There are way too many “examples” of the Balanced Scorecard. You can find a 4-sector graphical diagram or a poorly formatted spreadsheet with some KPIs. In these examples you won’t find any strategy map, business objectives, or any specific reason how this scorecard is supposed to help you to improve the performance of your business.
On this page you will find (sorted according to their value):
- Examples: 12 examples of real Balanced Scorecard projects – with strategy maps, KPIs, business goals, etc.
- Bad practices: The explanation of the bad practices – so that you know about the typical mistakes and how to avoid them.
- Guides: References to the KPI and Scorecard guides that will help you to get started with your own project.
- Templates: Graphical templates for the Balanced Scorecard that are used primary for presentation purposes.
- Video (1:04:30 length) where we share a detailed example of how to build a Balanced Scorecard from scratch.
As we have discussed before, any business scorecard is about the description of your strategy using such tools as strategy maps, KPIs, business objectives and specific action plans. We’d like you to explore some examples of the business scorecards. You can use these examples as a starting point to design your own business scorecards or implement them into a specific company department.
1. Marketing KPIs and Strategy Map
2. Hotel Balanced Scorecard
3. Balanced Scorecard for a Startup Company
4. Nonprofit Balanced Scorecard
5. HR Balanced Scorecard
6. IT KPIs + Example of the Balanced Scorecard
7. Training Project Scorecard (+screencast videos)
8. 10 Standard HR KPIs
9. Dental Practice Balanced Scorecard
10. Sales BSC and KPIs
11. Content Marketing Strategy Described with Balanced Scorecard
12. Employee Engagement Scorecard
Working With Examples
Here are some tips that will help you to explore all the details of these examples:
- Get BSC Designer (a trial copy is fine).
- Use the “Download .BSC Project File” link.
- Go to the “KPIs” tab, you will find a list of suggested KPIs
- On the “Business goals” tab, you will find examples of business goals and objectives that this scorecard might address
- On the “Strategy map” tab, you will find the map that visualizes business objectives and KPIs
Finally, check the description of the project. You can access it from menu File -> Document Properties. You will find there a link to an article that explains why the suggested scorecard is a good option for addressing specific business problems.
While discussing some good examples of BSC that one can follow, I think it also makes sense to share some “bad” practices about balanced scorecards that you need to avoid.
Bad practice 1: Using 1st generation BSC model
Have a look at the diagram below. Does your scorecard look like this? This is an example of what a 1st generation BSC looks like.
According to the recent survey 30% of participants still use the 1st generation model. If you have just this diagram without any supporting documentation that explains your strategy (hypothesis that you are trying), then you are in trouble! Move to the BSC based on the strategy map.
Bad practice 2: Cause-and-effect connection problem
A Strategy map is a key part of the Balanced Scorecard. It explains a cause-and-effect connection between business goals, and how these goals contribute to the stakeholders’ interests. That’s why:
- Any goal on the map needs to contribute to or be contributed by some other goals
- A chain of goals should go from the top perspective (Finance or Stakeholder Interests) down to the bottom perspective (Learning & Growth)
- A consequence of the previous: there should be no dead-ends
Here is an example of the strategy map with the mentioned problems:
In this article you’ll find a detailed guide on the strategy maps.
Bad practice 3: Focusing too much on metrics that don’t matter for your business
On the balanced scorecard you should focus on the KPIs that are relevant to the strategy.
Operational vs. strategic
The KPI part of the balanced scorecard is responsible for the performance measurement. The most typical problem is mixing operational KPIs with strategic ones. As a result, the balanced scorecard is overloaded with metrics that are not relevant to the strategic ideas that were discussed.
For example, on this scorecard we can see that some low-level operational indicators are mixed with strategic ones:
There are two solutions:
- Put operational KPIs into a separate scorecard/dashboard
- Cascade the scorecard to the respective business unit or person
Lagging indicators problem
Another frequent problem is that most indicators are lagging ones. They measure what already happened, but don’t give you a clue about how to improve the results. Have a look at this scorecard, what indicators help to manage the situation rather than control the results?
Paying too much attention to the KPIs
This is not obvious, but what matters is your strategy and business goals. KPIs are important, but don’t focus on them too much. When dealing with KPIs it is important to keep the big picture in sight. Here is a good example of how KPIs might harm the strategy execution if one forgets this simple rule. How to do KPIs in the right way? We talk about this in the 10-Step KPIs System.
Bad practice 4: Beware of spreadsheets
We’d like to warn visitors to our website about the scorecards designed in the spreadsheets. These scorecards might look nice, but there is one big pitfall about using them:
- When you need to change your scorecard, add some new data, or update an existing one, you will face the problem of its maintenance.
Spreadsheet tools are affordable, as Excel or OpenOffice’s versions are on each desktop, but it is not a recommended tool for a business scorecard. If you are interested in learning the details and facts, check out this article.
You have some examples of what a Balanced Scorecard might look like, but this is just the beginning of the implementation. It’s not as easy, as just creating some KPIs and asking everyone in the company to track them.
Balanced Scorecard is about strategy execution, so you will need to analyze your business challenges, come up with a good strategy, describe it on the strategy map, and add some tracking in the form of the metrics. We were talking about solving this task in the previous article.
It doesn’t make sense if you do all this alone, so you will need to involve your team in the early stages. We discuss all these nuances in the article about BSC implementation.
How exactly should you involve your team? It depends on many factors and there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation. In this article we have shared some typical cases of BSC cascading, and they will help you to choose the approach that works better for your organization, and prepare the development plan for the company’s future growth.
We have designed some templates for Balanced Scorecard. These templates make it easy to represent KPIs and Perspectives of Balanced Scorecard visually. Check out some examples of balanced scorecards’ templates below and download the file with templates for free.
Inside Balanced Scorecard Templates
How could Balanced Scorecard templates help your business?
- The most important: representing data in a visually appealing way makes it easier to convert data to the information;
- Ready-to-use templates for Balanced Scorecard save your time, you don’t need to hire professional designer – you already have what you need for a quick start;
- Templates are great way to focus on data mining and information analysis rather than on graphical design;
Download Free Balanced Scorecard Templates
BSC Templates are available as PPT and PDF files:
If you have not found what you was looking for, please let us know in the comments or by contacting us directly.
Following the questions from our clients we decided to make a detailed video about how one can create a good Balanced Scorecard from scratch. We use a Customer Service business unit as an example and explain step-by-step how to build a Balanced Scorecard for it:
Main takeaways of the video:
- Using various models to understand a business strategy
- Breaking down strategy into the perspectives and specific goals
- Finding leading and lagging metrics, and aligning them with business goals
- Putting all parts together on the Balanced Scorecard strategy map