What Is a Strategy Map? (With Steps to Create One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 24 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Businesses can have different goals, and they implement various strategies to help them achieve these goals. Strategy maps can help organisations summarise their goals and the ways to achieve them and communicate this information effectively to all their employees. Understanding how to create such maps can be a useful skill for you as an executive or manager in an organisation. In this article, we examine what these maps are, highlight the steps that you can follow to create one and provide a sample template that you can use to prepare one.

What is a strategy map?

A strategy map is a clear and concise diagram or document that an organisation can use to depict its organisational goals and list the strategies it intends to adopt to help achieve each goal. In many organisations, senior executives and directors typically decide on the strategic goals for the company. Once they determine these goals, they can use a map to effectively communicate the organisation's strategic objectives to the rest of the team. This can help them make operational decisions that best help to achieve the organisation's goals.

Related: 7 Brand Strategy Examples: Types, Definition and Importance

How to create a strategy map

Here are seven steps that you can apply to depict an organisation's business strategies as a map:

1. Determine the overall objectives

Before you can create a map for an organisation's strategy, it's crucial to first determine the organisation's overall objectives. Generally, these are long-term aims that benefit different stakeholders, such as shareholders and employees. When determining the organisation's broad objectives, it can also be helpful to consider the company's purpose. For example, a multinational corporation's most important overall goal may be to increase profitability, whereas a non-profit organisation's key objective may be to improve social equity.

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2. Determine sub-goals

Next, find the tangible sub-goals that help to further the organisation's overall objectives. By dividing an organisation's broad aims into less abstract sub-goals, team members may be better able to make better operational decisions. For example, if the organisation's main objective is to increase profitability, a possible sub-goal can be to increase online sales.

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3. Identify business strategies to achieve goals

Once you've determined the sub-goals for the organisation, you can identify potential business strategies you can adopt to achieve these goals. When deciding on the appropriate methods, consider how they can each improve the organisation's achievement of its goals. Consider also the practicability and financial viability of each of these strategies. If you have multiple options to choose from, you can also consider which ones are most likely to be successful based on experience and focus on these over newer ones.

Depending on the size of the organisation, the number of strategies you select might vary. A larger company may have the resources available to implement numerous strategies to achieve its goals. In contrast, it may be better for a smaller organisation to focus its efforts on a smaller number to achieve success.

Related: Strategies vs. Tactics: Definitions and Differences

4. Define metrics for measuring success

It's a good idea to define your metrics for measuring success. These markers can enable team members to determine whether their implementation of the business strategies is successful. When choosing the appropriate metrics for each business approach, consider ones that are quantifiable and measurable. This can enable you to assess changes over time. By doing so, you can also gradually alter your strategies, depending on how effective they are.

Related: What Are Long-Term Goals? (With Types, Examples and Tips)

5. Create and distribute a map of the organisation's strategy

You can then create a map that sets out the organisation's goals and strategies to achieve them. Such a map can be in the form of a simple graphic that concisely shows the organisation's goals and connects each of them with the relevant business strategy. A stakeholder in the organisation can easily refer to this map to quickly find out what the organisation's goals and approaches are. They may also use this information to make better-informed decisions that can help the company achieve its goals.

After creating the map, it's also advisable that you distribute it to stakeholders at every level of the organisation's hierarchy. This can ensure that all the members of an organisation remain updated about the company's latest goals and objectives. You can distribute the map through the organisation's regular communication channels or hold a town hall meeting to disseminate this information if the organisation has recently switched to a new strategy or changed its objectives.

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6. Create localised maps for specific strategies

Team members at each level of the organisation's hierarchy can also create localised maps to set out the strategies that apply to them. For example, if a company's goal is to improve online sales through social media marketing, the marketing department can create a localised map that depicts the specific platforms and types of promotion they want to use. Effectively, this functions, as a depiction of the organisation's strategy on a smaller scale, providing employees in the marketing department with a reference point when making decisions related to their work.

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7. Update maps periodically

It's important to regularly review and update the map of the organisation's strategy. Doing so can ensure that the methods the company is using remain up-to-date and continue to be effective. You can also conduct a periodic review of the success of each strategy. Using the metrics that you identified earlier, you can determine whether each method has been effective in helping the organisation achieve its business goals and objectives.

If you find an approach that isn't effective, you can consider replacing it with an alternative one or trying to identify ways to improve its effectiveness. You can focus on successful strategies and dedicate more resources to them to maximise the benefits they bring to the organisation. When updating the organisation's maps, ensure that you share the updates with all relevant team members to ensure that they remain up to date and continue making decisions that best help the organisation achieve its goals.

Related: What Is Strategic Planning? With Benefits and Tips

Strategy map template

Here's a template that you can use when creating a map for your organisation's strategy:

[Overall goal or objective].

[Sub-goal that can contribute to the success of the overall objective].

[Specific strategy that you can implement to achieve the sub-goal].

[Metric for measuring the success of the strategy].

[Specific strategy that you can implement to achieve the sub-goal].

[Metric for measuring the success of the strategy].

[Specific strategy that you can implement to achieve the sub-goal].

[Metric for measuring the success of the strategy].

[Sub-goal that can contribute to the success of the overall objective].

[Specific strategy that you can implement to achieve the sub-goal].

[Metric for measuring the success of the strategy].

[Specific strategy that you can implement to achieve the sub-goal].

[Metric for measuring the success of the strategy].

Strategy map example

Here's an example of what an organisation's map might look like, which you can refer to when creating your own:

Overall goal: Increase the company's revenue and expand its market share.

Sub-goal 1: Increase sales from online avenues.

Strategy 1: Increase social media marketing.

Metric: The social media following and engagement rate.

Strategy 2: Utilise online advertisements.

Metric: The number of conversions resulting from online advertisements.

Strategy 3: Collaborate with social media influencers through promotional campaigns.

Metric: The amount of revenue gained from influencers' promotional campaigns.

Sub-goal 2: Increase sales in physical stores.

Strategy 1: Train promoters and retail staff in sales.

Metric: The number and value of sales that promoters and retail staff secure.

Strategy 2: Increase advertisements in newspapers and traditional media.

Metric: The number of new customers acquired from these advertisements.

The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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