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The Strategy Map

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Mapping the Path to Success

Amidst the intricate puzzle of organizational strategy, the Strategy Map emerges as a guiding compass. Developed by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, this visual tool provides organizations with a structured approach to translate their mission and vision into tangible objectives and metrics. In today's dynamic landscape, marked by rapid technological evolution, shifting consumer preferences, and the need for sustainable growth, the Strategy Map remains a critical tool to align various organizational elements towards unified strategic goals.

The Strategy Map, at its core, paints a picture of the organization's strategy by focusing on four key perspectives:

  1. Financial Perspective: Defines the financial performance measures that indicate if the organization's strategy contributes to bottom-line improvements.

  2. Customer Perspective: Identifies target customer segments and measures of success in those segments.

  3. Internal Process Perspective: Highlights the critical operational areas where excellence is required to meet customer and financial objectives.

  4. Learning and Growth Perspective: Focuses on the organization's people and infrastructure to support and drive improvements in the first three areas.

Dive into the depths of the Strategy Map, and chart your course to strategic success.


The Strategy Map offers a plethora of advantages:

  • Holistic View: Provides a comprehensive view of the organization's strategy across multiple dimensions.

  • Alignment: Ensures that all parts of the organization are working towards common objectives.

  • Focus: Helps organizations prioritize initiatives and investments based on strategic objectives.

  • Communication: Offers a visual representation that can be easily communicated and understood across the organization.

  • Performance Measurement: Ties strategy to metrics, enabling continuous monitoring and improvement.

When to use

The Strategy Map shines brightly:

  1. Strategic Planning: To translate mission and vision statements into actionable objectives.

  2. Performance Management: To align individual and team goals with organizational strategy.

  3. Change Initiatives: To communicate the strategic rationale behind major organizational changes.

  4. Stakeholder Communication: To provide stakeholders, including investors, a clear view of the organization's strategic priorities.

  5. Resource Allocation: To ensure investments and initiatives align with strategic objectives.

OD Application

Strategy Map: Sculpting Pathways to Well-being and Prosperity in Organizations

In the vast universe of strategic management tools, the Strategy Map emerges as a luminous guide, offering organizations a visual representation of their strategic objectives and the causal relationships between them. Originating from the balanced scorecard methodology, it provides a coherent structure to align diverse organizational activities with the overarching strategy. As we journey through the intricate pathways of the Strategy Map, we will unveil its potential to amplify organizational "Well-being" and "Prosperity."

Elevating Organizational Well-being with the Strategy Map

Crafting a Culture of Alignment and Purpose:The Strategy Map, with its visual representation of strategic objectives, fosters a culture where all members understand the broader organizational vision and see how their individual roles contribute to this grand narrative. This alignment cultivates a sense of purpose, belonging, and motivation.

Social Psychology and Collaborative Execution:By delineating clear strategic pathways and their interconnections, the Strategy Map encourages cross-functional collaboration. Understanding these interdependencies promotes teamwork, reduces silos, and fosters a holistic approach to strategy execution.

Empowerment Through Clarity and Direction:The visual nature of the Strategy Map ensures that strategic objectives are not just abstract concepts but tangible goals with clear trajectories. This clarity empowers individuals, providing them with a clear direction and a roadmap for their efforts.

Steering Organizational Prosperity with the Strategy Map

Strategic Cohesion and Organizational Agility:The Strategy Map ensures that diverse organizational initiatives are cohesively aligned with the overall strategy. This alignment, coupled with a clear understanding of causal relationships, equips organizations with the agility to adapt and pivot in response to changing environments.

Operational Excellence through Balanced Perspectives:Drawing from the balanced scorecard methodology, the Strategy Map emphasizes a balanced view of organizational performance, considering financial, customer, internal process, and learning & growth perspectives. This holistic view ensures operational excellence across all facets of the organization.

