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Can you Know Too Much?

Posted October 29, 2012 8:42 PM by Ted Jackson

I led a training session in New Brunswick Canada last week.  The participant feedback was generally very favorable.  But there is always one negative comment that gets my attention…..this time the comment that got my attention was, “the instructor was too knowledgeable.” Hmmm.  Then it occurred to me that strategy management, like any other discipline can sometimes get so sophisticated that the beauty of the simple idea gets lost.  I value the reminder.  The simple question is- Does your Balanced Scorecard (or your management program of choice) enable you to make strategic decisions that accelerate the achievement of your strategy? <more/>

Step 1.  Create a simple one page picture. 

We call it a strategy map.  But any picture that brings your strategy to life will do.  Make it so that management and staff alike will understand the direction of your organization.

Step 2.  Monitor a few measures

Maybe it is only five or ten. But not more than 15 measures.  Together they should tell you if you are achieving your strategy and if you are on track for the future as well.  If the measures don’t help you make strategic decisions they are not the right measures.  If they are too difficult to collect, they will not work in the long term.  Find the measures that work for you.

Step 3.  Determine if there are initiatives worth watching

If there are a few internal projects that will help advance the strategy (and the measures) it might be worth leadership watching progress.  This is really where the rubber meets the road – real work making a difference.  Be careful to keep operations separate.  Leadership as a group only needs to discuss strategy.

Step 4.  Data, Dialog, Decisions

All of this needs to inform strategy review meetings so leadership can look at performance data, have a constructive dialog about key issues and make decisions.  You know your team; you know what works and what does not.   Provide information ahead of time, equip leaders to contribute to the dialog and track decisions.