In general, indicators of performance can be leading, lagging, or coincident. This means some can be used to tell us where we may be headed (leading), while others can only look in the rearview mirror and tell us where we’ve been (lagging), and others still tell us where we are at right now (coincident). As when driving a car, if you want to be relatively safe, you need all three.
Truly useful scorecards try to balance effort along different dimensions important to an organization’s performance. At the macro level, these dimensions often include financial health, customer satisfaction, internal operations, and learning and growth.