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Despite its significance, aligning an organization to its strategy remains one of the most elusive and unsatisfactory areas of management endeavour. Yet the notion of aligning an enterprise with its strategy is not beyond the grasp of all organizations. An unequivocal statement of strategy, with measurable objectives and clearly articulated performance measures.
Systems and processes which enable the strategy to be communicated in a consistent, relevant and appropriate way to all corners of the organization. Feedback mechanisms that enable under or over performance to be identified rapidly so that remedial action can be taken to bring strategy delivery back on course. Strategy development is a curious mixture of science and art, fact and insight, knowledge, experience and creativity.
This in turn means that if strategy is to be delivered successfully by an organization it must be clearly articulated and communicated throughout the business. However, the importance of communication in the strategy process is no longer confined to management, employees and internal stakeholders. Methodologies such as The Balanced Scorecard, Six Sigma, EVA and others can provide a helpful framework but they are largely paper based in the development phase and can be difficult to change and communicate.
In large and complex heterogeneous organizations the sheer scale of the task makes it extremely difficult to view the overall strategy and check its integrity, let alone cascade it through the organization.
Often, an organization has too many performance indicators and simply achieving functional and organizational alignment of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) can seem like a Herculean task. There is also a tendency to rely too heavily on trusted financial indicators of performance rather than less familiar non-financial indicators. While financial key performance indicators will always have a prominent role in measuring performance of a business, they are widely acknowledged to be of limited value when predicting future performance. On the other hand, non-financial indicators are often tightly correlated with future financial performance.
While these key areas of performance such as employee engagement, customer loyalty and innovation may be impossible to express in purely financial terms and can be difficult to measure, few doubt that they are critical to assessing the health of a company.
There are also internal challenges around the compatibility of KPI’s in one part of an organization with another. But how do you identify such conflicts from a sprawling mass of information and how do you keep a strategy agile and flexible in the face of increasingly volatile markets? Visualising a strategy and keeping a handle on the integrity of the links between, corporate vision, strategic objectives and the KPIs which support them is a huge challenge.
Creating a Strategy Tree is an excellent way to not only layout what it is you are trying to achieve, but also how you intend to achieve it. Strategy maps, trees and related scorecards overcome this by using visualization techniques, which enable large amounts of information to be displayed on screen at one time. The inherent agility of a strategy map is important since strategy development can no longer be viewed as a standalone activity. The traditional performance management cycle depicted in Figure 3 above is a continuous process made up of a series of iterative steps. Hospitality Services Company (HSC) connects people with the world’s greatest travel and leisure possibilities by retailing travel products and providing distribution and technology solutions for the hospitality industry. The new HSC management team had set aggressive and inspirational goals but to achieve them they needed to better align strategy, initiatives, measures and rewards – an integrated approach to Corporate Performance Management (CPM). Having secured project sponsorship at the highest levels of the organization, the organization embarked on a comprehensive change program. Finally, organizational alignment was embedded more deeply through the introduction of a rolling forecast that linked operational drivers to the financial results. The program was hugely successful in bringing about more rapid decision making, more effective responses to performance gaps, better (strategically aligned) investment decisions and more accurate forecasting. But how does an organization communicate its strategy and imbue its workforce with the knowledge it needs to confidently take decisions knowing they are strategy compliant? Once the messages are broadly understood this needs to be followed up with the use of scorecard technologies. Some sense of the importance of scorecard technology and how it can assist strategic alignment can be taken by considering the example of a commercial aircraft in which the passengers have access to the same information as the flight deck. Fujitsu Services OY provides information technology (IT) services in Finland, assuming full responsibility for its customers’ IT and infrastructure and their enterprise applications. Prior to the implementation of the scorecard system the organization’s strategy and objectives were viewed as being too abstract.
Supported by senior management, the scorecard methodology followed a tailored version of the Kaplan and Norton Balanced Scorecard framework. Fujitsu executives review six to ten performance measures which are considered vital to understand the status of the overall organization. Fujitsu believes that the scorecard system has driven performance improvement, achieved sustainable alignment throughout the organization as it has grown and supported better communication of its strategy to its employees. However, scorecards as part of an integrated performance management platform provide an invaluable method of supporting change in the organization.
The usual way of depicting performance metrics on a scorecard is to use a grid style layout together with icons, such as colored arrows, or other user selected icons to denote the status of performance.
The exact layout of the scorecard is usually user definable and can normally draw on the full multidimensional capability of the underlying database.
