The Strategy Fitbit
If you are interested in getting fit, there are no shortage of tools available to help you monitor your progress. Back in the day, all that was used was a scale and maybe a measuring tape. Today, there are numerous sophisticated gadgets. A friend was showing me his new Fitbit that tracks steps, stairs climbed, active minutes, calories burned, heart rate, sleep and so much more. You can also record your previous exercise performance to track progress and goal-achievement. All this information – on your wrist!
I wonder how much better companies would perform if they had a Strategy Fitbit? With the click of a button, the CEO could track progress on financials, customer satisfaction, process efficiency and employee engagement. Unfortunately the IT sector has not picked up on this need yet (but I want royalties on this idea if they do!). However, there are tools that will provide you and your team with the information you need to ensure you are strategically fit.
One of my favourite strategy methodologies is the Balanced Scorecard developed by Drs. Robert Kaplan and David Norton. I was lucky enough to attend one of their seminars and I have to say, these guys know how to measure and track performance on anything – probably even their love life satisfaction, but that’s another article. The concept is to develop a strategy map that specifies those key objectives you need to pursue to get from where you are to where you want to go. The strategy map doesn’t just look at how you will improve your bottom line – it also details how you will satisfy customers, which processes are required to support customer satisfaction and what organizational capabilities (culture, people, information needs) you need to successfully execute your processes and support your customer. Once you have figured that out, you develop your balanced scorecard, which is essentially a chart that lists each strategic objectives (as identified on your strategy map), measures of success, targets and specific initiatives.
Now this probably sounds like volumes of paper to compile but really your strategy map and balanced scorecard are 2 one-paged documents that allow you to measure performance against strategic goals. Clearly defining your strategy and knowing the “right” measures to track progress are critical to success – similar to using a Fitbit. Not all measures are relevant and if you aren’t careful, it can result in information overload.
If your company is spending time on strategic planning, I would implore you to create an internal Strategy Fitbit so that you track what you achieve. Countless companies spend lots of time on annual “strategic navel gazing”, only to have the strategy work sit on the shelf to gather dust until the next year. Scheduling regular strategy-progress meetings and using tools that easily identify if you are making progress on your goals is a critical step. Otherwise it is like wearing a Fitbit as a bracelet instead of a strategic information source.