Strategy Map – Guide to Effective Planning and Execution

In today’s dynamic and competitive business environment, organizations need a clear roadmap to achieve their strategic objectives.

This is where a strategy map comes into play. A strategy map is a visual representation of an organization’s strategy, linking its long-term goals with the actions required to achieve them.

Here we provide a detailed overview of strategy maps, their benefits, and how to create one effectively.

What is a Strategy Map?

A strategy map is a strategic planning tool that visually depicts an organization’s strategic objectives, key performance indicators (KPIs), and the cause-and-effect relationships between them.

It provides a clear and concise summary of the organization’s strategy, making it easier for employees at all levels to understand and align their activities accordingly.

Strategy Maps explained in 3 minutes

The Balanced Scorecard Strategy Map

One popular framework used to create strategy maps is the Balanced Scorecard.

Developed by Robert Kaplan and David Norton, the Balanced Scorecard is a performance measurement and management system that translates an organization’s strategy into a comprehensive set of objectives and metrics.

The strategy map serves as the visual representation of the Balanced Scorecard framework.

Benefits of Using a Strategy Map

A strategy map offers numerous benefits for organizations:

  1. Clarity and alignment: A strategy map provides a clear overview of the organization’s strategy, ensuring that all employees understand the goals and how their roles contribute to them.
  2. Engagement and motivation: By clearly illustrating the connection between individual efforts and strategic objectives, a strategy map helps employees feel engaged and motivated to contribute to the organization’s success.
  3. Communication and transparency: Strategy maps facilitate effective communication and transparency across the organization, enabling employees to understand how their work impacts overall performance.
  4. Focused decision-making: With a strategy map, organizations can make more informed and focused decisions by aligning them with the strategic priorities and objectives.
  5. Performance measurement and management: Strategy maps enable organizations to track and measure their performance against strategic goals, helping them identify areas of improvement and make data-driven decisions.

Creating a Strategy Map

To create an effective strategy map, follow these steps:

  1. Define your strategic objectives: Start by clearly articulating your organization’s strategic objectives. These should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  2. Identify cause-and-effect relationships: Determine the cause-and-effect relationships between the strategic objectives. This involves understanding how achieving one objective contributes to the success of others.
  3. Select key performance indicators (KPIs): Choose relevant KPIs for each strategic objective. KPIs should provide measurable indicators of progress toward achieving the objectives.
  4. Map the objectives and KPIs: Use a strategy map template or software to visually represent the strategic objectives, KPIs, and their interdependencies. This will create a clear and intuitive visualization of your strategy.
  5. Cascade the strategy map: Share the strategy map with employees at all levels, ensuring they understand how their work aligns with the organization’s strategic objectives.
  6. Monitor and adjust: Continuously monitor the performance against the identified KPIs and make adjustments to the strategy map as needed. This ensures that the strategy remains relevant and responsive to changing circumstances.

Strategy Map Examples

To provide a better understanding, here are a few examples of strategy maps:

  1. Publix Strategy Map: Publix, a popular supermarket chain, created a strategy map that aligns its strategic objectives with customer satisfaction, employee engagement, operational efficiency, and financial performance.
  2. Military Strategy Map: The military often uses strategy maps to illustrate the objectives, tactics, and operational goals required to achieve success in a particular mission or campaign.
  3. Content Strategy Map: Content-focused organizations use strategy maps to align their content creation, distribution, and engagement objectives with their overall business goals.

These examples highlight the versatility of strategy maps across different industries and sectors.


A strategy map is a powerful tool that helps organizations effectively plan and execute their strategic objectives.

By visually representing the cause-and-effect relationships between goals and aligning them with key performance indicators, a strategy map fosters clarity, engagement, and performance measurement.

Creating a strategy map requires careful consideration of objectives, KPIs, and their interdependencies.

With the right approach, a strategy map can serve as a valuable guide to success in today’s complex business landscape.

Related: Forecasting and Strategy Techniques

FAQs – Strategy Maps

1. What is a strategy map?

A strategy map is a visual tool that provides a clear and comprehensive view of an organization’s strategic objectives, initiatives, and the cause-and-effect relationships between them.

It is designed to communicate the organization’s strategy in a concise and easily understandable manner.

2. What is the purpose of using a strategy map?

The purpose of using a strategy map is to align various aspects of an organization, such as goals, objectives, initiatives, and key performance indicators (KPIs), with its overall strategy.

It helps translate the strategy into actionable steps and provides a framework for monitoring progress and making informed decisions.

3. How does a strategy map help employees feel engaged?

A strategy map helps employees feel engaged by providing them with a clear understanding of how their individual roles and contributions fit into the larger strategic picture.

It shows the link between their work and the organization’s goals, which can increase motivation, alignment, and a sense of purpose.

4. What is the relationship between a strategy map and the balanced scorecard?

The balanced scorecard is a performance measurement framework that complements the strategy map.

While the strategy map visualizes the cause-and-effect relationships among strategic objectives, the balanced scorecard provides a set of metrics and targets to measure progress toward those objectives.

Together, they form a comprehensive approach to strategic management.

5. Can you provide an example of a strategy map?

Here’s a simplified example of a strategy map:

Balanced Scorecard (With A Step-by-Step Example) | From A Business Professor

In this example, the four perspectives of the balanced scorecard (financial, customer, internal processes, and learning and growth) are represented, along with the strategic objectives, initiatives, and the cause-and-effect relationships between them.

6. Is there strategy map software available?

Yes, there are several strategy map software tools available that can help create, visualize, and manage strategy maps.

Some popular options include BSC Designer, Strategy Execution Software, and QuickScore.

7. How can I create a strategy map?

To create a strategy map, you can follow these steps:

  1. Clarify your organization’s mission, vision, and strategic objectives.
  2. Identify the cause-and-effect relationships between the objectives.
  3. Determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure progress.
  4. Arrange the objectives, initiatives, and KPIs in a logical and visually appealing manner.
  5. Use software or tools to create a digital strategy map or draw it manually using templates and diagrams.

8. Are there strategy map templates available?

Yes, there are various strategy map templates available that can serve as starting points for creating your own strategy map.

These templates often come with predefined categories, perspectives, and examples to guide you in structuring your strategic objectives effectively.

9. What are some popular applications of strategy maps?

Strategy maps find applications in various domains, including business, education, nonprofit organizations, and government sectors.

They are commonly used for strategic planning, performance management, communicating strategy to stakeholders, and guiding decision-making processes.

10. How does a strategy map relate to content strategy?

While a strategy map primarily focuses on an organization’s overall strategic objectives and initiatives, a content strategy map specifically addresses the planning and management of content-related activities.

Content strategy maps provide a visual representation of content goals, target audiences, channels, and metrics to ensure effective content creation and distribution aligned with the organization’s broader strategy.

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