What is it?

A Strategy Map is a visual tool used in strategic management to communicate and illustrate an organization’s strategy in a clear and concise manner. They are often used in conjunction with the Balanced Scorecard framework, which helps organizations align their strategic objectives with key performance indicators (KPIs).

Here are some key points about strategy maps:

  1. Visual Representation: Strategy maps are typically presented as a diagram or visual representation that shows the cause-and-effect relationships between various strategic objectives and goals within an organization.
  2. Objectives and Perspectives: They usually consist of four key perspectives:
    • Financial Perspective: Focusing on financial goals and objectives.
    • Customer Perspective: Addressing customer needs and satisfaction.
    • Internal Process Perspective: Identifying critical internal processes.
    • Learning and Growth Perspective: Highlighting employee development and organizational capabilities.
  3. Cause-and-Effect Relationships: Strategy maps show how objectives in one perspective contribute to objectives in other perspectives. This helps organizations understand how achieving certain goals impacts overall performance.
  4. Alignment: They help align an organization’s activities and resources with its strategic goals, ensuring that everyone in the organization understands their role in achieving those goals.
  5. Communication: Strategy maps serve as a communication tool, making it easier for employees at all levels to understand the organization’s strategy and their part in its execution.
  6. Performance Measurement: They are often used in conjunction with the Balanced Scorecard to develop KPIs and measure performance against strategic objectives.
  7. Adaptability: Strategy maps can be updated and adapted as an organization’s strategy evolves or in response to changes in the business environment.

How does it work?

A strategy map works by visually representing an organization’s strategic objectives, the cause-and-effect relationships between those objectives, and how they align with the organization’s overall mission and vision. Here’s how it works:

  1. Identify Strategic Objectives: The first step is to identify the key strategic objectives that are essential for achieving the organization’s mission and vision. These objectives are typically categorized into the four perspectives mentioned earlier: financial, customer, internal process, and learning and growth.
  2. Establish Cause-and-Effect Relationships: Once the strategic objectives are identified, you need to determine how these objectives are interrelated. This involves establishing cause-and-effect relationships between them. For example, how improving internal processes can lead to better customer satisfaction, which in turn can lead to improved financial performance.
  3. Visual Representation: Create a visual representation of the strategy map using a diagram or graphic. Typically, strategy maps are presented as a series of connected boxes or arrows, with each box representing a strategic objective and arrows indicating the cause-and-effect relationships between them. The objectives in each perspective are arranged from top to bottom in the map.
  4. Alignment: Ensure that the objectives in each perspective are aligned with the objectives in other perspectives. This alignment demonstrates how achieving objectives in one perspective contributes to the achievement of objectives in other perspectives, ultimately leading to the realization of the organization’s mission and vision.
  5. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): For each strategic objective, define specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will be used to measure progress and success. These KPIs provide a quantifiable way to track performance and determine whether objectives are being met.
  6. Cascade Objectives: Often, objectives are cascaded down through the organization. This means that high-level strategic objectives are translated into more specific objectives and action plans at lower levels within the organization, ensuring that everyone is working toward the same strategic goals.
  7. Communication and Execution: Use the strategy map as a communication tool to ensure that all employees understand the organization’s strategy and their role in achieving it. It serves as a visual guide to keep everyone focused on the strategic priorities.
  8. Monitoring and Adaptation: Continuously monitor performance against the KPIs and periodically review and adapt the strategy map as needed to reflect changes in the business environment or shifts in organizational priorities.

In summary, a strategy map works by visually representing an organization’s strategy, showing the relationships between strategic objectives, and providing a clear framework for aligning activities, measuring performance, and achieving the organization’s mission and vision. It is a dynamic tool that helps organizations translate strategy into action.


Let’s use a chocolate shop as an example to explain various concepts.

  1. Menu:
    • In a chocolate shop, the menu is a list of all the chocolates and other items available for customers to order. It includes different types of chocolates like Margherita, Pepperoni, and Veggie, as well as sides like garlic bread and salads.
  2. Ordering:
    • Customers can place their orders by either visiting the shop in person, calling the shop for takeout, or using an online ordering system. They specify their choices from the menu, such as the type and size of the chocolate, additional toppings, and any sides.
  3. Ingredients:
    • Ingredients are the raw materials used to make the chocolates. These include items like dough, cheese, tomato sauce, vegetables, and meats. Quality ingredients are essential for making delicious chocolates.
  4. Cooking:
    • Once an order is placed, the kitchen staff prepares the chocolate by assembling the chosen ingredients on the dough. The chocolate is then cooked in an oven until it’s ready to serve. Cooking time varies depending on the type and size of the chocolate.
  5. Service:
    • The service in a chocolate shop involves how well the staff treats customers. It includes taking orders, serving food, refilling drinks, and addressing any customer needs or concerns.
  6. Billing:
    • After the meal, customers receive a bill that details the cost of the items they ordered. In some shops, this can be a paper receipt, while others may provide an electronic bill.
  7. Payment:
    • Customers settle their bills by paying for their meal. This can be done in various ways, such as cash, credit card, debit card, or mobile payment apps.
  8. Feedback:
    • Chocolate shops often seek feedback from customers to improve their services. This can be done through comment cards, online reviews, or direct conversations with the staff.
  9. Delivery:
    • Some chocolate shops offer delivery services, where they bring the ordered food to the customer’s doorstep. This typically involves delivery drivers and a system for tracking and delivering orders efficiently.
  10. Takeout:
    • Customers can choose to order food for takeout, which means they pick up their orders from the shop and enjoy their meal elsewhere, like at home or a park.
  11. Specials and Promotions:
    • Chocolate shops often run specials and promotions, such as “buy one get one free” deals, to attract more customers and increase sales during specific times or events.
  12. Health and Safety:
    • Chocolate shops must adhere to health and safety regulations to ensure the food is prepared and served safely. This includes proper food handling, sanitation, and compliance with health department guidelines.
  13. Staff Roles:
    • Various staff members have different roles in a chocolate shop, such as chefs, waitstaff, cashiers, delivery drivers, and managers, each contributing to the overall operation of the establishment.

By using the example of a chocolate shop, you can better understand how these concepts apply in a real-world context, making them easier to grasp and relate to.