Learn the history and popular uses for dozens of diagrams, charts, and visuals.

Strategy Maps

Strategy Maps are a summary of what a company plans to do in order to improve its business. The map is similar in structure to that of a Swim Lane Diagram and in concept to that of a Balanced Scorecard. It has swim lanes (although they are horizontal rather than the usual vertical), or visual category divisions, representing different perspectives of the topic. These perspectives are typically Financial, Customer, Internal (business) Process, and Learning and Growth, following the Balanced Scorecard divisions. Then boxes representing different aspects and ideas of each category are organized into the appropriate swim lane.

Strategy Maps
Typical Uses

Strategy Maps are especially beneficial when a company is looking to better their sales or reinforce internal processes. They allow improvements to be viewed from several different viewpoints, which assists in the decision process.

Best Practices
  • State the vision. Determine the vision of the company. This is the statement that summarizes a company's external prospects and describes its long term goals.
  • Create categories. In order to reach the above mentioned vision, strategy must be enhanced in all aspects of one's company, including financial, customer, internal, and learning and growth perspectives. Place the names of these, or any categories deemed critical, along the left hand side of the page, leaving space between each category. Draw a line to divide each category, creating horizontal swim lanes. This can be made quick and easy using the Strategy Map template offered by SmartDraw.
  • Strategize. Looking at each of the categories listed, brainstorm ways to improve each aspect of the company and place them in the corresponding row. Use rectangles or ovals to separate and organize your ideas.
  • Add connectors. Use arrows to illuminate relationships between the goals and changes listed. Cause and effect or other information flows may be shown by having an arrow leading from a cause to an effect on the diagram.
  • Verify accuracy. Consult with coworkers, employees, or team members to ensure that the information represented by the diagram is accurate.

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