What is an X Matrix, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of X Matrix
The X Matrix template is a vital tool for business leaders and management practitioners to drive strategic management. When used properly, the X Matrix template is one of the best ways to align long-term goals with explicit strategic initiatives and tactics. The template consists of a single-page document that has guiding principles at its core and is surrounded by strategies, tactics, projects and measurement frameworks to support the successful implementation of those guiding principles.
Description of X Matrix
The X Matrix template is a tool used for strategic decision making and business planning. It supports organizational improvement by allowing business leaders to visualize and align an organization’s guiding principles and key strategic metrics: True North, Aspirations, Strategies, Tactics and Evidence.
The X Matrix template consists of five core segments, arranged together on one page:
True North – At the center of the template sits True North. This is the direction and vision of the organization towards which the entire organization should be heading. This future state should guide decision making across the board.
Aspirations – One of the four quadrants that sits around “True North” is Aspirations. The content of this quadrant informs what should be done to move closer to True North. Aspirations do not provide explicit targets but should indicate the size of ambition and the challenges to overcome.
Strategies – The Strategies quadrant provides an overview of policies which enable the organization to succeed. These strategies should form the approach to meet the aspirations by building constraints and guidelines which enable decision making.
Tactics – The tactics quadrant is a set list of coherent actions and steps which the organization will take to progress its strategies. These tactics should be made up of hypotheses to be tested and actions to be completed to implement specific strategies in the form of experimentation.
Evidence – Evidence is gathered by assessing the outcomes that indicate progress. These are the key performance indicators that can be measured to provide instant feedback to understand whether tactics are impacting the overall strategy of the business.
Through a process of collaboration, managers can use the X Matrix as a powerful tool to help them drive effective management and bridge the gap between strategy and execution. When a team completes the X Matrix together through a practice of co-creation, everyone quickly gets on the same page to work towards getting something done. Effectively, the X Matrix can act as a catalyst and central component of any strategic deployment, guiding discussions and decisions about what changes need to occur and why.
Tools & Templates
The tools managers can use to highlight the obstacles presented by the X Matrix are presentations, spreadsheets, and checklists.
upBOARD's Online X Matrix Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional process checklists and problem solving models, upBOARD’s online X Matrix tool allows any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s portfolio of other business strategy best practice tools and templates, including:
2 X 2 Matrix, ADL Matrix, Affinity Diagrams, Baker’s 4 Strategies of Influence, Balanced Scorecard, Benchmarking, Blue Ocean Strategy, Bowman Strategy Clock, Build-Measure-Learn Feedback Loop, Business Model Canvas, CAGE Distance Framework, Competitive Analysis, Competitive Landscape Analysis, Contingency Planning, Core Competence Analysis, Critical Success Factors, Discovery Driven Planning, Economic Value Added, First Mover Advantage, Five Forces Model, Force Field Analysis, Gap Analysis, GE McKinsey 9-Box Matrix, Go To Market Strategy, Hambrick & Frederickson’s Strategy Diamond, Hedgehog Model, Hook Model of Behavioral Design, Hoshin Planning System, Kay’s Distinctive Capabilities Framework, Key Outcome Indicators, Kotler’s Five Product Levels Model, Kotler’s Pricing Strategies, Lafley & Martin’s Five Step Strategy Model, McKinsey 7S Model, McKinsey’s Seven Degrees of Freedom for Growth, Mergers & Acquisitions, Mission Statements, Mullin’s Seven Domains Model, OGSM Framework, Ohmae’s 3-C’s Model, Partner Relationship Management, PEST Analysis, PESTLE Analysis, Porter’s Diamond, Portfolio Management, Purpose Statements, Pyramid of Purpose, Scenario Planning, Simonson & Rosen’s Influence Mix, SMART Performance Metrics, SMARTER Goals, SOAR, Strategic Goals, Strategy Map, Strategy Roadmap, Strategy Uncertainty Map, SWOT Analysis, TOWS Matrix, Triple Bottom Line, USP Analysis, Value Chain Analysis, Value Disciplines Model, Value Net Model, Values Statement, Vision Statements, VRIO Analysis, and Weisbord’s Six-Box Model.