Designing strategy maps | Doing the right things right
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In a previous blog, we discussed the building blocks of a strategy map. Now, we’ll discuss the various ways in which a strategy map can be structured and read.

Undergoing a transition

One way of defining key success factors is building a strategy map: doing the right things right. A strategy map shows how an organization wants to undergo a transition by highlighting some key areas. The strategy map is usually comprised of four levels which enhance each other. By clearly defining a strategy map, it’s easier to define the right factors to measure.

From up to down and back again

A strategy map is defined from the top down, and we follow the transition from the bottom-up. The upper block, goals, details the contribution of our work. This contribution depends on the type of organization, or which department of the organization we’re talking about. The second block, the desired transition, contains information about how we want to change from the customer’s perspective.

The third block details the actions to be taken: the strategic processes that should facilitate the transition.

Building up an image

If we want to establish our reputation as, for example, advisors, we don’t want our carefully built-up image to be tarnished by an inefficient or ineffective organization. We use the block on the right side of the diagram “cost leadership” to meet the criterion. Optimizing administrative processes, for example, is an important aspect of that.

Help for the longer term

On the other side of the “strategic themes” spectrum, we can see that we’ll have to innovate our offering in order to strengthen our role as strategic advisors. The fields of product leadership/innovation & sustainability have to help us make this transition in the long term.

The bottom block of the strategy map can then be filled in with the required (human) resources and structure needed to achieve the desired strategy.

From big to small goals

If we read the map from top to bottom, we can see that goals are spun out into smaller, more digestible chunks. If we read the map from the bottom-up, we can see that we should expect the first results at the bottom of the map. First, we’ll have to ensure that our competencies are in order before we can influence the most important success factors. Then the transition is within our reach, and we can support the organization’s goals.

Effectiveness versus efficiency versus sustainability

A strategy map tends to emphasize the efficiency of the organization along the right-hand side – doing more with less. The left-hand side more often emphasizes optimizing the effectiveness of employees and the growth potential.

Rhinelandic & Anglo-Saxon: Planet, People, Profit

Where traditional Anglo-Saxon strategies were/are very focused on the profit/growth side of the organization, these days it’s more important to find a healthy balance between the three Ps of the strategy map: Planet, People, and Profit. The Planet aspect encompasses the organization’s responsibility towards the environment in which it operates.

Corporate Social Responsibility is no longer one of the processes, but these days is often part of the organization’s core strategy. In the strategy map, the central role can be clearly displayed. Strategy maps that contain more “Rhinelandic” influences have found a better balance between them.

Strategy maps, by their very nature, are excellently suited to offering organizations a helping hand in becoming more sustainable. Communication about sustainability and embedding it into the strategy goes hand-in-hand with this.

Result areas versus effort areas

We’ll have to look for a good mix of measuring results and measuring efforts. The upper two perspectives are more about measuring results, while the lower two perspectives are suited to measuring efforts.

Do you want to know more about strategy mapping? Sign up for our Scenario planning & Strategy mapping training course.

Comment on this post by Daan van Beek

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