But performance management is about gleaning insights into future performance and guiding decision making rather than simply looking at historic performance through a rear-view mirror. The drill-down capability of a scorecard system enables the user to follow KPIs down the hierarchical organizational structure revealing the performance contribution made by business units or individuals lower down the tree. Crucially, during drill down a scorecarding application should show the interrelationship between the performance indicators and other measures such as projects, goals and objectives and start to form a view about how performance in one area is affecting performance in another. The insights gained through scorecards and the explicit relationship between different performance measures derived from the strategy help to ensure that users understand exactly how their goals support the corporate strategy and how their decisions affect its execution. One main principle behind a dashboard is that it should be easy to understand so that users have immediate visibility of the KPIs relevant to their role and function and can assess instantly whether performance is on target or within an acceptable range.
Dashboards make extensive use of familiar dials and charts that colorfully convey the status of performance at a glance, rather like the fuel gauge in a motor vehicle. Dashboards provide an intuitive and accessible window on current performance and are therefore highly suited to tactical decisions and managers that are uncomfortable with tabular information and spreadsheet style grids that pervade most information systems. However, by using dashboards and scorecards in the same performance environment an organization can encourage both strategic alignment (scorecards) and better operational analysis (dashboards). One of the greatest management challenges of the 21st Century is guiding large and complex organizations towards their goals. Technology plays a vital role in visioning the strategy and communicating it throughout the organization as part of a broader performance management regime. Details in Beyond Entrepreneurship, Turning your Business into an Enduring Great Company, Prentice Hall. FSN Publishing Limited is an independent research, news and publishing organization catering for the needs of the finance function. Management applications and Business Intelligence (BI), supporting a broad range of strategic, financial and operational management processes.
While every attempt has been made to ensure that the information in this document is accurate and complete some typographical errors or technical inaccuracies may exist. Information risk is a growing threat and one which is not necessarily fully understood or managed by organisations according to a study by PWC and Iron Mountain, a€?Beyond Cyber Threatsa€?. Gary Simon to interview Rob Hull, Founder and President of Adaptive Insights about why CFOa€™s are turning to the cloud for performance management?



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Retail designers Strategic Retail Design is a highly creative retail shop and store design consultancy. It expresses an organization’s ambitions, sets out its chosen direction and describes the principal initiatives and projects necessary to achieve its mission.
In addition, in today’s complex multinational organizations it draws on the skills of management from across the enterprise and in all functional areas. In other words, the strategy must be widely understood at all management levels so that operational plans and day to day activities are aligned with corporate goals and objectives. Changing attitudes to corporate governance and corporate social responsibility throughout the developed world coupled with demanding legislation to protect shareholders in many geographies, means that management are now formally accountable to a wider set of external stakeholders as well. Most management teams resort to flip charts, break-out groups and facilitated meetings to drive out the thinking and record key decisions.
So they do not readily keep pace with the iterative and creative nature of strategy development. Take for example the development of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – measures which support the achievement of specific objectives derived from a strategy. Old KPIs can often go unchallenged while at the same time new KPIs reflecting, say, social and environmental initiatives need to be developed. However, there is a growing acceptance that concentrating purely on financial metrics may not be the best way to increase shareholder value.
For example, measures of customer satisfaction are often linked with a propensity to buy goods and services in the future.
For example, the strategic decision to take market share in emerging markets with a new product may be at odds with financial key performance indicators such as increasing profit. Strategy trees depict each strategic objective (what you are a trying to achieve), the related critical success factors (what you must have or be good at to achieve the objective) and ultimately the actions or initiatives related to each critical success factor (what you will do in order to achieve the critical success factors and ultimately the objective).
They enable the integrity of relationships between objectives and KPIs to be explored and confirmed during the strategy development phase and changes can be made on the fly.
In a climate of constant change, the strategy has to be accessible and constantly fine tuned in response to market conditions.
The strategy establishes the goals and performance measures for the organization which are built into business plans, budgets and forecasts which are monitored continuously against actuals, analysed and reported upon. In 2004 it was a sector experiencing massive change, creating a myriad of people and process issues for the business. The initial phase was to develop a strategy map for the core business units which was closely aligned with Kaplan and Norton’s Balanced Scorecard framework. After a period of acclimatization this provided greater insight into trends in performance, reduced the burden of traditional budgeting and delivered greater confidence in forecast outcomes.
There is no substitute for traditional forms of communication such as briefings, conferences, webcasts, seminars, workshops and other forms of meeting (both formal and informal) in order to communicate the strategy and make it relevant for a particular part of the organization. These are central to strategic alignment as they bind the users to the strategy itself, presenting them with those aspects of the strategy map (objectives and performance indicators) that are relevant to their role, department or division. Individual televisions display the aircraft’s position on a map, its height, speed and displays important messages about safety and key activities. The company, which employs 2,300 people decided to implement a scorecard system in its banking and insurance services businesses for several reasons. Fujitsu track around 20 measures but report only those that are crucial to the strategy on executive scorecards.
