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A Strategy Map Template For Medium-Sized Companies
Here are the four perspectives you’ll find on a strategy map template, so you know what to include.
Strategy mapping is a popular method for keeping you focused on your organization’s priorities. In a growing business, there are many different opportunities to pursue—a strategy map helps everyone in the organization concentrate on the same plan, so strategy execution is easier.
Medium-sized companies are ripe for strategy maps because they have professional management, whereas smaller organizations have entrepreneurial management. When your organization has evolved to the point where there are clearly defined professional management roles, it’s a good time to look at how these roles fit together and align with your strategy.
Here’s an example that may or may not resonate with your situation:
When you have a smaller organization, you tend to do a lot of custom work for your clients—like custom services or custom manufacturing, for example. As you grow, it’s typical to start standardizing your work processes into a few standard areas. At that point, the challenge comes when clients ask for custom work—do you do that work, or do you stay focused on your primary areas of choice (which are scalable for a medium-sized organization)?
In order to grow a medium or large organization, you need to change your behavior (like that tendency to perform custom work in the scenario above), and a strategy map might be just the thing you need to keep you focused and on track.
A Strategy Map Template For Medium-Sized Companies
A for-profit strategy map typically has four perspectives: Financial, Customer, Internal, and Learning & Growth. Here’s a closer look at what each of those perspectives should hold:
This is where you keep your financial goals. You’ll want to be able to answer this question: “If we succeed, how will we look to our donors and shareholders?” In our example organization (represented above), we’ve kept it simple. Perhaps our primary goal is to grow our profits. This is driven by two other goals: manage costs and grow revenue. Having three financial perspective goals is simple and fairly typical. Your organization may want to consider being more specific about your goals, like “double revenue in three years” or “manage overhead expenses.”
This is the section of your strategy map template where you think carefully about the value that you deliver to your customers. Try to answer this question: “To achieve our vision, how must we look to our customers?” You may list things like “quality of product,” “knowledgeable service,” or “ease of use.” Try not to list everything—just the top three or four things.
From there, consider your customer strategy. Are you trying to grow revenue from your current customers or grow the number of customers? You might say both, but it’s important to be very clear about your strategy here. Some organizations put their customer objectives in the voice of the customer, such as “X has the best service” or “we view X as a partner.” Other companies may also list the basic customer needs, like “competitive pricing,” “quality offering,” or “great warranty.” You may not measure these, but it is important to communicate them on the map.
These are the internal processes or things that your organization must do well in order to make your customers happy (and manage your expenses). Many organizations now use themes in this perspective in order to better group their internal processes. Here are some commonly used themes:
- Innovation—This could be product, process, or service innovation and is the lifeblood of your long-term company future. Not many businesses and industries look the same as they did 25 (or even five!) years ago. So, what do you need to invest in to ensure long-term organizational success? How will you innovate? Put two or three objectives in this section.
- Customer management—Think about the internal processes you have that will keep your customers happy. Perhaps this is how you support your customers or how you listen to them for feedback on the next generation of interaction. Maybe you’re migrating them from one platform to another (paper vs. electronic, for example). These processes—along with your innovations—all link to the customer perspective and outcomes that you listed above.
- Operational excellence—Think about managing your own business and becoming more cost effective. Are you reducing waste or improving output? Perhaps you’re ready to restructure your operations for efficiency’s sake. Keep in mind that your customers rarely care about this perspective, so this theme may link directly to the financial goal of managing costs.
Learning & Growth
This is the perspective on your strategy map template where you capture your human resources and look at things from a “people” perspective. Perhaps two of these goals might be to “build engineering talent” and “institute greater accountability” throughout the organization. You’ll want to consider what skills you need that are related to your strategy, what kind of company culture you value, and whether there are any tools or resources you need for your staff. This could get complex quickly, so try to capture it in the simplest terms possible. If you are worried about the retirement of your engineers, put this skillset in your strategy map. If you have just changed your accountability or implemented a new performance management process, add an objective about that here.
A strategy map is an amazing communication device that serves some excellent purposes. It allows your organization to provide focus internally and show your customers and investors where you’re on track. But it can be even more powerful when used as the first step toward a Balanced Scorecard (BSC). If you’re ready to look at building a Balanced Scorecard strategy map, the free strategy execution toolkit below is the best place to start. Additionally, take a look at How To Launch Your First Balanced Scorecard, Step By Step for a real-world example of how one company got their scorecard started.