What Is Business Strategy Mapping?

Business strategy mapping is a method of locating and identifying potential business opportunities which may provide more profits for a business or other organization. Strategy mapping evolved from the "balanced scorecard" concept that was first mentioned by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton in a series of articles published by the Harvard Business Review in January and February of 1992. This led to the development of methods to help translate a company's strategy and vision into a quantifiable set of performance measures. Critics of this very popular idea say that it is simply a poor replacement for actual corporate and business leadership.

The claim of the business strategy mapping concept is that smaller, less experienced companies and organizations can beat larger, more experienced corporations with the right business strategy. The key is to get the planning and strategic implementation into a form that communicates this strategy to all the people within the organization. When this business strategy is properly mapped out, the people within an organization can visualize, better understand, and execute it for optimal effect. The ultimate goal of business strategy mapping is to combine marketing, finance, and operational methods to deliver a better product, manufacture it more efficiently, or provide better value to customers and clients.

The basic concept of business strategy mapping is also outlined in Ken Kring's book, Business Strategy Mapping which describes three different groups of people and how they approach the assembly of a jigsaw puzzle. One group starts with all the pieces face down, another with the pieces all facing up, and the third group with the pieces face up but using the picture on the puzzle box as a reference. Kring's contention is the group with the puzzle box lid is more productive, finishes the puzzle faster, and is happier throughout the entire experience. Business strategy mapping helps business people see the image on puzzle box lid for their company and, perhaps more importantly, for their competitors.

According to the business strategy mapping model, a company should spend more time conceptualizing, creating, and getting the strategy map into a tangible, visual form. Then, a business must translate its strategy into an operational language that all within the company can easily understand. The remaining steps in the process include getting everyone up to speed and on board with the business strategy, making the strategy a continuing process, and implementing necessary changes through managerial and executive leadership.


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