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A Strategy Map is a clear visual representation of the major strategic objectives of an organization, usually based on a framework or model like the balanced scorecard. This representation is useful for communicating the organization’s strategy in a digestible way to employees at all levels of the organization. In this way, each employee can clearly see where their role fits in to the map and how they can help the organization achieve its larger goals.
To create a Strategy Map, each strategic objective should be grouped and placed into a topic based on the theme. Because the map is a visual representation, it can be useful to determine specific shapes or graphics for each theme and use these to denote the objectives within each.
Think carefully about the strategic objectives, since having too many will clutter the map and make the overall message difficult to understand. A Strategy Map can be used to plot a plan for financial growth, market to a new customer segment, roll out new innovations, and develop new business processes. In addition to these basic elements, the following features are also useful when building Strategy Maps:
Arrows: Arrows can be used to connect the strategic objectives in one of two ways:
Themes: A strategic theme is similar to the larger goals set forth in a strategy. However, they differ from these goals in that their purpose is not to group strategic objectives into categories representative of the goals. Rather, the goal of using themes should be to vertically combine the sub-elements of the larger goals with a broader connection. This will serve your organization by demonstrating the connections between the larger goals. These themes should be tailored to your organization.
Once it is completed, a Strategy Map can then be used to create the organization’s actual strategic plan. Additionally, the clear format of the strategy map makes it easy to identify relevant initiatives, programs, goals, etc. for which measures need to be developed in order to assess the success of the strategic plan once it is implemented.
Overall, Strategy Maps are a valuable tool for reporting the benefit of intangible process, relationships, etc. that help to foster competitive advantage.
Because they require a visually appealing format, when creating your Strategy Map, consider using graphics and other visual elements. Many teams build their maps as presentations, but the goal is to keep it simple, ideally keeping the map to a single page.
Unlike most traditional Strategy Mapping techniques, upBOARD’s online Strategy Map online tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s portfolio of other business strategy best practice tools and templates, including:
ADL Matrix, Affinity Diagrams, Baker’s 4 Strategies of Influence, Balanced Scorecard, Benchmarking, Blue Ocean Strategy, Bowman Strategy Clock, Build-Measure-Learn Feedback Loop, CAGE Distance Framework, Competitive Analysis, Competitive Landscape Analysis, Contingency Planning, Core Competence Analysis, Critical Success Factors, Discovery Driven Planning, Five Forces Model, Force Field Analysis, Gap Analysis, GE McKinsey 9-Box Matrix, Go To Market Strategy, Hambrick & Frederickson’s Strategy Diamond, Hedgehog Model, Hook Model of Behavioral Design, Hoshin Planning System, Kay’s Distinctive Capabilities Framework, Kotler’s Five Product Levels Model, Kotler’s Pricing Strategies, Lafley & Martin’s Five Step Strategy Model, McKinsey’s Seven Degrees of Freedom for Growth, Mission Statements, Mullin’s Seven Domains Model, OGSM Framework, Ohmae’s 3-C’s Model, PEST Analysis, Porter’s Diamond, Portfolio Management, Purpose Statements, Pyramid of Purpose, Scenario Planning, Simonson & Rosen’s Influence Mix, SOAR, Strategic Goals, Strategic Roadmap, Strategy Map, Strategy Roadmap, Strategy Uncertainty Map, SWOT Analysis, TOWS Matrix, Triple Bottom Line, USP Analysis, Value Chain Analysis, Value Disciplines Model, Value Net Model, Values Statement, Vision Statements, VRIO Analysis, and Weisbord’s Six-Box Model.