Strategy Maps Comments

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Personal Comments on Strategy Maps

Reducing Complexity

The Strategy Maps, also called strategic roadmap, are a good tool for consultants. Simple and concise, they amount the inherent complexity of the company to a perfectly understandable simple scheme. They have everything to please the executive.


Causality and Determinism

A few volumes, some arrows and the company appears to be dominated, controlled, and the power well-established. We can of course legitimately ask the question about the quality of the data collection (1) and the analysis at the base of the development of an overall scheme as synthetic as a Strategy Map.
Moreover, prosaically speaking, rather than a summary, is it not in this case a reductive simplification? A simplification which, by eliminating areas of activities difficult to integrate into the narrow framework of the four perspectives, masks strategic opportunities.

We may also raise the question of the relevance of the absolute faith in determinism, rejecting at first sight insignificant details from the strategy map diagram, evading the possibility of less obvious connections (2). It really would be the end if a butterfly flaated its wings (Edward Lorenz' one of course). Absolutely No chaos¡ Everything must work as a good regiment on a parade day. This is the secret of the method.

Notes

(1) It is good from time to time to leave one's pulpit to look more closely at the real operation of companies. Not merely by conversing directly with a few selected senior executives but down in the basements of the company where the job runs, where real power lies. We learn that there are multiple ways to "adapt the truth" to both the requirements of the field and personal aspirations.
The information management is besides a tool of choice for budding or already experienced manipulators.
But we must also recognize that in context and in the heat of action, it is not always possible to formalize everything. It is then not easy to sort through omission, concealment and falsification. In any case, the model is diminished and in ignorance of these behaviors, it is very bold, acrobatic and even unconscious to think in deciding/planning for the long term.

(2) In an almost 25 years career with a large part in the International, I had many opportunities to see the futility of inclination to simplify the ambient complexity.
If the synthesis (simplified?) plays a role to provide education to facilitate perception of the main lines of force, it is recommended to take the time to listen actively to the details. Not always easy I admit, they are actually audible to those who know how to listen. Yet this is the only way to grasp the meaning.

We must finally admit that the company is not a "technical machine" easily modeled, but a social system composed of individuals with passionate relationship.


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