Strategy Maps (Kaplan Norton)

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Summary, forum, best practices, expert tips and information sources.

What are Strategy Maps? Description

In the 2001 book "The Strategy-Focused Organization", Kaplan and Norton transform their Balanced Scorecard. In 1992 they introduced the Balanced Scorecard in the Harvard Business Review as system to measure performance; now they change it to a strategic management system. A lot of this transformation was done by further emphasizing the so called Strategy Map.

Strategy Maps are diagrams that describes how an organization can create value: by connecting strategic objectives in explicit cause and effect relationship with each other. Via the four Balanced Scorecard perspectives: financial, customer, processes, learning and growth. See the figure below (You can click on the graph to download a bigger one in pdf-format). Strategy Maps are a strategic part of the Balanced Scorecard framework to describe strategies for value creation.

Strategy MapsCharacteristics of Strategy Maps

  1. All of the information is contained on one page; this enables relatively easy strategic communication.

  2. There are four perspectives: Financial; Customer; Internal; Learning and Growth.

  3. The financial perspective looks at creating long-term shareholder value, and uses a productivity strategy of improving cost structure and asset utilization and a growth strategy of expanding opportunities and enhancing customer value.

  4. These last four elements of strategic improvement are supported by price, quality, availability, selection, functionality, service, partnerships and brand.

  5. From an internal perspective, the operations processes and the customer management processes help to make the product and service attributes. While the innovation, regulatory and social processes help with relationships and image.

  6. All of these processes are supported by the allocation of human capital, information capital and organizational capital. Organizational capital is comprised of company culture, leadership, alignment and teamwork.

  7. Connecting arrows are describing cause and effect relationships.

What are the main principles behind Strategy Maps?

  1. Strategy balances contradictory forces.
  2. Strategy is based on a differentiating customer value proposition.
  3. Value is added through internal business processes.
  4. Strategy consists of simultaneous, complementary themes.
  5. Strategic alignment determines the value of intangible assets.

Usage of Strategy Maps? Benefits

By connecting such things as shareholder value creation, customer management, process management, quality management, core capabilities, innovation, human resources, information technology, organizational design and learning with one another in one graphical representation, Strategy Maps can help greatly in describing the strategy and to communicate the strategy among executives and to their employees. In this way an alignment can be created around the strategy, which makes a successful implementation of the strategy more easy. No small thing, bearing in mind that often, the implementation of a constructed strategy is the biggest challenge.

Although the previous book of Kaplan and Norton already spent 64 pages on Strategy Maps, you can find the latest, best and most comprehensive treatment of Strategy Maps including lots of examples in the book that is mentioned below.

Book: Robert Kaplan and David Norton - Strategy Maps -

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Strategy Maps Special Interest Group.

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Forum about Strategy Maps.

Should the Strategy be Communicated? How Much? To Whom?
Communicating strategy involves much more than talk. There are numerous pitfalls or issues which must be resolved for th (...)
43 reactions
Strategy Maps for Public Sector Organizations / Government
How do strategy maps work for public sector organizations (i.e. government agencies) that don't have sales nor sharehold (...)
4 reactions
Strategy Maps for Customer Service Organizations
Hi, can someone comment on how SMs for Customer Service Organizations/Units are different from default ones? Any ideas o (...)
1 reactions
In recent time there is the OKR usage to steer the management team towards the strategic targets. I think that OKR are (...)
0 reactions
Best Practices

The top-rated discussion topics about Strategy Maps. Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.

🥇 Managing Cross-Divisional Collaboration and Strategy Maps
Often, achievement of a Critical Success Factor requires collaboration of two or more divisions across organizational bo (...)
20 reactions

🥈 Selection in Customer Perspective of Strategy Maps
Good morning, In the Customer Perspective of the Strategy Map there is a product/service attribute called "Selection". W (...)
5 reactions

🥉 Successful Cases of Strategy Maps
How many companies have applied a strategy map into their business so far? Is there any successful case study that can b (...)
2 reactions

Are Balanced Scorecard and Strategy Map the Same?
Does the strategy map tell the same story of Balanced Scorecard? Both of them are talking about these four perspectives. (...)
3 reactions

Synergy in Strategy Maps?
Is it possible to include corporate level effects into a Strategy Map? How? (Strategy maps seem to be directed primaril (...)
8 reactions

Ends, Means and Strategy Map
Under John Carver's Policy Governance Model management is driven by ends established by a board of directors. Management (...)
0 reactions

Strengths of Strategy Maps
Strategy Maps are an excellent extension to the basic framework of the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) approach. - Business st (...)
2 reactions

Disadvantages / Problems with Strategy Maps
Hi everyone, I find business literature mainly talks in favor of Strategy Maps. Can you help me to find problems, issue (...)
5 reactions

Strategy Maps in Egypt?
I'd like to know what companies are using strategy maps in Egypt if any? Thanks for your tips... (...)
0 reactions

The OVAR Approach - Objectives, Value of Actions, Responsibilities
OVAR is a second - similar - strategic approach that allows confontation of departments' choices. O for Objectives, VA f (...)
0 reactions

Online or DVD Training Materials on BSC / Strategy Maps
I am in quest of e-learning or DVD informal training related to: - Strategy Plan development; - Strategy Map developme (...)
0 reactions

Expert Tips

Advanced insights about Strategy Maps. Here you will find professional advices by experts.

Linking Strategy with Execution

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How to Incorporate Sustainability into your Strategy Map (BSC) ?

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Six Crucial Mind Shifts for Strategy Execution / Implementation

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Why is it Important for a Balanced Scorecard to Communicate the Strategy?

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Information Sources

Various sources of information regarding Strategy Maps. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.

Strategy Map Diagram

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Brett Knowles: Pitfalls in Designing Strategy Maps

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Compare with Strategy Maps: Balanced Scorecard  |  Office of Strategy Management  |  Performance Prism  |  Catalytic Mechanisms  |  Intangible Assets Monitor  |  People CMM  |  IC Rating  |  TQM

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