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Strategy maps

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A strategy map is a tool to help stakeholders visualise and get hooked into the strategy.

The purpose of a strategy map

Take a look at Leeds University Strategy Map. There is great value in having, on one page, a visual representation of the strategy (the map). It shows how all elements of the strategy fit together; how all of the themes, initiatives and priorities sit in relation to each other and how they combine. 

Each theme will have its own strategic objectives, measures and stretch targets that can be clearly communicated to staff. Units and teams may well have their own strategy map, linked into the overall one. But it's important to make sure that everyone is aligned and that strategy is translated into the day to day.

How can we create our own strategy map?

Most of the tools and discussions in this strategy section have been about formulating strategy and pulling it together into a plan. A strategy map is another way of presenting your strategy. There are some important features:

  • a focus on the overall purpose - the vision, mission and values - usually found at the top of a strategy map to govern or headline everything that follows
  • a focus on stakeholders or customers; in the Leeds University map research sponsors and students are given equal weighting, and their needs/expectations are prominently displayed at the top
  • strategic themes group together related objectives - these are shown as vertical slices as they usually cut across the organisation; you would expect different teams in different parts of the organisation to be able to contribute to achieving each theme (each in their own way)
  • each theme would have its own set of objectives, measures and targets, as well as initiatives or projects that cut across the organisation.

Further reading

Robert S Kaplan and David P Norton have written extensively on strategy maps.

Page last edited Sep 13, 2017

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