Disadvantages / Problems with Strategy Maps

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Disadvantages / Problems with Strategy Maps
Abdul Babar
Hi everyone, I find business literature mainly talks in favor of Strategy Maps.
Can you help me to find problems, issues, cons or disadvantages associated with strategy map implementation?
Many thanks...

Problems with strategy maps
Jason Kent, Member
I've seen/experienced that an organization's sense of urgency results in moving forward too quickly without proper planning. I've facilitated small workshops at the beginning of a change initiative, for example, to get people around a table brainstorming about the items in a strategy map (like the one on this page) so that they at least understand all the nuances that exist. It also gets them thinking early on about the effects (positive and negative) on others (such as a client) which can easily be overlooked, as well as starting to identify key stakeholders to make sure the change initiative runs more smoothly. The project/change typically moves forward before all of the details are hashed out but at least this "time out" provides a checklist so that everyone understands what is (or should be) involved in implementing a new strategy.

Shortcomings of strategy maps and balanced scorecards
The original Strategy Map and BSC do not address risk and uncertainty which are one of the major reasons for the current financial crisis. One should consider to add and integrate other tools (Scenario Analysis, Risk Management, War Gaming) to make the strategies future, time and competitor proof.

Limitations of Strategy Maps
One obvious yet very important limitation of Strategy Maps is that they do not help at all to devise and formulate the right strategy.
It is a tool to COMMUNICATE a strategy once it is devised and formulated.

Strategy Maps do not define actual customer perspectives
Anderson Su, Member
The customer perspective in strategy map should be defined before they can be shown in the strategy map. How to suit the customer requirement is always a challenge for any company.
We are using QFD to screen the customer's needs and then transfer them to the R&D side for developing the right products and reducing time into market.

Limitations of Strategy Maps as a Tool in Strategy
Gary Wong, Premium Member
Think of a strategy map as a tool like a hammer. They are very useful when hitting a nail but should not be used with screws. So the question is: when do you have a screw? Here are four:
1. When direct cause & effect relationships are not obvious and perhaps do not even exist ("If we do this, then we will get that").
2. When initially establishing an idealistic future state with set objectives may stifle and not allow a future to naturally evolve.
3. When the future might plausibly include unknowable and unimaginable events such as Black Swans and Serendipity.
4.When using past and current measures (hindsight) could hamper the emergence of totally different metrics.
All of the above are aspects of Complex Adaptive Systems.
In short, there are too many unpredictable variables (human and machine) interacting with each other and creating unintended consequences to permit linear thinking tools like Strategy Maps to properly work.


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