Simplify your workflows and optimize your daily routines with our collection of leadership templates.
Someone wise once said that nothing in life is certain. But the waters of the business world? It can seem especially uncertain and unclear. An Assumption Grid can help you navigate those waters and make your decisions confidently. It organizes your business ideas according to the certainty and risk of each — then your team can discuss them and make judgment calls, prioritize, mitigate risk, and overcome uncertainties. That’s why an Assumption Grid is a powerful tool for getting past the decision paralysis that every team occasionally faces.
Business Organizational Chart
Establishing hierarchy in a business can empower employees—to know their roles and responsibilities, team members, potential cross-functional collaborators, and who to turn to with a specific need. That’s just what a Business Organizational Chart does. And this template makes it simple to build a BOC for your company. The first step is to determine the high-level organizational structure of your company. Then it's easy to create a visual representation of how different employees are interconnected.
Blue Ocean 4 Actions Framework
For entrepreneurs, so much comes down to new users—how to attract them, impress them, and convert them to loyal customers. This template, designed by the authors of Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant, will help you maximize value for you and your customers alike. Using the template’s four steps (divided into easy columns), you’ll easily evaluate your products in more innovative ways and make sure money is being spent in areas that really matter.
Keep growing. Keep scaling. Keep finding those new opportunities in new markets—and creative new ways to reach customers there. Sound like your approach? Then this template might be a great fit. An Ansoff Matrix (aka, a product or market expansion grid) is broken into four potential growth strategies: Market Penetration, Market Development, Product Development, and Diversification. When you go through each section with your team, you’ll get a clear view of your options going forward and the potential risks and rewards of each.
The SOAR Analysis template prompts you to consider your organization’s strengths and potential to create a shared vision of the future. The SOAR Analysis is unique in that it encourages you to focus on the positive rather than solely identifying areas for growth. SOAR stands for Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results. To use the template, examine each category through a positive lens. Perform a SOAR Analysis whenever you want to bring people together and encourage action.
SAFe Roam Board
A SAFe ROAM Board is a framework for making risks visible. It gives you and your team a shared space to notice and highlight risks, so they don’t get ignored. The ROAM Board helps everyone consider the likelihood and impact of risks, and decide which risks are low priority versus high priority. The underlying principles of SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) are: drive cost-effective solutions, apply systems thinking, assume that things will change, build incrementally, base milestones on evaluating working systems, and visualize and limit works in progress.
Mitch Lacey's Estimation Game
A wordy name but a simple tool, Mitch Lacey’s Estimation Game is an effective way to rank your work tasks by size and priority — so you can decide what to tackle first. In the game, notecards represent your work items and feature ROI, business value, or other important metrics. You’ll place each in a quadrant (ranking them by size and priority) to help you order them in your upcoming schedule. The game also empowers developers and product management teams to work together and collaborate effectively.
Many ambitious companies are eying the future and aiming to grow. But growth decisions can be leaps of faith that are risky and costly. That’s why growth experiments make so much sense. They offer a systematic six-step method that reveals which strategies are most effective, how they’ll affect your revenue, and how they compare to your past approaches. By helping you test out your strategies for scaling your business before you fully commit, growth experiments can save you serious time, resources, and money.
Pique their curiosity. Get them excited. Inspire them to keep reading, diving further into your proposal details. That’s what a good executive summary has the power to do—and why it’s a crucial opening statement for business plans, project plans, investment proposals, and more. Use this template to create an executive summary that starts building belief, by answering high-level questions that include: What is your project? What are the goals? How will you bring your skills and resources to the project? And who can expect to benefit?
Entity Relationship Diagram
Sometimes the most important relationships in business are the internal ones—between the teams, entities, and actors within a system. An entity relationship diagram (ERD) is a structural diagram that will help you visualize and understand the many complex connections between different roles. When will an ERD come in handy? It’s a great tool to have for educating and onboarding new employees or members of a team, and our template makes it so easy to customize according to your unique needs.
