Communicating the company’s strategy to the organization is a difficult thing to do. Everyone has to buy into the goal of where the company is headed and being able to clearly articulate the strategy is key. Once everyone is on board and the entire team is rowing in the same direction the results that can be produced are amazing. The December 2011 issue of the Harvard Business Review illustrated a great example of how to communicate the strategy and ultimately the Why of the organization. The article explains how Four Seasons has been able to achieve great success by aligning the daily activities of its employees to the strategy of the organization.
The little gem Four Seasons uses and I fell in love with is what they call their “Strategy Compass”. This image contains the key strategy statements of the organization and wraps it up in an clean, concise, and presentable form that is not intimidating and can be absorbed by the organization. Since I feel a Balanced Scorecard is still the best tool for coming up with, examining, and executing the strategy of an organization I do not see this compass replacing the traditional balanced scorecard layout. I do see the compass augmenting the balanced scorecard in an effort to communicate the direction of the organization.
I have made a slight change to the Four Seasons Compass. I added the metrics from the balanced scorecard in the form of “Compass Points” to the design. Eli Goldratt often said “tell me how you will measure me and I will tell you how I will perform.” Putting the metrics from the balanced scorecard on the compass keeps the two in harmony and tells the organization how performance will be measured. I did try a version with eight compass points instead of just four. It worked but was a bit cluttered.