Having Trouble with Your Strategy? Then Map It

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In this article, the authors discuss the use of strategy maps to explain strategy to all people in the organization. If you were a military general on the march, you'd want your troops to have plenty of maps--detailed information about the mission they were on, the roads they would travel, the campaigns they would undertake, and the weapons at their disposal. The same holds true in business: a workforce needs clear and detailed information to execute a business strategy successfully. The authors have created the balance scorecard that have adapted that seminal tool to create strategy maps. They use balanced scorecard strategy maps to show how an organization can convert its assets into desired outcomes. It is best to build these strategy maps from the top down, and then charting the routes that will lead to the desired outcomes. This should make the likelihood of a successful implementation of strategy possible. The strategy map is a visual framework which embeds the different items in an enterprise's balanced scorecard into a cause and effect chain, connecting desired outcomes with drivers of those results. Strategy maps let an organization describe and illustrate--in clear and general language--its objectives, initiatives, targets markets, performance measures, and the links between all the pieces of its strategy. Strategy maps are particularly critical in the information age where businesses must create and deploy intangible assets such as customer relationships, information communication technologies, employee skills and knowledge and an innovative problem solving corporate culture. The strategy maps enable organizations to describe and value these critical intangible assets that are major sources of competitive advantage. Using Mobil North American Marketing and Refining Company as an example, Kaplan and Norton walk through the creation of a strategy map and its four distinct regions--financial, customer, internal process, and learning and growth--which...
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