Whenever you need to define your goals and figure out the steps you’ll need to take to accomplish them, you’ll benefit from a Strategic Planning template. The Strategic Planning template guides you and your team through exercises to help you assess your current situation, determine their goals for the future, and develop a plan to help them get there. Generally, strategy considers the goals or reasons for doing something while planning refers to the specific actions you’ll take in order to achieve a specific goal. But with strategic planning, you’re considering both at the same time.
Managing stakeholders is integral to completing a project on time and meeting expectations, so here’s how to use a stakeholder analysis to help. A stakeholder analysis empowers you to meet expectations and complete projects on time by identifying individuals, groups, and organizations with a vested interest in a program or process. In a typical stakeholder analysis, you’ll prioritize stakeholders based on their influence on a project and seek to understand how best to interface with them throughout the course of the project.
A risk matrix--also known as a probability matrix, risk assessment matrix, or impact matrix--is a tool that allows you to evaluate overall risk by visualizing potential risks in a diagram. The tool allows you to weigh the severity of a potential risk against the probability that the risk might occur. Risk matrices are useful for risk management because they visually represent the risks involved in a decision. This empowers you to avoid worst-case scenarios by preparing contingencies or mitigation plans.
A risk assessment matrix is a simple framework you can use to plan your project or product development cycle. Also known as a probability and severity risk matrix, the framework can enable you to figure out how to prioritize project or product-related risks based on likelihood and potential business impact. Risks can be ranked according to low probability and severity (1, color-coded green) to the highest possible likelihood (10, color-coded red). Ranking each risk lets you and your team prioritize risks and tackle the biggest threats with a strong action plan. The grid format allows you to control the amount of risk you’re likely to face during the project by visualizing and qualifying it.
The RACI Matrix is an essential management tool that helps teams keep track of roles and responsibilities and can avoid confusion during projects. The acronym RACI stands for Responsible (the person who does the work to achieve the task and is responsible for getting the work done or decision made); Accountable (the person who is accountable for the correct and thorough completion of the task); Consulted (the people who provide information for the project and with whom there is two-way communication); Informed (the people who are kept informed of progress and with whom there is one-way communication).
A prototype is a live mockup of your product that defines the product’s structure, user flow, and navigational details (such as buttons and menus) without committing to final details like visual design. Prototyping allows you to simulate how a user might experience your product or service, map out user contexts and task flows, create scenarios to understand personas, and collect feedback on your product. Using a prototype helps you save money by locating roadblocks early in the process. Prototypes can vary, but they generally contain a series of screens or artboards connected by arrows or links.
Want to keep your company secure and performing soundly? You have to first know how you’ll be affected by outside elements and factors — especially those that are political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental in nature. A PESTLE Analysis helps you identify them and prepare for them. With this easy-to-use template, you can conduct a PESTLE Analysis, then use the results to shape your strategic planning, budget allocation, marketing, product updates, and organizational change initiatives.
Companies face a range of complex problems. At times, these problems leave the decision makers unsure where to even begin or what questions to ask. The Cynefin Framework, developed by Dave Snowden at IBM in 1999, can help you navigate those problems and find the appropriate response. Many organizations use this powerful, flexible framework to aid them during product development, marketing plans, and organizational strategy, or when faced with a crisis. This template is also ideal for training new hires on how to react to such an event.
3 Horizons of Growth
Featured in The Alchemy of Growth, this model gives ambitious companies a way to balance the present and the future—in other words, what’s working in the existing business and what emerging, possibly-profitable growth opportunities lie ahead. Then teams across the organization can make sure that their projects map to and support the organization’s goals. The 3 Horizons of Growth model is also a powerful way to foster a culture of innovation—one that values and depends on experimentation and iteration—and to identify opportunities for new business.
To achieve key objectives, every business assembles a series of strategies. But what elements should you consider when building a strategy? A strategy diamond is a collection of elements forming a coherent business strategy. These elements include: Arenas, Differentiators, Vehicles, Staging, and Economic Logic. Most strategic plans focus on just one or two of these elements, creating gaps that might cause problems for your business later on. A strategy diamond can help you stay focused and ensure you’re fulfilling all of your business’s needs rather than one or two.