Sustained Growth through Continuous Learning:The learning & growth perspective of the Strategy Map emphasizes the importance of continuous development, innovation, and adaptability. By prioritizing these elements, organizations ensure they are primed for sustained growth and future challenges.

Discerning the Alignment: Is the Strategy Map the Navigational Compass?

While the Strategy Map offers a panoramic view of strategic objectives and their interconnections, its alignment with an organization's unique context, challenges, and aspirations is pivotal. Here's where the Strategy Map proves invaluable:

  • Complex Strategic Landscapes: For organizations navigating intricate strategic terrains with multiple objectives and initiatives, the Strategy Map offers clarity and direction.

  • Stakeholder Alignment: In scenarios where alignment between diverse stakeholders is crucial for strategic success, the visual nature of the Strategy Map resonates powerfully.

  • Operational Synergy: For organizations aiming for synergy between diverse operational units, the interconnected pathways of the Strategy Map provide a robust framework.

However, for startups or organizations with singular, focused objectives, the comprehensive nature of the Strategy Map might be more than what's needed. In such cases, a simpler strategic tool might suffice.

Tailoring and Navigating the Strategy Map

To harness the transformative essence of the Strategy Map, it must resonate with the organization's unique strategic tapestry. A roadmap for OD consultants:

  • Engaging Introduction: Commence by elucidating the principles of the Strategy Map, emphasizing the importance of visual strategic alignment and the balanced perspectives.

  • Facilitate Collaborative Workshops: Organize sessions where teams collaboratively map out their strategic objectives, ensuring a comprehensive understanding and alignment with the broader organizational strategy.

  • Continuous Monitoring and Refinement: Offer relentless support, emphasizing the importance of continuous learning, adaptation, and refinement of the Strategy Map based on feedback and changing environments.

  • Feedback Mechanisms: Establish channels for feedback, enabling teams to share insights, challenges, and suggestions related to their strategic journey.

Sensing the Transformation: The Strategy Map in Action

The transformative essence of the Strategy Map, when deeply integrated into organizational strategies, can be palpably sensed across various levels:

  • Individual Level: Enhanced clarity of purpose, a deep sense of alignment with the broader organizational vision, and empowerment through clear strategic direction.

  • Team Level: Cohesive strategic execution, mutual understanding of cross-functional dependencies, and a collective sense of purpose and direction.

  • Organizational Level: Strategic agility rooted in visual alignment, operational excellence through a balanced approach, and a culture championing continuous learning, adaptability, and sustained growth.

The Strategy Map, with its visual orchestration of strategic objectives, offers organizations a compass to navigate the multifaceted terrains of strategy execution. It champions the cause of alignment, collaboration, and balanced performance. For organizations poised at the crossroads of well-being and prosperity, the Strategy Map stands as a guiding beacon, illuminating the pathways to a cohesive, agile, and thriving future.


Healthcare: Improving Patient Care

A large hospital system employed a Strategy Map to enhance patient care. They identified key financial objectives, targeted patient demographics, critical care processes, and necessary training initiatives. The Strategy Map provided a clear roadmap, resulting in improved patient satisfaction scores and financial performance.

Outcome: Enhanced patient care, increased patient satisfaction, and improved financial performance.

Technology: Software as a Service (SaaS) Expansion

A SaaS provider used the Strategy Map to plan its market expansion. The map laid out financial goals, identified key customer segments, highlighted product development priorities, and underscored employee training needs. This strategic alignment facilitated a successful market expansion.

Outcome: Increased market share, improved product offerings, and a skilled workforce.

Non-Profit: Community Engagement

A non-profit aiming to bolster community engagement employed a Strategy Map. They outlined financial sustainability goals, identified critical community segments, streamlined outreach processes, and emphasized volunteer training. The Strategy Map ensured cohesive efforts, leading to increased community impact.

Outcome: Greater community engagement, more impactful projects, and enhanced donor support.

