How do executives expect to realize their strategic objectives if all they look at is financial results like product profit margins, return on equity, earnings and interest before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), cash flow, and other financial results? These are really not goals – they are results. They are consequences. Measurements are not about just monitoring the summary dials of a balanced scorecard. They are about moving the dials of the dashboard that actually move the scorecard dials.

Worse yet, when measures are displayed in isolation of each other rather than with a chain of cause-and-effect linkages, then one cannot analyze how much influencing measures affect influenced measures. This is more than just leading indicators and lagging indicators. Those are timing relationships. A balanced scorecard reports the causal linkages, and its key performance indicators (KPIs) should be derived from a strategy map. Any strategic measurement system that fails to start with a strategy map and/or reports measures in isolation is like a kite without a string. There is no steering or controlling.

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