A stakeholder map is a type of analysis that allows you to group people by their power and interest. Use this template to organize all of the people who have an interest in your product, project, or idea in a single visual space. This allows you to easily see who can influence your project, and how each person is related to the other. Widely used in project management, stakeholder mapping is typically performed at the beginning of a project. Doing stakeholder mapping early on will help prevent miscommunication, ensure all groups are aligned on the objectives and set expectations about outcomes and results.
Jobs to be Done
It’s all about a job done right — customers “hire” a product or service to do a “job,” and if it's not done right, the customer will find someone to do it better. Built on that simple premise, the Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) framework helps entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business managers define who their customer is and see unmet needs in the market. A standard job story lets you see things from your customers’ perspective by telling their story with a “When I…I Want To…So That I …” story structure.
Have an overwhelming list of to-dos? Prioritize them based on two key factors: urgency and importance. It worked for American president Dwight D. Eisenhower, and it can work for you—this decision-making framework will help you know where to start and how to plan your day. With our template, you can easily build an Eisenhower Matrix with a quadrant of key areas (Do, Schedule, Delegate, and Don’t Do) and revisit it throughout the day as your priorities change.
When processes start to get messy, it’s a good idea to take a step back and visualize who does what and when. A swimlanes diagram takes a familiar, everyday physical place (a lap pool) and turns the idea of “swimlanes” into a metaphor for organizing processes within a team, work group, department, or multilayered organization. This digestible, one-stop visual representation uses the metaphor of lanes in a pool to clarify a complex process. Use a swimlanes diagram to clarify roles before a major project, to bring a new hire up to speed, to update your organizational structure, and much more.
At some point during your career, you’ll probably have to give a presentation. Presentations typically involve speaking alongside an accompanying slide deck that contains visuals, texts, and graphics to illustrate your topic. Take the stress out of presentation planning by using this presentation template to easily create effective, visually appealing slides. The presentation template can take the pressure off by helping your audience stay focused and engaged. Using simple tools, customize a slide deck, share slides with your team, get feedback, and collaborate.
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)
Clarity, focus, and structure — those are the key ingredients to feeling confident in your company’s directions and decisions, and an OKR framework is designed to give them to you. Working on two main levels — strategic and operational — OKRs (short for objectives and key results) help an organization’s leaders determine the strategic objectives and define quarterly key results, which are then connected to initiatives. That’s how OKRs empower teams to focus on solving the most pressing organizational problems they face.
Porter's Five Forces
Developed by Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, Porter’s Five Forces has become one of the most popular and highly regarded business strategy tools available for teams. Use Porter’s Five Forces to measure the strength of your current competition and decide which markets you might be able to move into. Porter’s Five Forces include: supplier power, buyer power, rivalry among existing competitors, the threat of substitute products or services, the threat of substitute products and services, and the threat of new entrants.
First coined by Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, the value chain analysis helps your team evaluate your business activities so you can find ways to improve your competitive advantage. A value chain is a set of activities that a company performs in order to deliver a valuable product from start to finish. The analysis itself allows your team to visualize all the business activities involved in creating the product—and helps you identify inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and miscommunication within the process.
Business opportunities can get dense, cumbersome, and complex, and evaluating them can be a real challenge. Let a lean canvas streamline things and break down your business idea for you and your team. A great tool or entrepreneurs and emerging businesses, this one-page business model gives you an easy, high-level view of your idea — so you can stay focused on overall strategy, identify potential threats and opportunities, and brainstorm the various factors at play in determining your potential profitability in an industry.
Wardley Mapping Canvas
A Wardley Map represents the landscape in which a business operates. It's made up of a value chain (the activities required to fulfill user needs) graphed against the evolution of individual activities over time. You place components with value on the y-axis and commodity on the x-axis. Use a Wardley Map to understand shared assumptions about your environment and discover what strategic options are available. Easily communicate your understanding of the landscape to your team, new hires, and stakeholders.
