Strategic Planning

One of the most apparent benefits of using a strategy map is it provides an easy way to communicate the organization’s goals to all the members of the company. This allows everyone to stay on the same page and adjust and align their individual goals to match those of the company’s. 

While your business plan can be a helpful tool, employees often can’t grasp the idea behind the business’ goals just by reading it. They could easily get lost on the mere number of words on the document. On the other hand, a strategy map can be more straightforward and provide detailed information about the steps the company has to take to achieve its goals.  

Moreover, while a business plan will explain your business idea and outline the resources you need and how they will benefit the stakeholders, strategy mapping sets out what the company needs and the steps you need to drive your business forward. 

So, what is a strategy map, and what can it do for your company?

Strategy Map Definition

A strategy map is a single-page diagram that outlines all of the organization’s strategies. One of its biggest benefits is that it allows managers and CEOs to quickly communicate their objectives and give the entire team a bigger picture of what the organization wants to achieve. 

In the simplest terms, a strategic map gives the company direction. It shows what needs to happen in order for the company to reach its short-, mid-, and long-term goals. By outlining the objectives, the employees within the organization will know where they come in. In turn, they will understand why their job is essential and its impact on the company’s overall success. 

How does Strategic Map Works?

A typical strategic map is usually composed of four perspectives, ranked from top to bottom: 

  • Financial
  • Customer
  • Internal business processes
  • Learning and growth 

While each organization is different, the perspectives they use are often similar to those mentioned above. Each of these perspectives has its own objective (connected by arrows) that, when completed, leads to another objective on the higher perspective. 

For instance, in learning and growth, if one of your objectives is fostering a work environment of information sharing (learning and growth), your employees are likely to become more efficient and happier at their jobs (internal business processes). Happy employees lead to happier customers, and delighted customers are more likely to convert into repeat and loyal customers. 

So, What Can a Strategy Map Do for Your Company?

Here are some of the benefits of creating a strategic map for your company:

Fosters Better Understanding of the Company’s Goals

Starting with the obvious, a strategic map allows a better understanding of what the company wants to achieve and where it wants to go. It can be hard to explain the company’s goal and the steps needed to get there with words alone. 

On the other hand, working with a simple visual representation (strategic map), employees in the organization will better grasp what they need to do to help the company get to its desired destination. With better understanding comes employee efficiency, which in turn, results in a productive and profitable company. 

Explains the Interconnectedness of Each Objective

As mentioned, each objective in the strategic map connects to a bigger objective using arrows. Sometimes, it can be challenging to decode the interconnectedness of the goals through a written document. A strategy map makes it easier for the stakeholders to identify the interconnectedness of the objectives and how the completion of these objectives works towards achieving the ultimate goal. This is especially useful in helping the constituents understand how their work affects each other and the company’s end goal. 

Clarifies the Role of Each Department and Employees

Often in an organization, employees are not well-informed of the role they play in the company. Not only will this disrupt the company’s entire processes, but this can also lead to employees with low morale. 

On the other hand, a strategy map shows the company’s goals that are relevant to employees – regardless of where they stand in the company. It could be increasing production times or improving the conversions. Essentially, this benefit of the strategic map makes it a great resource in communicating the organization’s goals to the entire company. 

Continuous Progress Evaluation

Aside from giving your company a direction, a strategy map can also be used to track your progress towards your goal(s). You can see where you currently are as you implement your strategies and determine the objectives that have been reached. If your progress is taking longer than you anticipated, you can revisit the steps and modify, as needed. 

Through these regular evaluations and updates, you can monitor and create a better strategy map that will guide you and your organization as you work towards reaching your goals. 

Final Thoughts on Strategic Maps

Whether you’re still in the early stages of your business or have been running your business for years, a strategic map can be a powerful tool to help your business communicate your goals to your employees and mobilize your plans to achieve those goals. But like any other strategic plan, you need to evaluate and update your map constantly. This will give you a chance to improve so that you can lead your organization to a better future.