This enhanced understanding has resulted in more strategically aligned and rapid decision making together with a more responsive organization. Many organizations are littered with failed scorecarding projects because they are divorced from strategic intent. The scorecarding approach needs to be an integral part of the wider performance management platform so that the data required to populate the scorecard, is consistent, meaningful, accurate and available on demand. Whereas the emphasis of a dashboard is to instantly communicate performance for a limited number of measures in an eye catching way, the scorecard is designed to promote deeper enquiry and analysis. In this way it is possible to look at different performance measures, in different time periods and for different slices of the organizational hierarchy and other dimensions.
In the first instance, the scorecard should enable users to monitor the status of the objectives and current performance by highlighting under or over achievement and on target performance, but the challenge is then to determine what is driving current performance and what can be done to deliver above target performance or bring below par performance back on track. It should also be possible to drill across the hierarchies to look at performance in different dimensions.
Also typically, data is not refreshed frequently as most organizations to not monitor strategy on a daily basis, but rather a quarterly, half-year or annual basis.
Scorecards are widely acknowledged to be the best vehicle available for helping organizations communicate and execute on their strategies. Both are capable of being used in a wide variety of contexts and for example, a dashboard can be employed on a tactical and operational level as well as a strategic level by shifting the metrics to suit the organization at different levels of the hierarchy. In effect a handful of measures tell the pilot how he is performing and, by inference, what remedial action needs to be taken to keep the mission (operational performance) on track. The ability to view current performance at a glance and to increase understanding of variances by navigating to underlying data makes dashboards an invaluable aid to tactical decisions. Value creation, whether expressed in shareholder value terms or delivery of services in the public sector can only be assured if strategic intent flows uninterrupted from board room to shop floor. A clearly articulated message, accompanied by succinct and relevant performance measures provides the baseline which nurtures and supports the desired management behaviours. In complex environments strategy maps help management describe the performance framework, articulate performance measures and ensure consistency across the enterprise while integrated scorecards popularised by Robert S. Dashboards typically help you to understand and manage tactical operations while scorecards help you to understand and manage strategy.
The report is written by Gary Simon, Group Publisher of FSN and Managing Editor of FSN Newswire.
Oracle provides a complete and integrated system for managing and optimizing enterprise-wide performance. With a balanced view of strategy, people, process and technology, we work with companies to understand their unique business needs, and to develop and implement practical business strategies and technology solutions. This report is of a general nature and not intended to be specific to a particular set of circumstances.
Ed makes sure that everyone has the chance to be welcomed, engaged and has the chance to laugh and enjoy the magic. He has experience working for people from all ages and backgrounds and is equally comfortable working for adults, children or for mixed age audiences. He was recently invited back for a third year to perform for a week as the special guest at Illusions Magic Bar in Bristol and in 2010 was featured on Living TV as part of the programme Four Weddings. Design Services offered by Strategic Retail Design include retail design, retail store design, retail interior design services, full interior design services, retail shop design, store retail design, name and brand creation, strategy and repositioning, graphic communication, exterior and interior design, equipment design, prototype generation, budget refurbishment, project management, Value & Charity, Large Format, Food & Wine, Fashion & Footwear, Outlet retailing, Travel & Healthcare, Pop-Ups, Start-Ups.
Business schools, management gurus and strategy boutiques regularly develop new approaches and methodologies for strategy formulation and all acknowledge its overwhelming importance in setting the tone for the organization and its prospects for success.
The manager sets out the strategy and each player’s role within it so that they understand how their actions affect other players and the delivery of the desired outcome.


After all, strategy has implications for the development of human capital, information technology, product development and financial management to name a few, as well as the use of all other assets and resources owned by a company. It is now incumbent on management to ensure that strategy development and communication follows a robust and auditable process so that resources deployed in the business are strategically aligned and management actions can be justified, if required, to an external audience. Similarly, measures around innovation, such as the percentage of sales derived from new products inform about a company’s medium to longer term prospects for success. After all, markets in developing economies are usually expensive to enter and exploit – normally with lower returns.
Thinking through and illustrating this logical network enables everyone to clearly see the plan. Inevitably though, the development of objectives and the relationships between them can become unwieldy and complex in a multinational organization. Once agreed upon, strategy maps become an active window on performance enabling under and over achievement to be monitored together with the consequences for the organization. In other words the strategy has to be an inextricable part of a broader performance management regime which constantly tests and refines the strategy as new information comes to light.
The results of these analyses are then used to inform and refine the strategy which is adjusted as appropriate before the whole performance cycle starts again – which is why performance management is sometimes referred to as a closed loop process. For each objective on the strategy map two to three key performance indicators (KPIs) were identified together with an initial target.
