Can I Use the Balanced Scorecard with My Current Strategic Plan?

Well … Yes, of course.  In fact, that’s what the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) was really designed for.  You do not have to start the BSC only when you are first developing your strategy.

While it is great to begin to use the BSC as part of the strategic planning process, it is never too late to use the BSC framework to help execute your organization’s strategic plan. 

On the one hand, if you are using it from the get-go, the BSC will force you to not only develop strategic objectives for your organization, but also the measures that you will use to track your progress toward achieving those objectives.  Another key aspect of the Balanced Scorecard is the use of initiatives, or strategic projects, to help close the performance gap between where your measures tell you your organization is now and where you want to be based on the targets you set.

The BSC Can Be a Good Check on an Existing Strategy

On the other hand, if already have a strategic plan that your organization is trying to implement, using the BSC to help execute the plan will serve as a great sanity check to ensure your strategic plan has all of the elements required to make it a measurable and executable plan.

The difficulty you may encounter is breaking your strategic plan down into 15 to 20 key strategic objectives, if it isn’t already designed that way.  You should ask yourself the question: Can I articulate our major goals or objectives simply in about a sentence?  That will make them easier to digest rather than having to read a 20-page strategic plan. 

If you cannot do this, there’s a chance your plan may be overly complicated.  An ambitious, or aggressive, strategic plan is good, but you want to be sure everyone understands it and that it is perceived as achievable.  Otherwise, you run the risk of hurting employee morale and sabotaging the plan from the start.

Balanced Scorecard


Limit Measures to 1 or 2 for Each Strategic Objective

Next, if you don’t already have measures for each objective, work with your team to develop one or two measures that will help tell you whether you are getting better at achieving each objective.  When you begin collecting measure data, it will enable your leadership team to have data-based discussions about the success of your strategy and to make data-based decisions without getting bogged down in 100 "strategic" measures.

Finally, look at your strategic initiatives.  Do you have the resources to implement them all?  If not, how will your organization prioritize them?  One simple way to prioritize is to look at the strategic objectives where your measures indicate that you still have a performance gap and make the initiatives aligned to these objectives your top priorities.  Other criteria for prioritizing initiatives include cost, time to implement, and expected impact.

So, the point is that while it is great to implement the BSC at the time you are building your strategic plan, if you already have a strategic plan, the BSC is also a great framework to use to ensure your strategic plan has all of the elements necessary to execute it.