ABCs of StrategyIf your organization is serious about strategy, a basic foundational level of understanding of the phrases associated with and utilized by your organization concerning strategic elements must be established. Because no universal agreement exists in the world of strategy as to the exact meaning(s) of words, we often find a single word has multiple meanings within an organization. This causes confusion and can lead to miscommunication which can hamper your strategy development, strategy implementation and strategy execution.

As children, we all learned our ABC’s at a fairly young age. This achievement was necessary as it formed the foundation of our communication skills in being able to read and write. Likewise, I am suggesting the following list of words should be defined in your organization, if utilized, regarding what they specifically mean in reference to your strategy process. This is not an all-encompassing list but are words we have heard often in working with over 200 clients over the past 20 years. Balanced Scorecard Institute definitions of most of these terms can be found in The Institute Way, but an important takeaway is for your organization to develop its own glossary of strategic terms with your own customized definitions, so there is no question as to what is meant when using the various terms in strategic communication within your organization.

A – Assess, Alert, Analysis, Action Plan, Alignment

B – Balanced Scorecard, Brand, Benchmarking, Budget, Business Plan, Blue Ocean, Baseline, Buy-in, BHAG

C – Customer Perspective, Customer Value Proposition, Cascading, Cause and Effect, Culture, Communication Plan, Change Management, Critical Success Factor, Customer-Facing Operations, Collaboration, Cross-functional Teams, Cultural Competence, Challenges, Composite Measure, Criteria Selection, Champion, Continuous Improvement, Competitive Advantage, Core Competency

D – Dashboards, Drill-Down, Data Definition Tables, Data, Data Points, Data Normalization

E – Effective, Efficient, Economic Value Added (EVA), Environmental Scan, Evaluation, Enabler, Evaluation

F – Financial Perspective, Facts, Forecast, Focus Area

G – Goals, Goal Diagram, Gap Analysis, Governance

H – High Energy, Human Capital, Hedgehog

I – Internal Process Perspective, Initiatives, Inputs, Initiative Management, Ishikawa Diagram, Intermediate Outcomes, Index, Intended Results, Incentives

J – Journey

K – Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

L – Leading Indicator, Lagging Indicator, Leverage, Learning & Growth Perspective, Logic Model, Lower Limit

M – Mission, Measure, Metric, Milestone, Malcom Baldridge, Meeting Cadences, Micro-environment, Macro-environment, Market Segmentation, Motivation

N – Needs, Needs Assessment

O – Outcomes, Outputs, Opportunities, Objectives, Organizational Alignment, Operational Alignment, Operational Reviews, Operational, Organizational Capacity Perspective, Objectives & Key Results (OKRs), Outsourcing, Opportunities, Organizational Assessment, Objective Commentary, Objective Description, Objective Owner, Objective Owner Team

P – Performance, Performance Reviews, Performance Analysis, Performance-Based Budgeting, Performance Gap, Perspectives, Prioritization, Process Flow Diagram, Program Assessment Rating Tool, Project Management, Project, PESTEL, Paired Comparisons, Porter’s Five Forces, PIGs

Q – Quantitative, Qualitative

R – Review, Red Ocean, Readiness Score, Risk Measures, Risk Management, Risk, Rollout

S – Strengths, Strategy, Strategy Profile, Strategy Canvas, Strategic Maturity Model, Scorecard, Six Sigma, Strategic Management System, Strategy Map, Strategic Plan, Strategic Theme, Scenario Planning, Stakeholders, Strategic Altitude, SMART Goal, Strengths, SWOT Analysis, STEEPLE, Strategy Graphic, Stretch Target, Senior Management Team, Sprint

T – Threats, Target, Threshold, Tactical, Task, 2 X 2 Matrix, Tiers, Theme Teams

U – Unity, Upper Limit

V – Vision, Value Chain, Value Proposition

W – Wisdom, Weasel Words, Work Plans, Weights, Weaknesses, WIIFM, WIGs

X – XmR Charts

Y – Yield

Z – Zero Latency, Zero-based Budgeting


Need help in developing your strategic glossary or in developing a holistic approach to strategy management? Contact us via email or +1-919-460-8180.

Terry is Balanced Scorecard Institute's Director of Training and Senior Associate with over 30 years of experience working in both the private and public sectors.

Free 5-Minute Assessment