Build Your Strategic Planning Scorecard - dummies

By Erica Olsen

Although scorecards for measuring your strategic plan are effective, they can also be daunting. For your first crack at this tool, consider just building your scorecard for high-priority goals. Identify the top seven to ten goals and associated measures that are most important to your company this year, known as key performance indicators, or KPIs.

So you don’t collect too many KPIs, ask yourself this question, “Does the measure directly affect our customers?” Then follow these steps to build your scorecard. In the following years, consider building a scorecard that monitors all your goals.

  1. Identify the right measures.

    Most of your short-term goals should have measures associated with them. You build your scorecard based on these measures. But just because you picked a measure to track a goal doesn’t mean that it’s a good measure. Work with your initial measures for several months. If you see that some are meaningless or too hard to track, dump them and find new ones. Ask yourself, “What outcome are we trying to achieve?”

  2. Establish increments that mesh with the targets.

    In addition to getting the right measures, make sure to get the right time frame and size of measures. For example, if your target is a 10 percent increase in sales over the year, break the target down to a monthly number. For ease of tracking, try to use the same increments for all your measures. If you’re reporting monthly, use monthly measures.

  3. Identify the data source.

    Clearly identify where the monthly number is coming from and who’s responsible for reporting on it. Without easy access to numbers, you find yourself doing a ton of extra busy work. If you can’t get access to a data source or no data source is available, find a new measure.

  4. Input numbers monthly.

    Enter numbers every month for each measure. Use the Year to Date column to track your running progress. This column should add up or average all the months entered to date.

  5. See the big picture.

    The primary purpose of KPIs is to give you a big-picture look at the business with a relatively small amount of information. If you aren’t seeing the big picture, change the measures. A great way to get a visual is to produce a chart or graph for each measure.

  6. Repeat Steps 1 through 5 for departments and teams, where appropriate.

    Ideally, your department and teams have their own scorecards that support the corporate scorecard.

The easiest way to build your scorecard is to use the framework from the following figure in an Excel spreadsheet.


Don’t confuse scorecards and dashboards. Scorecards are often spreadsheets that look like the figure, focused on tracking the monthly progress of your KPIs. Dashboards, in this situation, are the visual representation of your scorecards, often displayed as charts and graphs. You need the data collected from a scorecard to create a strategy-focused dashboard.