What a Strategic Scorecard Is and Why You Should Care

By Melissa Raffoni

Ask any CEO, “What is your company's strategy?" and I bet you’ll get a variety of answers depending on that person's definition of the word strategy – ranging from Michael Porter’s classic teachings on the “barriers to entry","differentiation", and "focused trade-offs"...to Webster's basic definition of simply having a plan to achieve a particular goal.   

Define it as you will, my intent in this post is to encourage you to go beyond the definition and understand the importance of building a Strategic Scorecard to support your strategy.

What is a Strategic Scorecard? It's a document—a communication tool —that clearly lists carefully articulated strategic goals with associated measures of success and accountable owners. 

 Ideally, a Strategic Scorecard is:

  • On one page
  • Built through the collaboration of the company's leadership
  • Focused on strategy not the day-to-day business operations or "business as usual" activities
  • Clever, unique and grounded in solid strategic principals aimed at helping the company to succeed in the market
  • Worked on with regular cadence during a dedicated strategy meeting

What can it do for you? A Strategic Scorecard accomplishes a lot of objectives, but three important ones include:

1)   It acts as one of the tools for building alignment and agreement amongst your company's leadership and appropriate level of staff.

2)   It provides a basis for communication, reflection and problem solving, inspiring questions like…Did we get the Strategic Goal right? Why are we not on track? What do we need to do differently to get on track? Should we double down? 

3)   It brings rigor and discipline to teams, helping them to focus on "working on the business" in the midst of their busy day-to-day work lives.

Creating a strong Strategic Scorecard can be a challenge for teams, but it is well worth the effort. It's key to remember that the use of the Scorecard is just one piece of building in an on-going and evolving planning, communication, and accountability process that will help your team to be more effective.  

If the effort put in to created your Scorecard is solid, your outcome will be a clearly aligned and motivated team, a higher probability of execution success, and most importantly—stronger business results. 

Read my colleague Ed Barrows' article, How to Improve Your Strategic Scorecard, to take the next step.

 

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