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Business Process Management and the Balanced Scorecard: Using Processes as Strategic Drivers by Ralph F. Smith

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Chapter 4. Strategy Maps

The strategy map is a tool popularized by Robert Kaplan and David Norton in their series of Harvard Business Review articles and books focused on strategy and the Balanced Scorecard. The map is the next step in the strategic process, taking all the data gathered during the strategic assessment and using it to develop a one-page blueprint that articulates the strategy of the organization. In this chapter the definition, development, and utilization of the map will be presented.

Definition

A strategy map is a tool that enables an organization to articulate its strategy through a series of cross-functional cause-and-effect relationships. There are several important concepts embedded in the definition. The first is the idea that the map helps articulate strategy. Many organizations have a strategic plan thick enough to resemble an encyclopedia. Giving this plan to a stakeholder (e.g., manager, employee, board member, customer) to help them understand the direction of the company is a fruitless exercise. It is extremely difficult to understand such a document unless the stakeholder has tremendous interest, a thorough appetite for detail, and a lot of time on their hands. The strategy map, however, clearly illustrates the main strategic themes of the organization and how they are linked together. This enables the organization to effectively tell the story of its strategy in a relatively short period of time.

Another key element of the definition is the cross-functional ...

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