Strategy maps

A Strategy Map is a diagramme which assists in making a strategy visible. Many consider the a strategy map as the most important means for obtaining the full understanding and support by management and staff of the Balanced Scorecard. If you grasp the map and know a bit about project planning, learning how to use the Balanced Scorecard is easy.

The aim of this page is to provide a brief overview of a BSC Strategy Map.

Contact ABPLAN for assistance with the development of such a map.

Strategy Theme Map - the compass

Kaplan and Norton favour the development of a Strategy Theme Map with three strategic themes to assist a team to discuss and decide which direction to take over the next five years.

The three themes lie in the two bottom perspectives of the Balanced Scorecard (BSC), as this is where you have to take action. ABPLAN has integrated the three-theme approach with three overarching strategic goals. 

Examples of such strategic themes and goals would be:

  • Team First, Clients Second ("think smart") with two to three supporting Wildly Important Goals (WIGs) aimed at establishing a superb team which is capable of providing superb products and services to clients.
  • Professional Work ("work smart") with two to three Supporting WIGs aimed at puting into place superbly executed operations (quality and efficiency).
  • Marketing ("deliver smartly") with two to three WIGs aimed at putting into place a Marketing Plan and getting the word out.

The BSC Strategy Map - the road map

The BSC Strategy Map will show, with reference to the preceding theme map, the Wildly Important Goals (WIGs) and their objectives which will become the drivers of the Balanced Scorecard (BSC). Each team or Business Unit will have three aligned WIGs. This map assists in seeing where to focus; in seeing cause-and-effect relationships between the WIGs and the components of the various perspectives. What you do in one perspective affects the other perspectives. Actions have consequences.

This diagramme only shows the headings of the map. (Their meaning is explained under the Balanced Scorecard on the next page.)

Strategic Plan and Strategy Maps to Balanced Scorecard

In a nutshell:

  • A Strategic Plan provides long-term (5 years) direction which is formally reviewed twice a year.
  • A Strategy Theme Map pinpoints the three themes which a company wishes to further over five years. Each theme would be strengthened by three strategic direction-giving Wildly Important Goals (WIGs) which would also cover 5 years. Their supporting objectives would cover the short to medium term (e.g.  6 - 12 or more months).  Heed the Law of Diminishing Returns and only place three company-wide WIGs on the map. (Few objectives and focus lead to 100% success. Many objectives lead to less or no success.) These three overarching WIGs obtain a specific meaning from the WIGS and their three objectives per WIG which each Business Unit develops in support of the company WIGs.
  • The BSC Strategy Map would show the same three themes and their WIGs. This map differs from the previous one as its focus is the process level. Here the WIGs are placed under the appropriate process headings.  Think-through the interaction and cause-and-effect relationships between the various headings. Think leads and lags. What must be done (leads) under the Learning and Growth Perspective and the Internal Business Perspective which will lead to results (lags) under the Client Perspective and the Financial Perspective?

For instance, prior to introducing a new product, a period of study and research might be needed under Human Capital. Then move over to Innovation Processes. Here the detail of positioning the product, designing it, creating it, launching it, and testing it, would follow. Only afterwards would the new product move over to Operations Management Processes where it becomes part of the company's P&S offering. (Link what is being done under Innovation Processes to Client Management Processes and to marketing. Ensure that all departments and key people are drawn into the process: design, production, marketing and client management.)

  • The content of the BSC Strategy Map (the WIGs and their objectives) is worked out in detail on the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) on Excel.

A Strategy Map enhances strategy development. Its completion stimulates thinking and discussion.

An easy introduction

A Strategy Map with its three strategic themes and WIGs is linked to the Mission and Vision of your company. Completing the maps assists in obtaining clarity about the selection and development of the three strategic themes and three WIGs.

The first map is the compass. The second map, containing the three company WIGs, is the road map. The Balanced Scorecard is the city map.

The maps are most useful. They can be as simple or as sophisticated as you would like them to be.

In due course expand and deepen each strategy map. The first map is developed immediately. As soon as the client is ready, and against insights gained by my client, I facilitate the development of a comprehensive Annual Strategy Map and a comprehensive Annual Balanced Scorecard.

ABPLAN usually firstly assists a client in creating a Blue Ocean Strategy Canvas as this excercise benefits the development of a  comprehensive Balanced Scorecard and of a BSC Strategy Map.

Now go to Balanced Scorecard, as the Blue Ocean Strategy Canvas is translated into a Balanced Scorecard (BSC) and a supporting BSC Strategy Map.

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Last modified: 16-06-2012

Client Quote

“Albert achieved excellent interaction, provided prompt feedback after each session, and showed a personal interest in the performance and success of our company.

The ABPLAN approach was highly relevant to our company. We institutionalised a Balanced Scorecard strategic planning approach and habits of execution such as regular, very open and inclusive meetings in which all our team members participate.

We regard the time and money that went into the project, as well spent.

Planning and focused execution has become a routine way of running our business.”

Chanda Bailey, CEO - Verhoef ICT Training