Mapping the Leadership System to Strategy
One of the simplest yet most powerful tools to integrate strategy development with operations is a strategy map. Think about it, most strategic plans end up being 25-50 pages of text with a few nice photos or graphics thrown in for artistic elegance. But does anyone really expect front line workers, boards, mid-level managers, or even executives to actually read a document of this size, digest its meaning for them personally and their colleagues, and then develop action plans that are clearly aligned? Doubtful. A strategy map solves this.
The strategy map is a one page visual summary of strategy and provides a picture of the cause and effect relationships that must be in place for strategic success. Strategy maps communicate your mission, vision, and strategy – visually! One client called it – “deceptively simple”. A strategy map solves the problem of how to communicate strategy to staff, stakeholders, partners, funders, constituents, and customers.
Imagine walking into an office work room and seeing a poster sized strategy map on a wall. Or walk into an office full of cubicles. Every cubicle has the strategy map on the front door of the credenza. The value is that everyone, can know exactly what part they play in executing mission, vision, and strategy.
Recently we conducted an assessment on a K-12 education agency. One of the questions we asked teachers, administrators, and principals was this…. What is the district’s vision? Unfortunately, of the 100 plus people we asked, no one could say it correctly or even knew what it was. The reason? It was neatly tucked away in a beautifully bound book.
Many of our clients, who were not interested in a strategy map, at the conclusion have said, the strategy map was the most important thing you delivered for us.
The following is an example of a strategy map for a Community Action Partnership organization. Annually it provides more than $50 million in services. This map summarizes in one page a 25 page strategic plan. The real value was seen more than a year later – most offices had it pasted to office cubicles.
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