Even though more than half of all major companies in the US, Europe and Asia are using Balanced Scorecard (BSC) approaches, I would argue that many of those are not as good as they could be. The reason for this is that companies take short cuts or they forget vital components when developing their own BSC.
Here are seven of the key pitfalls I see time and time again:
1) Not having buy-in and understanding of the tool across the company before you implement it.
2) Starting the BSC development with metrics and KPIs instead of the strategy. Measures cannot be relevant if they are not firmly based on the strategic objectives. The Strategy Map is the first and most important component of any BSC, KPIs follow once the strategy is clear.
3) Simply ‘filling in’ the generic strategy map template. It is important to note that the strategy map template is a framework to guide your thinking and not one you simply customise with your own worlds.
4) Copying a strategy map from another company. A strategy map has to be a unique representation of your company’s strategic objectives at this point in time. It has to be developed with close senior executive engagement and represent the distinctive challenges your company is facing today.
5) Not revising and refreshing the Strategy Map, KPIs or Action Plans. We all know that your company’s priorities shift over time and therefore the Strategy Map, KPIs and Action Plans have to reflect that.
6) Only using oversimplified KPIs to track progress. It is important that the KPIs help to track your strategic objectives but instead of developing the most relevant KPIs companies often chose the ones that are most easy to measure or the ones everyone else seems to be tracking. More effort has to go into developing truly relevant and meaningful KPIs.
7) Not having Action Plans linked to the BSC. A strategy without a plan to deliver it will always remain a trip to fairy land!