review Press, including “The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action” (1996); “The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment” (2000); and “Alignment: Using the Balanced Scorecard to Create Corporate Synergies” (2006). Their most recent book, “Execution Premium: Linking Strategy to Operations for Competitive Advantage” (2008), helps business leaders successfully execute their business strategy for measurable benefits. Together, these books have transformed the business strategy landscape.
Elected to the Accounting Hall of Fame in 2006, Kaplan received the Lifetime Contribution Award for Distinguished Contributions to Advancing the Management Accounting Profession from the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) in 2008 and the Lifetime Contribution Award from the Management Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association (AAA) in 2006. He also received the Outstanding Accounting Educator Award in 1988 from the AAA, the 1994 CIMA Award from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (UK) for "Outstanding Contributions to the Accountancy Profession," and the 2001 Distinguished Service Award from IMA for contributions to the practice and academic community.
Former Dean of the Tepper School of Business, Carnegie-Mellon University, Kaplan received a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T., a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Cornell University and honorary doctorates from several distinguished international universities.