How to Create a Balanced Scorecard: Nine Steps to SuccessTM

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How to Create a Balanced Scorecard: Nine Steps to SuccessTM

BSI’s award-winning framework for strategic planning and management, Nine Steps to Success™, is a disciplined, practical, and tested approach to developing a strategic planning and management system based on the balanced scorecard. It gives organizations a way to ‘connect the dots’ between the various components of strategic planning, budgeting, operations and management; meaning there will be a visible connection between day-to-day operations, the measurements being used to track success, the strategic objectives the organization is trying to accomplish, and the mission, vision and strategy of the organization.

This approach is more about engaging hearts and minds to transform an organization to higher performance than it is about just measuring performance. Ultimately, managers and executives can use the BSI-developed scorecard system to help define strategy, rally the organization around that strategy and achieve what the organization wants to achieve.

The Nine Steps to Success™ Program Plan

Below details each step of the Nine Steps to Success™ framework.

Program Launch

The program is launched by project champion(s) and key stakeholders (working on their own or with BSI consultants). Existing strategic material and results are examined, a strategic gap analysis is completed, key stakeholders are interviewed, and other assessment activities are completed to customize workshops to incorporate work done to date.

Step 1: Assessment

It is critical that before an organization maps out its future there is some consensus around where things currently stand. During the Assessment step, an analysis of the current internal and external environments is completed. As part of this step, organization develops or re-validates high-level strategic elements (e.g., mission, vision, values, market assessments, enablers & challenges, primary and secondary customer / stakeholder needs analysis and others) needed for context in strategy formulation.

Step 2: Strategy

Building on the assessment, organizations formulate/clarify strategy in the Strategy step. The development of the strategy includes developing or clarifying your customer value proposition, visualizing strategy using a Strategy Profile and decomposing the high-level strategic direction into three to four Strategic Themes (or goals). Strategic Themes are those focus areas in which the organization must excel in order to fulfill its mission and achieve its vision, given the enablers it can leverage, the challenges it must overcome, and the customer value proposition it must deliver upon.

Additionally, organizations are viewed, internally and externally, though lenses, or Perspectives which frame the organization as a system of defined elements and capabilities that work together. One of the signature components of the original Balanced Scorecard, the names of the four perspectives will vary slightly (depending on the type of organization) from the original design: Financial, Customer/Stakeholder, Internal Process and Organizational Capacity (or Learning and Growth). The perspectives work together in a series of cause and effect (or drivers and results), creating value from the internal to the external. When combined, the Strategic Themes and Perspectives frame and define an integrated strategy.


Step 3: Strategic Objectives

In the Strategic Objectives step, the building blocks of strategy are developed. Strategic Objectives are the linchpins of a successful strategic planning and management system and are the key to implementing strategy. Objectives are qualitative, continuous improvement actions (outcomes) critical to strategy success. Objectives are developed on the strategic theme level first and then merged together to form organization-level Objectives.

Step 4: Strategy Mapping

In the Strategy Mapping step, cause-and-effect links are developed between the Strategic Objectives, creating a “value chain” of how customers and stakeholders are satisfied by the organization’s products and services. Strategy Maps are developed for each theme to ensure a complete strategy to achieve each strategic result and then those are merged into a final organizational Strategy Map. A Strategy Map is a graphic that shows the cause-and-effect relationships of objectives across the four perspectives, telling the story of how the organization will achieve the results desired.


Step 5: Performance Measures

Performance Measures (KPIs) are critical to tracking progress of an organization’s strategy. The image below shows the inter-connectivity relationships among different types of performance measures. Operational measures focus on the use of resources, processes and production (output). These measures “drive” the outcomes a business desires, with some outcomes being more intermediate than other, more final, outcomes. Our process gets at these relationships, so you can identify the most meaningful outcome measures to determine if your actions are leading to the strategic results you desire.

Performance measures are developed for each of the objectives on the strategy map. The emphasis in this step is on helping you develop the critical leading and lagging measures needed to manage strategy execution.

Step 6: Strategic Initiatives

In the Strategic Initiatives step, the projects that are critical to success of the strategy, are developed, prioritized, and implemented. Initiatives help close performance gaps in performance to hit targets. It is important to focus the organization on the execution of the most prioritized strategic projects versus creating a long list of potential actions and projects. Without this disciplined focus, organizations struggle to execute their strategy.

Scorecard Rollout: Integrating Steps 1 through 6

Once Step 6 is complete, the organization-level scorecard system is ready to be rolled out to employees. The goal of this part of the process is to create more internal fans and build a coalition of employees to start thinking more strategically and using the system to better inform decision making. The Balanced Scorecard Graphic, shown below, is a key deliverable and brings all the strategic elements of strategy formulation and planning together in one simple to understand graphic that becomes the heart of the process of communicating the organization’s strategy to all employees. It’s a one-page document that tells the value creation story by summarizing the organization’s strategy in a simple, easy-to-use format.


Step 7: Performance Analysis

In the Performance Analysis step, data is transformed into evidence-based knowledge and understanding. Effective analysis helps people make better decisions that will drive improved strategic outcomes. This step focuses on measuring and evaluating performance to identify what works well and what doesn’t, taking corrective action and becoming a high-performance organization.

Step 8: Alignment

In the Alignment step, strategy is transformed from something only executives worry about to something everyone supports by cascading high-level enterprise strategy to first business and support units and then to individual employees. The Alignment step produces scorecards for business and support units, and individual scorecards for each employee or team.

Cascading communicates how organization level strategy (Tier 1) is supported by department/unit strategy (Tier 2), and then ultimately how employees or teams (Tier 3) contributes to the strategy with specific actions, projects and tasks.

Step 9: Evaluation

Evaluation is an opportunity to review and refresh. During this step, leaders and mangers evaluate how well the organization has accomplished desired results and how well the strategic management system improves communications, alignment and performance. It ensures that the strategic planning and management system is dynamic and incorporates continuous improvement into day-to-day operations and management.

Check out our Balanced Scorecard Professional Certification Program to learn more about the Nine Step methodology or Contact Us with questions about the Balanced Scorecard.


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