A good strategy map should communicate everything a company is striving to achieve on a single page. If your company is made up of only five people or is an enterprise of 5,000 people, first and foremost you want them to know exactly what the company is about and what it is trying to achieve. What is more, your employees want to know that your company has ambition and plans and will be around for the long haul. They want to be sure that the leaders know what they are doing and are in control. They want to work in a winning environment and want to know their jobs are secure. One of the most powerful tools in your armoury is a strategy map (that and consistently winning profitable business, the two are inextricably linked).
There are many views as to what a good strategy map should look like and what form it should take. Tesco for instance, has developed a strategy map in the form of a circle which is centred on their ‘Every little helps’ slogan and the two company principles ‘no-one tries harder for customers’ and ‘treat people how we like to be treated’. Tesco, of course, has the resources to not only spend time on developing their strategy but also developing an innovative presentation method. The latter is something that many companies cannot afford to do. There are, however, several industry standard templates that can be used, not least of which is the Kaplan/Norton Balanced Scorecard approach. For more information on the Balanced Scorecard, check out the Intrafocus Guide to the Balanced Scorecard.
To make the most of a Strategy Map we would suggest one or two additions to the basic template. The basic balanced scorecard template focuses on four areas of business referred to as ‘perspectives’. These are 1. The Financial Perspective, 2. The Customer Perspective, 3. The Internal Processes Perspective and 4. The Organisational Growth Perspective. In addition to these four perspectives, there are three things that need to be highlighted. These are 1. A Vision Statement, 2. A Mission Statement and 3. A Core Values Statement. It is true that these statements could be included within the four perspectives, but given their importance in their own right, they should be given the right level of prominence in a strategy map. So how does this all come together? The easiest way to demonstrate is through a sample strategy map template (click on map to enlarge):
There is an argument that a fourth element of the strategy that should be highlighted: the Customer Value Proposition. On balance, this statement should fit easily within the customer perspective and is part of the Mission statement so the need to specifically highlight it is not imperative. Using the above template, any organisation, large or small should be able to describe what they are in business for and what they intend to achieve. For more information on strategy maps and for a selection of strategy map templates, see the documents to the right.