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Strategy Maps: Converting Intangible Assets into Tangible Outcomes Hardcover – February 2, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
First, the book is very repetitive and while there are many examples of the strategy maps the distinctions between them are not always very apprent so if you have seen a strategy map you have by in large seen them all.
Second, I believe that K&N did not write the book, rather it was put together by a ghost writer who borrowed just about every consulting phrase or description I have read in other books. Comments regarding things like the supply chain tend toward being so simplistic that they damage the credibility of the authors. I do not think we get an idea of what K&N think, rather than a ghost writer.
Third, the strategy map does not address key issues associated with strategy deployment and management. The treatment of Information Technology is more akin to a 1970's view of technology than what companies are doing now. The structure, while supportive of the balance scorecard, does not provide a map on how you get from where you are to where you want to be.
So take a big pass on this book, read the Harvard Business Review articles as they are much better and give you all you need to know. It is a shame since K&N's other work has been very powerful and influential.
My most serious concern was the failure of the authors to cite John Thorpe's "The Information Paradox: Realizing the Business Benefits of Information Technology". Results Chains were first developed in the late 80s and early 90s by DMR Consulting and Fujitsu Consulting. Basically, Strategy Maps are simplified Result Chains with a Balance Scorecard flavor. Harvard professors MUST do a review of the literature BEFORE they publish.
This is important because a Results Chain avoids 3 problems that will bedevil Strategy Map users.
1) A Results Chain is more much explicit about the role that assumptions play in achieving business outcomes. Assumptions are either statements about uncertainty (e.g. price is an important criteria for customers) or they are things that are outside of your control (e.g. a competitor will not enter this market). Strategy Maps DO NOT talk about risks or assumptions. This is bizarre.
2) The book continually mixs up inputs, outputs (from internal processes), and outcomes. (Osborne's "Reinventing Government" has a nice appendix about the differences.) It is not clear whether the elements on the Strategy Maps are actions to be taken or the results of these actions.
The failure to understand these distinctions will cause confusion down the road.
3) Results Chains are much more explicit about the contributions that one element plays in achieving business outcomes. In contrast, all the Strategy Maps have many-to-many relationships.
What will happen if the benefits are not achieved? How are you going to do any kind of root-cause analysis with a Strategy Map?
As the other reviewers have noted, the Strategy Maps in the book are very generic. This may provide a starting point for developing your own Results Chain.
Take a look at Thorpe's book.
In The Balanced Scorecard, as Kaplan and Norton explain in their Preface, "the Balanced Scorecard evolved from an improved measurement system to an improved management system." The distinction is critically important to understanding this book. Senior executives in various companies have used the Balanced Scorecard as the central organizing framework for important managerial processes such as individual and team goal setting, compensation, resource allocation, budgeting and planning, and strategic feedback and learning. When writing this book, it was the authors' hope that the observations they share would help more executives to launch and implement Balanced Scorecard programs in their organizations.
Then in The Strategy-Focused Organization, Kaplan and Norton note that, according to an abundance of research data, only 5% of the workforce understand their company's strategy, that only 25% of managers have incentives linked to strategy, that 60% of organizations don't link budgets to strategy, and 85% of executive teams spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy. These and other research findings help to explain why Kaplan and Norton believe so strongly in the power of the Balanced Scorecard.Read more ›
Strategy Maps fails in two critical aspects: First, it presents Strategy Maps as a tool. "As important as the Balanced Scorecard" (citation from the introduction!), the authors claim. This is CRAP. In fact, Strategy Maps are and have always been a critical part of the typical Scorecard-based strategy management process that we might also refer to as "scorecarding". Maps are NOT another tool that we might or might not use. They are simply an ESSENTIAL part of using the Balanced Scorecard. No Strategy Map = No (real) Scorecard. Period. Why? Without a Strategy Map, a Scorecard is just hollow numbers and graphs. (And by the way: I guess 90% of today's Scorecards in practice are just that. Hollow and useless...). So this is not about a new tool really, but on one specific aspect of scorecarding. Too bad that Norton/Kaplan try to hype this as "the next big thing!".
Second problem: Norton/Kaplan seem to be just too narrow-minded nowadays to acknowledge what OTHERS (outside the Balanced Scorecard Collaborative) have been doing lately. They fill plenty of pages this time with examples (the book is in fact very repetitive), and they could have used the pages better connecting the Scorecard concept with fresh ideas. But they don't. They don't make use of valuable accomplishments regarding Intangible Assets Management. They ignore the highly relevant Beyond Budgeting framework.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you want to take the leap from Good to Great then this is the book for you!Published 9 months ago by CShields
Innovative at the time, but could have been shortened to maybe 20 pages.Published 15 months ago by Minecrafter
very good book. it helped shape my ideas in a better way so i can contribute to the company i work for. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Hassan Akbar
One of my earlier bosses required that any idea, process, program, etc. be presented using both words and graphics. Read morePublished on February 13, 2014 by Alicia Crumpton
I bought this book because I was part of a team that had to build a strategy map for the organization, and I knew just a little about strategy maps. Read morePublished on January 28, 2014 by Mayte