Having a clear strategy, translated into Strategy Map gets you to START

The people in your organisation may still be confused about what you want them to do and how they are supposed to make your strategy happen?  This is the most common problem in implementing strategy.  This problem is compounded because the agreements reached by your leadership team are lost in translation as they percolate through the organisation.  In addition to this you may well experience middle management push-back on strategic initiatives.  Eventually the people who provide the face of your organisation to your clients operate without even a hint of the strategic principles your team sweat bullets to agree.  Kaplan and Norton found that in 95% of the companies they researched, the people delivering the ultimate service knew nothing about the organisation strategy.

You can align your whole organisation around an agreed strategy

This confusion is not necessary.  Your strategy can be understood throughout your organisation.  Your organisation can have a clear, comprehensive message that translates from top to bottom (or bottom to top if you inverted your hierarchy) of your organisation.  Those people who moment by moment make the difference between building up or breaking down your brand can have a clear perception of the overarching strategic objectives.  And they can be engaged in achieving these objectives in real and effective ways.  You can begin by defining the measures by which you will gauge the success of each process in your strategy.

Are you measuring the right things?

30 years ago it was possible to manage with a budget, thumbscrews and garrotte.  Having set the targets you could pressure you people to deliver and like so many tools on an assembly line, get rid of them when they didn’t.  But now the people in your teams carry a critical proportion of your company value.  Their knowledge, skills, relationships and experience have become priceless.  90% of the value of your business is not best measured in financial reports.  ‘People being the greatest asset’ has moved from the picture frame behind the Executive PA into the real world.  Now you not only need the right tools, for success you also need to engage your people in the process of setting them up.  You can begin by agreeing the measures for each component of your strategy.  This is the Balanced Scorecard view of Strategy Map.  Then, working with different groups in your organisation you can engage them in the conversation about what part of the final measure they will deliver, and how.  Here is the Balanced Scorecard view of the Southwest Airlines strategy:stratmap-intro-SWAirlines2.

Engage your people in your strategy through Balanced Scorecard

We only ever commit to what we have created ourselves.  Even the most ardent communications programme can miss the mark.  How then can you preserve the message as each party creates their detailed plan?  You can begin by finalising the measures used to gauge the success of your strategy.  These should measure outcomes as well as the lead activities you will use to create the outcomes.  Sales per month is an outcome, a lag measure.  Number of outbound calls per day is a lead measure.

Cascade the objectives, measures and targets through the levels in your organisation.  Each of these conversations is an opportunity to challenge and coach the people or teams who are going to take on the delivery.  These negotiations are opportunities for people to take up their empowerment and engage with your strategy.

Manage the initiatives.  You are likely to have objectives on your Balanced Scorecard that are not fully being met.  You may then identify the initiative required fulfil this requirement.  These initiatives can be translated into detailed plans of action to be managed by staff.  You may wish to manage large pieces of work as formal projects.

Give us a call if you need a hand

Stephen has been using Strategy Map and Balanced Scorecard since the turn of the century to shape and focus the strategic delivery in large organisations.  Send an email from this site to discuss how he can help you with your strategy challenges.