Facilitator Notes

How to Introduce the Strategy Map

Start by emphasizing the importance of a clear, aligned strategy in today's complex business environment. Introduce the Strategy Map as a tool that visually represents an organization's strategy across multiple dimensions.

Sample Introduction Script

"In the dynamic world of business, a clear strategy is paramount. But how do we ensure that our strategy is well-understood, aligned, and actionable across the organization? Enter the Strategy Map—a visual representation that translates our mission and vision into tangible objectives across financial, customer, internal process, and learning dimensions. Let's embark on this strategic journey together."

Helpful Facilitator Questions

  1. How does your organization currently communicate its strategy?

  2. Can you identify key metrics tied to each of the four perspectives in your organization?

  3. How does your organization ensure alignment between strategic objectives and day-to-day operations?

  4. How often does your organization review and adjust its Strategy Map?

  5. Can you identify any gaps or overlaps in your current strategic objectives?

Steering Through Strategic Challenges

Embarking on the journey of strategic mapping may unveil challenges—be it aligning diverse teams or ensuring consistent communication. Encourage a culture of open dialogue, allowing stakeholders to voice concerns and provide insights. Remember, the aim is to build a Strategy Map that resonates with the entire organization, ensuring collective buy-in and commitment.

Success Indicators: Navigating Strategy with the Map

Successful implementation of the Strategy Map manifests when:

  1. Unified Direction: The organization moves cohesively towards its strategic objectives.

  2. Informed Decisions: Organizational decisions align with the strategic priorities outlined in the map.

  3. Continuous Monitoring: Regular reviews of performance metrics tied to the map's objectives.

  4. Stakeholder Buy-in: Clear understanding and commitment to the strategy across all levels of the organization.

  5. Adaptive Strategy: The ability to adjust and refine the Strategy Map based on changing business dynamics and feedback.

Deep Dive

Related Theories

Balanced Scorecard (Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton) Field: Business Strategy

An integrated strategic performance system that aligns business activities to the vision and strategy, complementing the Strategy Map's perspectives.

Blue Ocean Strategy (W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne) Field: Business Strategy

Focuses on creating uncontested market space, providing insights on strategic differentiation which can be mapped on the Strategy Map.

Porter's Five Forces (Michael E. Porter) Field: Business Strategy

A tool to analyze industry competition, which can inform the Strategy Map's customer and internal process perspectives.


  1. How does the Strategy Map align with other strategic tools used in your organization?

  2. Can you identify any potential conflicts between different objectives on your Strategy Map?

  3. How can the Strategy Map be used to foster innovation in the organization?

  4. How does your organization ensure that the Strategy Map remains relevant amidst changing business dynamics?

  5. In what ways can the Strategy Map be improved to better serve your organization's needs?


Here are five highly relevant, intellectually stimulating, and practical research questions:

  1. How does the Strategy Map influence organizational agility in rapidly changing industries?

  2. What role does organizational culture play in the successful implementation of the Strategy Map?

  3. How can digital technologies enhance the visualization and adaptability of the Strategy Map?

  4. What impact does leadership alignment have on the effectiveness of the Strategy Map?

  5. How can the Strategy Map be integrated with other strategic frameworks for a comprehensive strategy approach?


  1. "The Strategy-Focused Organization" by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton The foundational text provides an in-depth exploration of the Strategy Map and its integration with the Balanced Scorecard.

  2. "Good Strategy Bad Strategy" by Richard Rumelt Rumelt's insights into the essence of strategy can inform the development and refinement of a Strategy Map.

  3. "Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works" by A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin A deep dive into strategic decision-making, offering insights that can complement the Strategy Map's objectives.


The Strategy Map, a beacon in the realm of organizational strategy, provides a clear path towards achieving strategic objectives. As organizations navigate the intricate terrains of the business world, this tool serves as a guiding compass, ensuring alignment, focus, and clarity. Embark on this strategic expedition, and let the Strategy Map chart your course to success.

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