August 2001

From the Director

CIDMIconNewsletter JoAnn Hackos, CIDM Director

Dear Friends:

Now is the time to set aside the funds you need for your own professional development. The third annual Best Practices conference takes place on October 22 through 24 on Cape Cod. Located at sea level on the elbow of the Cape, the nearly 100-year-old Chatham Bars Inn provides an ideal location for building a community of management colleagues. Although the program plans are well along, we need everyone’s help to make the gathering a success.

This year, the conference is built around the theme: Building a Strategy-Focused Organization. In the late 1990s, Drs. Kaplan and Norton of Harvard Business School developed the process called The Balanced Scorecard. They argued that traditional financial metrics of success are insufficient to guide an organization to success. Financial success must be built on a solid foundation of skilled staff members. Knowledgeable and well-supported staff fuel the efficient and creative processes that we need to develop effective information and education for our customers. The best people doing their best work in the best ways-the definition of best practices-help us exceed customer expectations. And, pleased customers are the basis of financial success.

At the core of a strategy-focused organization is Kaplan and Norton’s Strategy Map. Building your Strategy Map becomes the core of the Best Practices conference. Colleagues from CIDM member companies and others have organized four half-day session themes that will take you into the four key perspectives of the Balanced Scorecard: financial, customer, process, and learning and growth. Each of the four session themes includes a group activity so that you can get some direct experience with the concepts and the metrics and interact with fellow managers and industry experts. You’ll find many opportunities throughout the conference to share ideas and experiences.

On the third day, Christopher Gales of Wind River will coordinate an in-depth case study that you can use directly to build your own Strategy Map. In fact, I recommend that you explain to your management that you’ll return from the Best Practices conference with the start of a Strategy Map and a complete set of proven metrics.

Here’s how I need your help. The managers who have called and discussed their special challenges in 2001 have pointed to the critical need for proven metrics. Corporate executives ask all of us to measure our success and to demonstrate our value in alignment with corporate goals. To meet this challenge, I have scheduled a dynamic metrics session. The metrics session is run by you. To participate, all you need is one successful measurement that helps you make your business case to the executives. Call or email me to learn more about participating.

The metrics presentations will be arranged in a poster session. Poster sessions are a traditional fixture at scientific and engineering conferences. Each presenter comes prepared with a poster (think science fair) and a handout. One poster-one key business metric. By the way, if I don’t hear from you soon, I’ll be calling to find out more about your best practices.

The second opportunity to take part is the Balanced Scorecard case study. We need a team of facilitators who are able to study the Strategy Map concept in advance, attend a Sunday-afternoon planning session, and facilitate a small group session on Wednesday morning.

2001 has been a year of remarkable challenges for our members. Tight budgets, layoffs, and demands for accountability have caused a lot of strain and anxiety. You need new tools and the support of remarkable colleagues to move forward.

At the past two Best Practices conferences, I’ve seen the excitement generated by a community of seasoned professionals and enthusiastic newcomers. Our goal for the third conference is not only to continue the tradition of exceptional value but to enhance it. I can guarantee that you will return to your organization with a kit bag of new tools, a support network of colleagues, and an excitement that will energize (and probably irritate) your staff.

Plan now to join me and the CIDM members. Visit the conference Web site at <
conference.htm> for program details, speaker bios, registration information, and our new, secure online registration process.

See you in October on the Cape!