Sometimes your profits give a narrow view of how well your business is doing. That’s okay for looking at short-term success, but looking at other aspects of your company’s success can help you plan long-term. A strategy map gives you a way to look at your company’s goals and ties into your balanced scorecard. Try using a diagram to plan your growth strategy as you scale your business.
Basics of a Strategy Map
A strategy map lays out your company’s overall objectives. The company-wide strategy appears in a diagram to let you quickly see all the components. Mapping usually relates to the areas in your balanced scorecard. You can adjust categories based on your specific objectives, but common sections include:
- Growth and development
Each section gets a separate row in the diagram. Before you add anything to the rows, create a list of the objectives you want to include, and enter each objective where it makes sense. Examples of objectives include:
- Reducing costs
- Reducing injuries
- Expanding into targeted markets
- Improving manufacturing efficiency
- Improving technology use.
Place each objective inside an oval or rectangle in the corresponding row. Reducing costs goes in the finance row, becoming an industry expert goes under growth and developmen and so on, with multiple objectives in each category.
The map can show relationships between objectives with arrows. You might draw an arrow from improving customer service to increased profits since better customer service can earn you more money. Those arrows help visualize relationships, which can help decide where to focus your attention.
Benefits of Using a Strategy Map
A strategy map pulls together your objectives and categories to create a useful chart to guide your operations. You get a visual representation of those objectives in a simple format that all employees can understand. It’s a document anyone can access. Employees see how their roles impact the company’s overall business activities to achieve those higher goals.
The strategy map gives you a way to monitor your progress toward your company-wide goals. When you break down your company mission into smaller, concrete objectives, you have a better idea of what you need to do to meet them. You can evaluate where your company currently stands toward meeting each objective and where you need to improve.
The structure of your strategy map also lets you see clearly the relationships between different objectives or activities. For example, it can make it clear that your sales numbers are only part of the equation. As you see how the different pieces interact, you have a visual to spark ideas on how to boost your profits. As you use your strategy map to see the big picture for your entire business plan going forward, you’re in a good place to start making big decisions.
How to Use the Diagram
It’s tempting to create the strategy map yourself, but getting other employees involved can give you different perspectives and help create a more robust result. Limiting the map development to top management makes your other employees feel left out of the strategy. You get more buy-in when you pull in all of your employees to provide feedback and input.
A strategy map isn’t a one-time activity that you can do and forget. It needs to be an integral part of planning your business activities. Make sure every employee has a copy of the strategy map and understands its purpose. It’s also important to understand that a strategy map is a flexible tool. Your business constantly grows and changes. Your objectives and approach to achieving them needs to grow and change, too.
Put your company’s visions onto paper in a neatly organized strategy map. This visual aid keeps all employees informed on where your company is going and how to get there.