Strategy Mapping for the NSW Public Sector

The Strategy Mapping for the NSW Public Sector (the strategy mapping guide) utilises Kaplan and Norton’s Strategy Map and Balanced Scorecard methodology to support senior leaders to articulate organisational strategy and align overarching organisational goals with individual performance management systems. 

Strategy maps link organisational purpose to desired outcomes and required capabilities to demonstrate how the agency will convert its intangible initiatives and resources into tangible outcomes to achieve organisational objectives. The result is a visual depiction of the agency’s plans, priorities and capabilities aligned with the agency’s goals and purpose.

Balanced scorecards support senior leaders to execute organisational strategy through setting measures, targets and initiatives for each objective in the strategy map. The balanced scorecard is a framework for measuring and monitoring organisational strategy, and can be cascaded to individual performance management systems.

The strategy mapping guide

This step involves completing the main elements of the strategy map by defining the agency’s purpose and articulating the public value and operational efficiency outcomes. There are three parts in this step:

  • Define purpose of the agency

    Purpose is an overarching concept that defines and shapes the boundary and focus of the strategy. Clarifying the agency’s purpose is the first step to creating aligned strategy.

  • Define public value outcomes

    Public value describes the outcomes the agency will deliver to the people of NSW. These outcomes are customer focused, and represent the overarching value the agency intends to provide to its end users, stakeholders and community groups.

  • Define operational efficiency outcomes

    Operational efficiency describes how the agency will deliver its customer outcomes efficiently and effectively.

This step involves analysing the underlying drivers in the business to identify the key strategies and capabilities that will help achieve the outcomes defined in the strategy map. There are two parts in this step:

  • Define strategic plans and priorities

    Strategic plans and priorities describe the critical organisational processes, plans and activities required to realise the agency’s public value and operational efficiency objectives, and achieve its purpose.

  • Define organisational capabilities

    Organisational capability describes the core unit of competence (including skill, knowledge, behavioural, cultural, system and data) that helps an agency develop its organisational functions to achieve strategic goals, meet client and community expectations and comply with government requirements and policy objectives.

This step involves stress testing the strategy map. Validating and testing strategy is an essential and often overlooked process. Taking time to validate strategy and address any gaps that emerge ensures the strategy is robust and likely to deliver intended outcomes. There are three parts to this step:

  • Scan environment

    Consider the agency’s operating environment (external and internal, current and future) to identify strategic gaps. The PESTLE analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental) focuses on the external and future environments. The SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) uses data from the PESTLE to consider current and future issues and is focused on the internal environment or the impacts of external factors on the agency.

  • Validate the strategic plans and priorities, and organisational capabilities

    Validate the decisions made around prioritising and assessing the strategic plans and priorities and organisational capabilities. Distil the SWOT analysis into strategic choices that capitalise on the agency’s strengths and opportunities and circumvent weaknesses and threats.

  • Test strategy map

    Stress test strategy by assessing its functionality against a range of credible and complex scenarios. Scenario testing provides opportunity for senior leaders to test how the strategy will fare if there is a change in the external environment.

This step involves developing measures, targets and initiatives for each element included in the strategy map. The strategy, priorities, measures, targets and initiatives are then cascaded to group, branch and individual levels to create a line of sight between the work people do and the agency’s high-level strategic objectives. There are three parts in this step:

  • Prioritise, measure and act

    Use the Balanced Scorecard to translate the elements included in the strategy map into actionable programs of work. This is achieved through articulating measures and targets and initiatives for each component of the agency’s strategy.

  • Cascade to group level

    Cascade the strategy map and Balanced Scorecard to group and branch level to create a clear line of sight between organisational and group objectives.

  • Cascade to individual level

    Create the final linkage through cascading the Balanced Scorecard to every individual in the agency.

This step involves communicating the strategy to frontline staff, customers, stakeholders and Ministers’ offices. While included as the final step, constant communication throughout the entire process is critical. There is one part in this step:

  • Communicate strategic direction

    Great change leaders translate the strategic narrative into relevant messages for the particular audience, creating a shared understanding and building engagement across the agency and with stakeholders.

Supporting material

Leadership actions and behaviours are key drivers for creating shared beliefs and experiences in the organisation that ultimately lead to the delivery of results. The strategy mapping guide is supported by a leadership module, Actions with Impact, to assist executives with concrete, practical actions to turn strategy into reality.

Each part of the strategy mapping guide is supported by a practical example. The practical example is based on a fictitious agency, Widget NSW, and uses strategy map and balanced scorecard methodology to articulate the agency’s strategy and cascade accountability to individual performance management systems. Each practical example can be found in the ‘Additional resources’ navigation bar.

How to use the guide

While this guide includes five steps, the process is not necessarily linear and should be implemented depending on the agency’s needs.

If senior leaders have a low comfort level or the agency is undergoing significant change, it can be helpful to commence with Validate, test and refine. The outputs of this step will help to inform Populate draft strategy pap and Define key priorities and capabilities. Similarly, where an agency is traditionally less outward focusing, starting with Validate test and refine will guide the customer discussions in Populate draft strategy map.

Where senior leaders have experience articulating and cascading strategy, the executive can choose to follow the guide in sequential order, or select only the steps that are most useful.

The guide can also be used to by program managers and team leaders to articulate branch and team initiatives aligned with overarching organisational objectives. The guide will support program managers and team leaders to identify measures and targets for each initiative to enable leaders to measure and monitor progress towards achieving goals.