Welcome back to the KPIs That Count series! You are clearly very smart – and trying to get smarter – or you are reading these out of order. Either way, I'm happy you're stopping by.

Pyramid of strategy to KPIs

I speak regularly about KPIs and, as you might have seen in the first in this blog series, there are many questions about the relationship of strategy to KPIs. I put together this graphic to help explain how this all comes together.



How can you use the strategy to KPIs pyramid?

I have included a question you should be answering at each level. Think deeply on each of them to help build a more comprehensive strategy. In the next post in this series, I’ll be providing more description and examples for the tiers. In the meantime, gather up your ingredients and see if you can place them into these buckets.  Here is a simple example from the University of South Carolina to get you started.



If we applied the pyramid to the USC College of Nursing strategic map, it would breakdown like this. (By the way, have I mentioned how much I *LOVE* strategy maps?! I’ll probably end up writing about the wonders of these before too long!)

Pyramid Slice

USC College of Nursing Example

Julie’s Commentary

Overall Business Strategy

This is presented in their mission statement.

Some organizations have a MISSION which is very aspirational and a VISION which is more motivational and specific. It’s all goodness!

Focal Points

These are actually articulated in their vision statement: education, research, practice, delivery and policy

You’ll see me write in other blogs that if you aren’t sure of your focal points, start with the four sides of a balanced scorecard.

Goals and Objectives

They articulate four main goals

They’ve opted to group all focal points into a single box and show goals collectively under the box. Tomato, tomato. This becomes a debate about clarity of purpose vs. clarity of documentation. Each business should decide what works for them. I would also say that their Innovate and Lead boxes at the bottom of the strategy map are also goals but that they see them as going across all focal points.

Key Business Initiatives

Under each of the goals is a list of objectives/initiatives that have unique identifiers (1-A, 1-B, etc.)

Unique IDs rock! They help to make sure that everyone is referencing the same thing.

Key Performance Indicators

None listed

For each of their KBIs they will have KPIs that track their results. For example, “Improving quality and effectiveness of academic programs” might have KPIs like: Achieve 98% “excellent” rating on quality reviews.

Supporting Metrics

None listed

The KPIs are informed by several metrics. In the case of my example, it might be metrics around quality reviews. Metrics should come from multiple angles to validate the completeness of the KPIs and support them. For example, they would want to look at # of “excellent” ratings, # of responses, # of “poor” ratings as well as some qualitative facts like frequency of evaluation. These are all my made-up examples for illustration purposes as I have never attended this school (or even portrayed a nurse on a TV show).


Please also note that the pyramid gets bigger toward the bottom (‘cause that’s how equilateral triangles work!). The increasing size provides an indication that the number of items in each section is bigger than its predecessor and that they relate to the item above it.

Using the strategy for KPIs pyramid for your business

This pyramid is a GUIDELINE to get you started. Every organization will take a different angle on a strategy map as evidenced by the millions of results in a Google search.

What you should do with this information is compare it to what you have today to determine if you have confidently covered all these bases. Not sure? Tune in to the next in this series where I’ll be breaking each of these components down in more detail.

Wishing you happy strategy mapping for your KPIs, my friends!

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