How do they transfer the strategy from the board table to each employee and embed it in the organization?
Employees and their managers need to know how the strategy affects them, what they might be doing differently and how they will be measured and rewarded. They provide a method of visualising the key measures of performance, their direction (performance getting better or worse), key responsibilities and what actions are being taken. By having appropriate measures at different levels of the organization, systematising the existing scorecard process and providing data more frequently it was considered possible to more readily understand cause and effect between measures and align the organization more completely around its strategic goals. Of the measures being tracked, 40 percent are financial, 40 percent are non-financial and 20 percent are mixed.
The system enables the same measures to be reported at the level of individual managers, divisions and major accounts and these are linked to employee reward and compensation schemes. They have little purpose or relevance to the individuals charged with using them and perhaps do not enjoy management sponsorship and support. These objectives cannot be met by a series of disconnected spreadsheets no matter how appealing the initial design of the scorecard may look.
In general the available scorecard technologies are highly adaptable and support all of the leading scorecard methodologies. It is also possible to review historic performance of say, actual against target for any given measure as a graphical display. Scorecards typically make extensive use of threaded discussions, annotations, and attachments to record discussions and document supporting initiative progress.
It is important that a scorecarding system provides visual cues, flagging where acceptable performance at one level may be masking poor performance lower down the structure. Similarly, dashboards which are generally regarded as a window on historic performance can complement the delivery of strategy. All measures on the dashboard are only relevant to the execution of the current mission but do not indicate the importance of the mission (as would a scorecard). The criteria that determine what constitutes good, acceptable and bad performance are normally completely user definable. In this way individuals feel empowered to make decisions, confident in the knowledge that their actions are aligned with the overall goals of the organization. He is a graduate of London University, a Chartered Accountant and a Fellow of the British Computer Society with more than 23 years experience of implementing management and financial reporting systems. This enables organizations to achieve a state of management excellence, which provides competitive advantage and leverages their operational investments. FSN Publishing Limited, the authors and Oracle Corporation do not accept responsibility for any kind of loss resulting from the use of information contained in this document.
His magic is a lively, captivating and intriguing personal performance that is not to be missed. Decisions all along the chain of command from manager to captain and to the rest of the team are geared to delivering strategic objectives, so why is it so difficult to emulate this behaviour in a business setting? Likewise, employee commitment gives insights into future workforce attrition and, by implication, the ability to earn revenues in the future. Clearly, this simplistic scenario is capable of generating conflicting organizational behaviour around the allocation of capital. Add to it the people, teams and departments responsible to get it done and you have a solid plan of action. Maintaining a coherent view of each strategic scenario can be a huge presentational challenge using traditional paper based tools or spreadsheets. Finally, they provide a platform for articulating strategy and linking it into operational plans and budgets. However, the thinking around strategy development and how it relates to broader performance management is still evolving as the very latest methodologies attempt to recognise more complex market dynamics, stakeholder interests and more diverse trading relationships.
The leadership team knew that they had to align the entire organization around a common strategy if the company was to achieve its longer term goals.
When a list of current initiatives was associated with the strategic objectives it was found that 65 percent of discretionary spending was not core to the strategy.
Failure to recognise and embrace the cultural aspects of performance management is courting disaster.
As such, scorecards make users strategically aware, with a precise understanding of how their actions or inactions affect the achievement of the strategy. Cooperating with the flight crew during on-board activities such as being seated quickly, storing their hand luggage, returning to their seats when requested and cleaning up the seating area at the end of the flight, all contribute to an on-time arrival. Typically, performance bands can be established for whole companies or defined uniquely so that individual employees can set their own personal targets within the overall boundaries defined by the company.
Norton, have proved invaluable in communicating the essence of strategy across an enterprise in an engaging and relevant way. Formerly a partner in Deloitte for more than 16 years, he has led some of the most complex information management assignments for global enterprises in the private and public sector. The traditional performance management cycle (Figure 3) which focuses on a series of linked applications or tasks no longer adequately describes the true nature of these core business processes. Closely coupled to budgeting, planning and reporting applications, the full panoply of modern performance management systems provide a robust platform for sound decision making at both a tactical and strategic level.
It is not surprising that many strategies end up as a collection of printed PowerPoint slides, Excel spreadsheets and Word documents gathering dust on a shelf. Operational plans were revised to make sure that they had an appropriate mix of specific metrics and targets – some designed to stretch the organization. Although this analogy is simplistic it serves to underline the essence of strategic alignment - which is communication. Typically, dashboard data is refreshed frequently to enable fast tactical adjustments and does not include much textual explanation.



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