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Visual Learning, Part Five: Strategy Map

According to research by Harvard Business School, 90% of business strategies are not successfully implemented. One reason is that leaders and employees do not have clear and actionable strategies or an implementation plan. Therefore, employees’ daily decisions and actions do not focus on implementing the strategy. A second reason is that organizations do not capture and visually display metrics in a way that cements accountability.

One visual business solution that drives increased strategy implementation and accountability is the strategy map. Based on the balanced scorecard, a strategy map identifies the cause-and-effect links between financial oriented goals, customer based needs, infrastructure, process, culture, and employee capabilities. Seeing these critical links allows an organization to identify the most important strategic initiatives and the individuals accountable for implementation. In addition, key metrics are included so progress (or the lack of) is visible to everyone so they can respond accordingly.

The strategy is communicated, reinforced and implemented through a set of visual roadmaps, management worksheets, and personal performance plans, each with their own metrics for measuring progress. By seeing the specific accountabilities and actions required and why they are important, all employees quickly begin contributing more to the organization’s success. The benefits of this strategy system to an organization or department are stronger alignment of individuals, greater accountability, and increased business results and shareholder value.

In addition, a 2002 McKinsey survey indicates that 44% of directors lack a complete comprehension of the primary value drivers for the company they are responsible for governing. Corporate boards use balanced scorecards to quickly gain this vital information. These scorecards and resulting roadmaps hold boards accountable for implementing effective strategies and their responsibilities. The benefit to board members is they receive more streamlined and relevant data about the organization, which enables them to put their very limited time toward making effective strategic decisions.

  • About The Author

    Aaron Howard

    Aaron is a leader, technologist, musician and horse person with 25 years experience in starting, growing and monetizing successful businesses. While it would not be unusual to find Aaron in the middle of Montana every October with his wife Marianne riding horses every day and enjoying the "truly big sky", it is always a possibility that he is online. Aaron’s passion for new technologies such as social media is contagious and its been said that after a day with Aaron you will find yourself tweeting, posting, blogging, searching and roaming the web for an opportunity to be part of his vision. His most recent passion focuses on driving growth through the winning combination of leadership and emerging technologies. Learn more about Aaron and growth here at Full
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