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How To Create A Balanced Scorecard (BSC)
Want to know how to create a Balanced Scorecard? Here is the direction and template you need.
Think back to your last strategic planning offsite. (Or think about that big dusty binder on your bookshelf that those crazy expensive strategy consultants “delivered” at the end of their last 8-month strategy consulting engagement.)
What did you decide? Where should you be now? What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? What areas did you focus on? Don’t remember? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Combine the daily firefighting and operational tasks, it’s easy to let strategy slide.
But strategy is critical, and executing that strategy is even more critical. As Harvard Business Review puts it in their article “The Execution Trap,” “A mediocre strategy well executed is better than a great strategy poorly executed.”
That’s where the Balanced Scorecard comes in.
The Balanced Scorecard: A Quick Summary
If you’re wondering how to create a Balanced Scorecard, then you probably already know the idea behind it, so we’ll keep this section brief.
The Balanced Scorecard (BSC) is a strategic planning and management system that is used extensively in business and industry, government, and nonprofit organizations worldwide to align business activities to the vision and strategy of the organization, improve internal and external communications, and monitor organization performance against strategic goals.
The Balanced Scorecard was developed by Drs. Kaplan and Norton as a performance measurement framework that added non-financial performance measures to traditional financial metrics to give managers and executives a more 'balanced' view of organization. Today, companies have moved beyond simply using a balanced scorecard for measuring company performance. It's a full strategic planning and management system. The “new” balanced scorecard transforms an organization’s strategic plan from a passive document into the "marching orders" for the organization on a daily basis.
Now to the good part…
How To Create A Balanced Scorecard
Here is the three-step process we recommend. As 20-year users of the process and builders of Balanced Scorecard (BSC) software, we know you’ll be able to create a scorecard for yourself by following this process.
- Build Your Purpose Statement.
- Design Your Change Agenda.
- Make a Map.
- Create Great Measures.
- Launch Some Initiatives
A purpose statement clearly communicates how you’ll be different than your competitors, and it should include three different aspects: Objective + Advantage + Scope. Put simply, your purpose statement tells the world what you’re going to do (your objective), how you’re going to win (your advantage), and where you’re going to do it (your scope).
If the purpose statement looks outward, the change agenda looks inward. What do you need to make better in your organization to achieve your purpose statement? What levers can you pull to drive change? Your change agenda is a simple graphical representation of the changes that will occur in your organization as you execute strategy.
Without a map to guide you to your destination, it’s very easy to make lots of wrong turns on your way to strategy execution. A strategy map is a simple, one-page visual representation of your strategic objectives, with cause and effect linkages. It paints a picture of your strategy so everyone can understand it.
Once you have your map, it’s time to think about measures. Measures do two things: They help you manage (understand what’s not working) and they help you motivate (people respond to what’s being measured, even if there’s not compensation tied to it.) Choose the measures that help you drive your strategy.
Initiatives (or projects in regular-person speak) are where your strategy comes to life. What projects do you need to kick off in order to execute this strategy? And, just as important, what things are you going to stop doing in order to focus on your strategy? Keep a close eye on these projects as they will drive your success.
We put together a 41-page toolkit with step-by-step instructions, a running example, and blank pages and tables for you to use. With the toolkit, you’ll be able to create a Balanced Scorecard template from scratch. If you're looking for a more specific resource, we've built out sample strategy maps for the healthcare industry, and we're working on adding other industry-specific resources. Contact us if you're looking for one for your industry.
If you’d like to download the toolkit, click below and it’s all yours.