Strategic Planning Critical as Global Crisis Hits the Middle East

Published February 4th, 2009 - 06:41 GMT

Companies in the Middle East are being urged to implement strategic planning fast as a means to combat the global slump and ensure survival in the face of intense regional competition.

As slowing economic conditions show little signs of abating, top U.S. management scholars Dr Robert Kaplan and Dr David Norton are unveiling their world-beating process, ‘Balanced Scorecard’ at a special five-day forum in Dubai.

Hot on the heels of their successful sold-out show last year, Kaplan and Norton aim to provide hard-hitting advice and recommendations to local businesses anxious about the effects of the spiraling economy.

Using compelling examples from local and regional enterprises such as DEWA, the Abu Dhabi Government, King Fahad Specialist Hospital and Qtel, the engaging academics will show that applying their globally-respected management tool to corporate processes and procedures is the best recipe for galvanizing businesses in the current crisis.

The two respected professors will argue that satisfying stakeholder expectations has become critical in a region where prices for oil, real estate, commodities and financial services have plummeted and securing meaningful profit becomes ever more elusive.

Using a combination of workshops and forums, Balanced Scorecard Forum 2009 will feature live presentations from Kaplan and Norton, pre- and post-Forum sessions, plus invaluable networking opportunities. The two respected academics will also unveil their latest book, The Execution Premium which demonstrates how the Balanced Scorecard is successfully applied.

Dr Norton said that today’s economic climate presents serious threats to business survival – but also incredible opportunities for the successful implementation of effective management tools. “Today as companies grapple with a harsh new reality, your organization needs to know how to mobilize its people and what precisely you are trying to do. Now it is imperative to have a strategy and to manage expectations, especially when there is no margin of error.”

Despite dire predictions from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank of negative growth in the world’s leading economies and sluggish growth for the Middle East, Dr Norton says all is not bad news. “Bad times are always followed by good times. The key to survival is strategy and its successful implementation. You have to know the future and what your organization is trying to do. It’s really important to the mental health of your organization.”

The Balanced Scorecard places significant emphasis upon effective leadership, a skill that is imperative in today’s tough conditions. “The leader has to have a sense of where we’re going. That’s a strategy. And that has to be communicated and inspire people. The leader then has to provide direction and motivate people and provide a framework for feedback.”

Robert Kaplan is Baker Foundation Professor at the Harvard Business School. Kaplan joined the HBS faculty in 1984 after spending 16 years on the faculty of the business school at Carnegie-Mellon University, where he served as Dean from 1977 to 1983. Kaplan received a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T., and a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Cornell University. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Stuttgart and University of Lodz.

David Norton was founder and president of Renaissance Solutions, a global consulting organization with more than 6,500 employees in 100 global locations. Formerly, Norton was CEO of the Nolan Norton Institute, a consulting firm he co-founded, which became the research arm of KPMG. He earned his doctorate in business administration from Harvard University, an MBA from Florida State University, an MS in operations research from the Florida Institute of Technology, and a BS in electrical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Kaplan and Norton are set to address high-level executives between March 28th and 2nd April at the JW Marriott Hotel, Dubai, U.A.E. They will be joined by leading executives from well-established and industry-leading regional business powerhouses including AW Rostamani Group, Emirates Identity Authority, the Electricity and Water Authority, Bahrain, Petroleum Development Oman, Qtel and Tamweel. International companies featured include Australia-based management consultancy Claritas and ADDIMA Consulting of Lebanon.

Real life stories from the Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame will be showcased along with the critical role top management has to play in successful implementation of Balanced Scorecard.

The Forum is running in collaboration with Palladium, and sponsored by Addima Consulting, Microsoft, Iycon, QPR and Logic Management Consulting.

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