“You can’t manage what you don’t control, and you can’t control what you don’t measure.” So said American author and software engineer Tom DeMarco, and at the risk of mangling our metaphors, we’ll add, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”.
Anyone who’s ever developed a business strategy for their organisation will likely be nodding in agreement about now. Many will have joined fellow executives and board members at annual company ‘strategy retreats’, somewhere exclusive and out of town, and helped create three, five or even ten-year strategies. Over ensuing months these strategies are finessed until they’re ready to be rolled out. Then, everyone sits back and waits for productivity and profits to soar.
Easy right? Wrong.
As vital as having a strategy is if you want to transform your business, experience shows that implementing the strategy will be far harder than coming up with it in the first place – just like running a marathon is much harder than telling people you’re going to run a marathon.
Despite so much time and expertise being invested in them, over half of all transformative business strategies never make it through the implementation phase. Why do so many strategic plans that look so good on paper go belly up? Is there a disconnect between those who develop them and those who implement them? And if so, how do we fix it?
First, let’s look at some common pitfalls that can derail your strategy.
According to leading planning and performance management firm On Strategy, “The strategic plan addresses the what and why of business activities, while implementation addresses the who, where, when, and how.”
This is where balanced scorecards really come to the fore because they tie all these crucial elements together in a visible and common-sense way that invites the workforce – who are an essential part of delivering it – along on the journey.
Which brings us to the crux of our blog: Five ways that using a balanced scorecard can help you nail your business strategy.
“If you don’t make what’s important visible, how can you expect people to succeed?” - Carl Duckinson, TACT Non-Executive Director
If only everything in life was that simple!
About the author
Teri Cooper is a writer, marketer and digital communications specialist who writes about technology, business strategy and leadership. She founded digital consultancy Scoot Communications in 2014. When she's not hunched over a keyboard, she can often be found roaming around Melbourne indulging in her two current passions, Instagram and coffee.
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