The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), which was founded in the 17th century as a physic garden, is a world-renowned centre for plant science, horticulture and education. RBGE now extends over four Gardens (Edinburgh, Benmore, Dawyck and Logan) boasting a rich living collection of plants.
The RBGE wanted to establish a framework for delivering its mission and for executing its strategy. Dr Alasdair Macnab, the Director of the Corporate Services Division explains that the performance management approach was introduced primarily as a mechanism for creating and implementing corporate plans that met the requirements of both RBGE and the Scottish Government.
Mapping the RBGE Strategy
At the core of the performance management framework is a one-page strategy map. The RBGE has been though a number of iterations of this strategy map, adding and changing perspectives and objectives. In the figure below you can see a version of their strategy map.
At the top of the strategy map sit the Scottish Government National Outcomes, which set out the direct contributions that RBGE make to the achievement of eleven of the National Outcomes set by the Scottish Government.
Descending down the Strategy Map we find RBGE's Impacts, of which there are eight. These capture the key effects that RBGE has on society and therefore the delivery of the outcomes: Impacts such as discovery, conservation, and improving quality of life.
Next on the Strategy Map we find RBGE's five Activities. Collectively these represent the primary work of a research botanic garden. These Activities are aligned upwards to achieve the Impacts, which in turn contributes to achieving the National Outcomes. Activities objectives include biodiversity, education, and environmental sustainability.
The next layer of the RBGE Strategy Map we find the resource areas requiring investment: resources such as people, land and buildings, and finance. These Resources are described and have fully fleshed out strategies.
A Governance perspective is found at the base of the RBGE Strategy Map and is the way that RBGE directs and controls its functions and relates to its stakeholders. There are three Governance objectives: Management and Control, Strategy, and External Relations.
Each of the objectives on the strategy map has a brief description that is then more fully explained and is measured by KPIs.
Developing meaningful KPIs
RBGE developed a set of KPIs to help them monitor the execution of their strategy.
Let’s look at the Environmental Sustainability objective as an example. The objective is described as:
RBGE aims to place the principles of sustainability at the heart of all its activities. These principles will embrace the fundamental role of plants to a sustainable planet, the protection and enhancement of the natural and cultural heritage, and the recognition and understanding of the effects of climate change.
One of the Environmental Sustainability KPIs RBGE has introduced is Tonnes of CO2e Produced.
Divisional strategy maps
The RBGE corporate performance framework is supported by aligned strategy maps, projects and metrics for each of the four divisions. Each divisional performance framework is designed to contribute to the corporate objectives and the measures attached to each divisional objective are capable of being abstracted up the hierarchy, thereby ensuring alignment.
RBGE reports on its performanceto the Senior Management Team and the Board of Trustees on a monthly basis. The reports provide quantitative data (the KPIs), narrative analyses, recommendations for action, objective costs, and risk profiles. The decisions taken on the recommendations by the Senior Management Team are recorded and a report is then published on the RBGE intranet for all staff to view.
Ideas and insights you can steal
The RBGE has successfully translated their strategy into a simple one-page framework that now highlights to everyone what matters the most to deliver successful performance in the future. The organisation then made sure all the activities and projects are aligned help to deliver that strategy. RBGE also developed meaningful indicators to monitor and track progress and put processes in place to regularly report on progress. These are all components any organisation would be wise to copy.
Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the field of business and technology. He is the author of 18 best-selling books, writes a regular column for Forbes and advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations. He has 2 million social media followers and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world and the No 1 influencer in the UK.