Strategy Map Path to Prosperity

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Strategy is a tool whose purpose is the realization of leadership’s intentions. Having a Strategy is good. However, a strategy created and placed on the shelf until the next planning cycle is simply a waste of time. To have value, strategy must be operationalized throughout the enterprise. There is an old saying “Strategy without Tactics is a Daydream, Tactics without Strategy is a Nightmare”.

A Strategy Map (1) is one path to achieve strategic goals. The strategy map focuses attention on the creation, measurement and review of objectives in light of leadership intent within the context and capabilities of the business. It maps out a plan starting with your team (People) and works its way through systems and processes (Process) to your customer (Purpose) and the resulting achievement of goals (Payoff). There are variations on this theme, but this is the basic outline. Let’s look at the Four Perspectives found in a Strategy Map and understand how they support each other.

People: Learning and Development
Within any business, the primary asset is the team. Without people, there is no purpose, no products, and no payoff. From the Learning and Development perspective, we focus on identifying skills, obtaining talent, creating abilities and building the knowledge base and attitudes required to support business systems and improve processes. Expectations, when properly developed, allow people to deliver. Expectations coupled with a performance feedback loop sets people up to excel. A trained and prepared team enables the business to maximize the potential found in business systems and processes.

Process: Systems and Processes
A business delivers value within the context of a structure. From the Systems and Process perspective, we address both the systems that enable processes and the processes that enable people to create value. Systems are the means used to control processes. Processes are the means used to accomplish work. Effective systems support business capabilities and create an environment for team members to deploy their abilities and deliver to customers. Broken systems will defeat good people and efficient processes every time. Using effective systems and efficient processes, your team serves customers with the least amount of waste.

Purpose: Service and Product delivery to the Customer
At the core of every business is the concept of service. From a Customer perspective, products are only part of a larger picture; other aspects of the value proposition include communication, relationships, on-time delivery, quality, and flexibility. Taken as a whole, the customer buys potential but pays for value. Understanding business purpose, capabilities and the value provided to customers allows for goal prioritization and a focused emphasis. People first, operating within the context of a structure of systems and processes allows for the delivery of value to the customer.

Payoff: Performance Measures and Goals
The Payoff enables the existence of the business. With a balanced approach, we have strategic goals, initiatives and measures at each perspective ultimately supporting the delivery of value and attainment of goals. The focusing of integrated activities to prepare people, develop systems and improve processes in order to serve customers results in the effective use of resources and the coordinated achievement of goals. Each perspective supports the next perspective until finally the payoff is realized.

Purpose and Strategy
In the end, having goals, creating priorities and measuring progress is what counts. The Strategy Map is one tool that enables Operational Art (2) within the enterprise. Operational Art is the purposeful translation of strategic goals into a coherent series of tactical missions. With a Strategy Map and the application of Operational Art, your strategy can become the path to prosperity.

(1) See Kaplan and Norton “The Execution Premium: Linking Strategy to Operations for Competitive Advantage”
(2) Operation Art is a PRAXIS ANALYTICS CORE METHODOLOGY centered on translating strategic goals into a coherent series of tactical missions

Jim Myers is the principal and founder of Praxis Analytics, Incorporated. Jim serves as a trusted advisor to business leaders in their quest to operate efficiently, improve continuously and prosper. His background includes two decades working in manufacturing, supply chain, customer service and maintenance management roles within markets that range from capital equipment to aerospace and defense. Jim balanced his practical operations experience with theory and served as the Associate Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management (AGSM) at Willamette University where he led projects to improve school operations and taught graduate courses in Operations and Information Management, Strategy Alignment and Project Management. Early in his career, Jim served in the USMC and credits the big green machine with teaching him the value of leadership, teamwork, quality people, good systems and how to accomplish goals in a resource-constrained environment. He can be reached at

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19023 PA SOBJ Strategy Map Article r2.doc

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