Strategy Templates

 

This collection will help you figure it all out.

current future state and path example

Path to Desired State Board

This tool can be useful in coaching and consulting. In coaching, the future or desired state is where the client wants to be at some given point in time.  The current state represents where the client is now. The Gap area are obstacles that the client sees they will need to overcome and milestones they will need to accomplish on the way to their future desired state.  

This can also be used as a strategy tool for a team or organization to move from some current state to a more desired, future state.

In order to get the most of this tool, it is helpful to ask thought provoking questions:

  • When assessing the current state:  “Where am I (or we)?”, “Who am I?”, “What do I do?”, “What assets and strengths do I have?”, “What do I have that we don’t want”, etc.   
  • When designing the desired state:  “Who am I now? “, “What do I have?”, “How do I feel?”, “What am I doing?”.
  • When brainstorming obstacles and milestones:  “What skills must I acquire?”, “Who do I need to help?”, “What limiting beliefs will I need to overcome?”. 

Use the multi-select tool (hold down shift key and then click or draw a box around multiple cards) and the left card menu in order to delete the sample cards that are.    

Cardsmith Pro-tip: Use the Zoom Slider Bar to make the background image larger or smaller in order to fit your screen. 

ansoff matrix template example cardsmith

Ansoff Matrix Board

The Ansoff Matrix is a strategic tool often used by senior management teams to brainstorm, categorize, discuss and decide on the best strategy for future growth.

A team might already know they want to apply one of the growth strategies:  Market Penetration, Market Development, Product Development or Diversification, or they may want to explore a few of these strategies.  Cards with different ideas can be placed into each of the four boxes of the Ansoff Matrix: For example:  Placing a “Decrease the price of a loss leader” card under Market Penetration.

A key feature of this model is that as you move up and to the right, the strategies take on higher risk which will need to be mitigated and managed.

For more information, here’s the Wikipedia entry about this framework.

Cardsmith Pro-tip: Use the Zoom Slider Bar to make the Ansoff Matrix background image larger or smaller in order to fit your screen.    

swot analysis template cardsmith board

SWOT Analysis Board

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. SWOT Analysis is a technique for assessing these four aspects of your organization, team, or project.

When creating a new strategy, the SWOT Analysis can help by encouraging a team to brainstorm and assess the organization’s internal strengths, opportunities in the marketplace, internal weaknesses and external threats.

Ideally you will then use this information to help craft a strategy that will position your organization uniquely in the marketplace and thus build a competitive advantage.  This blog post discusses some ideas about how to create a unique strategy.  

You can also use the SWOT analysis to evaluate a personal decision, such as should I hire someone to remodel my home, or hire a contractor. Doing a SWOT for each option can reveal things you may not have considered such as opportunity costs, hidden risks, etc.

Cardsmith Pro-tip: Use the Zoom Slider Bar to make the SWOT background image larger or smaller in order to fit your screen.    

project objectives strategy map example

Project Objectives to Strategy Board

This board is a concept map created during the sample project’s initiation phase.

Creating a map like this can help clarify the purpose of a project, linking it to key strategic initiatives.  It can be used to help understand the company’s goals and strategies, and how these things may be supported by the proposed solution.

Having a map like this later on can also be useful in controlling scope creep. Does the added scope support the high level project objectives?  Have the objectives changed?  Having a visual tool like this can help facilitate conversations with executives and other stakeholders throughout the life of a project.

driving forces brainstorm template example board

Driving Forces Brainstorm Board

Often we want to dive in and start brainstorming solutions to an existing problem. However, it might make more sense to initially figure out what’s driving or causing that problem. In brainstorming terms, this process is called a Drivers Analysis.

The first step of a Drivers Analysis is no different than any other brainstorm session: identify the problem.

Once you’ve done that, rather than focusing on coming up with solutions, try to work out the reason this problem exists. It can be helpful to ask the group questions that address who, what, when, where, why and how. For instance, if sales are down, you might ask, “What are our competitors doing more effectively?” Or, “How have we changed our sales processes lately?”

As brainstorm participants offer their answers to these questions, you will see possible solutions coming to light. Continuing with the example above, you might realize that your company cut back on advertising around the same time your competitors released a popular new commercial on social media. It quickly becomes clear that reassessing your company’s advertising strategy is a solution to the problem.

project objectives map template example

Project Objectives Board

Here’s what creating a Project Objectives Board can do for your team:   

  1. Clarify project priorities such as on-time, on-budget, within scope.
  2. Keep the team and management focused on what is important about this project.
  3. Prevent scope creep.
  4. Measure the success of a project once it is delivered.

This board demonstrates how to use the Freeform View to map project objectives to strategic objectives.

The Grid View prioritizes project objectives and project priorities (e.g. budget, scope, quality, time, budget — not everything can be equally important!) 

Quick tip: did you know you can have the same cards under two different views? Switch from Freeform to Grid view and then drag some or all of the cards from Hidden Cards into the Grid cells. Switch back to the Freeform view and notice all your cards are still there.  

business roadmap template example

Company Roadmap Board

Keep your team focused on the most important goals by month and business area.

This example was designed by our CEO and is a typical roadmap for an early or launch stage startup.

strategy map example template board

Strategy Map Board

Here’s what creating a strategy map will do for you:  

  1. Clarify how you intend to be unique in the market you’ve selected to serve. 
  2. Discover if you have the resources to be successful. 
  3. Uncover conflicts or inconsistencies in your strategy that can cause it to fail in implementation. 
  4. Collaboratively discover and communicate a strategy so that those that need to execute on it are aligned. 

This template is really a companion to the following blog post that describes how to create a Strategy Map:  https://cardsmith.co/how-to-create-a-business-strategy-map/

And, if you are new to Strategy, or want a refresher on what a good strategy is and is not, this blog post may be food for thought:  

https://cardsmith.co/rethink-how-you-approach-your-business-management-strategy/

Traction Brainstorming Template Board

Traction Brainstorm Board

New companies go through phases of growth and methods of getting new customers (traction) that work in the beginning to obtain a few early adopter customers won’t work in the subsequent product market fit and growth stages.  

There is no one-size-fits all best approach for gaining traction. This board along with the methodology proposed in the popular book Traction, written by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares can be used by a team to brainstorm dozens of ideas for obtaining traction. 

Get a group together, and see if you can brainstorm several ideas in each of the 19 columns of this board – which represent the traction challenges brought forth by the authors.  

You can learn more about Traction and Bullseye at tractionbook.com.

weekly project plan template board

Weekly Project Plan Board

This is an example of a visual project plan. In this case, we’ve mapped out a hypothetical website project for a taco cart. 

Your plan can also be a project tracking tool if you use the check mark to notate tasks being completed. You can move tasks forward in time, but we don’t recommend that. Leave the plan alone, and work the tasks or deliverables scheduled in past weeks. This way at a glance you can tell if the project is running on time.  

Pro Tips:

  1. You can use this board a visual project status report if you color cards Red, Yellow or Green and/or use Card Icons to indicate work blockages
  2. You can use connectors to visually communicate dependencies between tasks, deliverables or milestones.