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Case Study: Using the Balanced Scorecard to Move from “Management by Experts” to Managing for Results through Data-driven Decisions By John McGillicuddy, Mecklenburg County General Manager Abstract Today’s heightened emphasis on accountability requires a new model of managing publicly funded resources. No longer can local government rely on department directors making subjective decisions as the resident expert in their field. Implementing a balanced scorecard provides a comprehensive and consistent approach to managing for results using data-driven decisions aligned with the organization’s mission, vision, goals, and strategies. In 2001, Mecklenburg County began its journey with a long-term vision of the community in 2015. Seven years …show more content…

In retrospect, it was clear that cutting these vital positions simply because they were vacant was a poor strategy for reducing costs. It also should be noted that Mecklenburg County is a highly political environment, with the political majority of the board of county commissioners open to change in virtually every two-year election. Changes in the elected majority are often accompanied by swings in political priorities, resulting in changes in funding for services. However, prior to 2001, there was no consistent model used for making decisions based on priorities. This resulted in a very unstable and non-sustainable approach to achieving desired results. Essentially, the community and County staff seemed to be experienced alternating between two diametrically opposed views. On one hand was the view that county government could be all things to all people; the other philosophy was that there is never a good reason to raise taxes. With this backdrop, County Manager Harry Jones, appointed by the Board in October 2000, sought to develop a model and structure for decision making that could be sustained regardless of economic conditions or political ideology. I. Starting with Vision There’s an old adage that if you don’t know where you are going, any road will do. Said differently, the first step in an important journey is deciding where you want to end up. As it relates to Mecklenburg County’s M4R journey, where it wanted to end up was established

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