Strategy Maps (Kaplan Norton)

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Picturing and communicating how an organization can create value: connecting strategic objectives in cause and effect relationships with each other. Explanation of Strategy Maps of Kaplan and Norton ('92, '01).


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  2. Forum
  3. Best Practices
  4. Expert Tips
  5. Resources
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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 -

Strategy Maps Forum
  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 or pointers are appreciated! Thanks & Regards....
  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 shareholders?...
  Strategy Maps in Egypt?
I'd like to know what companies are using strategy maps in Egypt if any? Thanks for your tips......
  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 be shared to discuss? What were the advantages of using it in practice?...
  Ends, Means and Strategy Map
Under John Carver's Policy Governance Model management is driven by ends established by a board of directors. Management then develops means (goals, strategies, objectives) to meet the board's ends. Has anyone used their board's ...
  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 development
- Balanced Scorecard / Dashboard development
- Aligning Strategy with action plan
Any idea who I can co...
  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 for Value of Actions, R for Responsibilities. Every department implements the company's objectives into actions and decides whom ma...
  Strengths of Strategy Maps
Strategy Maps are an excellent extension to the basic framework of the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) approach.
- Business strategy statements can be catchy, but line management are often searching for answers and appropriate data on the implementatio...
  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, issues, cons or disadvantages associated with strategy map implementation?
Many thanks......
  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....
  Synergy in Strategy Maps?
Is it possible to include corporate level (strategic) synergy effects into a Strategy Map? How? (Strategy maps seem to be directed primarily at the business strategy level)...

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Best Practices - Strategy Maps Premium
  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 the strategy to be effectively communicated. For example, in some instances executives argue with good reason that to fully communic...
  Managing Cross-Divisional Collaboration
Often, achievement of a Critical Success Factor requires collaboration of two or more divisions across organizational boundaries. For example, to increase sales of new products in overseas markets, collaboration between international sales, R&...
  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". What does it mean? Examples?...

Expert Tips - Strategy Maps Premium

Linking Strategy with Execution

One of the world's most popular business tools for translating strategy into operational activities is the Balanced Scorecard. However, the Balance...
Usage (application): Linking Strategy to Implementation

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

Due to the fact that corporate sustainability issues have become more and more important, orga...
Usage (application): Sustainability Balanced Scorecard, SBSC, Triple Bottom Line

Six Crucial Mind Shifts for Strategy Execution / Implementation

Speculand (2009) suggests six mind shifts that people should consider when they're implementing new strategies in organizations. These are outlined an...
Usage (application): Change Management, Strategic Change, Resistance to CHange, Strategy Implementation

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

Why is it important for a Balanced Scorecard to communicate the strategy?
1. It describes the corporate vision to the whole organisation....
Usage (application): Balanced Scorecard & Strategy

Resources - Strategy Maps Premium

Strategy Map Diagram

Download and edit the 12manage PowerPoint model for limited personal, educational and business use. Republishing in intranets, websites, books, magaz...
Usage (application): Communicating a Strategy

How to Communicate Organizational Change to Affected Audiences

This presentation elaborates on the process of communicating change towards those affected by the change. The presentation includes the following sect...
Usage (application): Organizational Change, Change Management, Change Communications

The Strategic Role of Public Relations and Communication in Business

Presentation about the role public relations and communications in business strategy implementation and execution. The presentation includes the follo...
Usage (application): Public Relations, Strategic Management, Corporate Responsibility, Stakeholder Management, Stakeholder Analysis

Brett Knowles: Pitfalls in Designing Strategy Maps

Brett Knowles explains the frequent characteristics of bad strategy maps:
- No Clear Cause-and-Effect Explanation (lack of arrows)
- No Clea...
Usage (application): Creating and Implementing Strategy Maps. Consultancy, Experts, Advanced Education

Summary of Strategy Maps: Part 3

Brett Knowles explains in three videos the history of Strategy Mapping, its benefits and some interesting features.
Part 3:
Brett Knowles de...
Usage (application): Initial Understanding of Strategy Maps and History

Summary of Strategy Maps. Part 2

Brett Knowles explains in three videos the history of Strategy Mapping, its benefits and some interesting features.
Part 2:
A strategy map d...
Usage (application): Initial Understanding of Strategy Maps

Introduction to Strategy Maps. Part 1

Brett Knowles explains in three videos the history of Strategy Mapping, its benefits and some interesting features.
Part 1:
In this video Br...
Usage (application): Initial Understanding of Strategy Maps

Strategy Review (Strategic Review). Types and Tips

Erica Olsen explains how to run a strategy review, she considers to be the heartbeat of any strategic management process. It is coming together and ta...
Usage (application): Strategy Review, Strategic Management, Strategy Process


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