A timeline displays a chronological order of important dates, and scheduled events. Timelines help product managers, project managers, and team members tell visual stories about progress and obstacles. Timelines enable teams to see at a glance what happened before, what progress is happening now, and what needs tackling in the future. Projects or products with specific purpose or deliverables should be based on a timeline to be successful. Use the timeline as a shared reference for start dates, end dates, and milestones.
Understanding — it’s the key to trusting others better and yourself better as well. Built on that idea, a Johari Window is a framework designed to enhance team understanding by getting participants to fill in four quadrants, each of which reveals something they might not know about themselves or about others. Use this template to conduct a Johari Window exercise when you’re experiencing organizational growth, to deepen cross-functional or intra-team connections, help employees communicate better, and cultivate empathy.
Features and capabilities — they make or break a product, which is why companies spend so much time and effort focusing on them. Sound like you? Try it with an Opportunity Canvas. This streamlined one-pager gives you and your team the power to improve your product by exploring the use cases, potential setbacks, strategies, challenges, and metrics. An Opportunity Canvas is ideal if you’ve already built a product, because you don’t need to consider the operational or revenue model.
When you’re developing a business strategy, it can be hard to figure out what to focus on. A SWOT analysis helps you hone in on key factors. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors, like your employees, intellectual property, marketing strategy, and location. Opportunities and threats are usually external factors, like market fluctuations, competition, prices of raw materials, and consumer trends. Conduct a SWOT analysis whenever you want to explore opportunities for new businesses and products, decide the best way to launch a product, unlock your company’s potential, or use your strengths to develop opportunities.
How do your individual or team goals relate to an organization’s overall strategy? A Strategy Map is a stylized picture of your organization’s strategy and objectives. It’s powerful because it provides a clear visual guide to how these various elements work together. Strategy Maps can help align various different team goals with the overall strategy and mission. With the Strategy Map in place, teams can create set actionable, relevant KPIs. Strategy mapping is often considered part of the balanced scorecard (BSC) methodology, which is a strategic planning tool for setting overall team goals.
Business Model Canvas
Your business model: Nothing is more fundamental to who you are, what you create and sell, or ultimately whether or not you succeed. Using nine key building blocks (representing nine core business elements), a BMC gives you a highly usable strategic tool to develop and display your business model. What makes this template great for your team? It’s quick and easy to use, it keeps your value proposition front and center, and it creates a space to inspire ideation.
A Startup Canvas helps founders express and map out a new business idea in a less formal format than a traditional business plan. Startup Canvases are a useful visual map for founders who want to judge their new business idea’s strengths and weaknesses. This Canvas can be used as a framework to quickly articulate your business idea’s value proposition, problem, solution, market, team, marketing channels, customer segment, external risks, and Key Performance Indicators. By articulating factors like success, viability, vision, and value to the customer, founders can make a concise case for why a new product or service should exist and get funded.
A big step in keeping your company on a secure path is to know how different elements and factors might affect you, in the near term and in the future. These include political, economic, social, and technological factors — and a PEST Analysis helps you identify and prepare for them. With this easy-to-use template, you can conduct a PEST Analysis, then use the results to shape your strategic planning, budget allocation, marketing, product updates, and organizational change initiatives.
With so many day-to-day decisions to make—and each one feeling high-stakes—it’s easy for all the choices to weigh a business or organization down. You need a systematic way to analyze the risks and rewards. A cost benefit analysis gives you the clarity you need to make smart decisions. This template will let you conduct a CBA to help your team assess the pros and cons of new projects or business proposals—and ultimately help your company preserve your precious time, money, and social capital.
Random word brainstorming is a simple, creative technique using random words to generate new ideas and creative solutions to your problems. Using random word prompts allows you to step beyond traditional boundaries and address challenges from a different direction. Random word brainstorming allows your team to unlock their creativity to solve business problems, create new inventions, improve existing ideas, or just think about problems in a new way.