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Last week I had a conversation with a client who already has a strategy map (or so I thought).  However when I asked about their cause and effect model across the perspectives they sounded blank.

It turned out that what they were calling a strategy map was actually an overall view of how the corporate objectives rippled through the organisation and were made visible to people on the front line.  You might think of this as “line of sight” or “The golden thread”.  This is very valuable, BUT it is not a strategy map.

Develop strategy maps and scorecards for teams

The principle that is important here is NOT to create a balanced scorecard for an organisation: that way you are likely to end up with 120-200 measures in your scorecard.  What you should develop is a balanced scorecard (and strategy map) for each team.  This means that each team has a clear simple view of what is important for them and what they need to focus on.  It defines their contribution.  The strategy maps and scorecards of the teams beneath them represents additional detail that might be managed by delegation and exception, as necessary.

Think through the architecture of strategy maps and balanced scorecards

This principle of “a balanced scorecard for a management team” means that, at the start of an engagement it is important to think through and plan out the overall architecture of strategy maps and scorecards and how they will fit together.  For many organisations this will follow a functional hierarchy with support functions supporting.  However if you are creating a joined up organisation where the overall objectives are designed to create joined up thinking and working across the organisational boundaries, you might have a more subtle design.

Once you have this architecture, and you understand how the strategy should ripple through, then you can start to structure your strategy maps from the top down, so that the “golden thread” and “line of sight” are clear.

Cascading balanced scorecards now becomes easier

When you have this it is far easier to think through how measures at one level cascade or aggregate up through objectives and how each team will contribute to the overall strategy.  It is also clearer how you will communicate the message of your strategy (Here is an executive’s guide) and who will be the key people to help you.

Have you thought through your balanced scorecard architecture and developed your cascade map?  If you would like help, give me a call.