Developing a sound strategy is something every organization strives to achieve. A highly effective strategy helps organizations establish their competitive position, grow market share, and thrive in a ruthless business environment. Or they become irrelevant and slowly die.
However, choosing the right tools to execute that strategy and bring their strategic processes to life is something few are concerned with.
In this article, we will cover a collection of strategy tools that every growth-oriented strategist should have in their strategy toolkit:
- Strategic planning tools
- Strategic management tools
- Strategic tracking tools
- Strategy execution tool that companies prefer to keep secret
- + Free templates to power up your strategy
Strategic planning tools
The first significant part of the strategic management process or business planning involves analysis and planning. The strategy tools we've listed in this section are all about helping you understand where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow.
Strategy analysis tools to kickstart strategic planning process
The first step of the strategic planning process is to study your organization’s strengths and the internal and external factors to inform your strategic decisions.
Here’s a list of free tools and templates:
1. GAP Analysis Toolkit
This toolkit will help you understand the gap between where you’re today and what you need to do to get where you want to be as a company. Free template included.
2. SWOT Analysis
Use this guide with free template to help you identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats you should consider when evaluating your strategic options.
3. PEST Analysis
PEST Analysis helps you to analyze Political, Economic, Social, and Technological factors that could impact your strategy.
Or you can grab this PESTLE Analysis Template, which includes Legal & Environmental factors.
4. Vrio Analysis Tool
VRIO will help you identify your business's competitive advantages.
5. Porter's Five Forces model
Porter's Five Forces framework (introduced by Michael Porter) helps you identify five forces that place competitive pressure on a company in any given industry. It focuses on these five dimensions: Threat of New Entrants, Supplier Power, Buyer Power, Threat of Substitutes, and Competitive Rivalry.
6. Mckinsey 7S Framework
Mckinsey 7S model is an oldie but goldie. This tool will help you identify strategic alignment between departments and processes. Grab your template in this free collection of templates for internal analysis.
7. Ansoff Matrix
This matrix can help you figure out which of four strategic directions you should take to grow your business successfully. Its four quadrants include market penetration, product development, market development, and diversification.
8. BCG matrix
Boston Consulting Group developed a valuable strategic planning tool to help companies prioritize their different businesses. You can find a free BCG matrix template here.
9. Value Chain Analysis
Want to review your new product’s journey? This template will help you identify and analyze all related activities and processes to increase efficiency.
10. The Business Model Canvas
Use this strategic management tool to assess new business models, whether you are an existing business or a fast-growing start-up.
11. Risk Assessment Matrix
A risk matrix can help you identify and prioritize risk mitigation initiatives that can affect the success of your strategy execution.
You can also download our internal analysis toolkit with a collection of templates to help you with analysis.
📚 Related readings:
- Ultimate Strategic Planning Guide
- How To Conduct Internal Analysis (+ Free Templates)
- How To Perform Gap Analysis In 5 Easy Steps
Strategic planning tools for strategy formulation
Strategy formulation is where the rubber hits the road. By now, you should have a good idea of your internal capabilities and the situation of your external business environment. So, it's time to set goals and create a plan to achieve them.
1. Vision Statement Toolkit
This Excel-based strategy tool will help you create a vision statement for your organization from scratch.
2. Values Toolkit
Another pillar of your strategy is setting your strategic values. This Excel-based strategy toolkit will help with that process.
3. Strategic Planning Template
If you need a strategic planning template to get 2023 started on the right foot, we’ve got a template just for you. This template has been battle-tested by thousands of users and is designed to be easy to use.
👉 Get your for here—for free.
A preview of Cascade's free and customizable strategic planning template
4. KPI Cheatsheets
Here you can explore an online library of free KPI examples for various industries to inspire you.
While your company’s strategy will need to be crafted to meet your organization's unique requirements and goals, you can use pre-built strategy templates as jumping-off points to build a highly effective strategic plan.
Here are some examples from our template library:
- Corporate Strategy Template
- Marketing Strategy Template
- Customer Service Strategy Template
- Change Management Strategy Template
Strategic management tools
The second phase of the strategic management process is executing the strategic plan you created earlier—the most crucial part of every strategy.
PowerPoint is a terrible tool for strategy execution, but a good presentation is a fine starting point to introduce your people to the new strategy. Up your game with an interactive Miro presentation rather than a stuffy old PowerPoint!
2. Strategic Communication Toolkit
It all comes down to communicating your strategy and the why behind it. To drive strategy execution successfully, you need to get buy-in from involved stakeholders. This toolkit will help you plan out your strategic engagement plan to ensure you cover all the bases of effective strategy communication.
3. Employee Engagement Toolkit
Create an action plan to increase employee engagement in this interactive template.
This feature inside Cascade is the launchpad where everyone can work together to transform their strategy into reality.
Here’s a sneak peek into Cascade’s GoalDeck where each team member can track progress and status of his assigned goals (projects, KPIs, objectives).
GoalDeck lets every team member add Objectives, KPIs, and Projects that align with company’s overall strategic direction. And most importantly, it helps each member to prioritize work that drives progress instead of getting lost in meaningless daily tasks.
📚 Recommended reading:
- Strategy Execution in 6 Steps
- Strategy vs Execution: How to break out of the strategy planning trap
- 6 Ways To Master The Art Of Strategy Execution
Strategy tracking tools
The final phase of the strategic management process involves tracking the effectiveness of your strategy and then iterating where needed. These tools are all about tracking, analytics, and iteration!
Strategic analysis monitors whether or not you've delivered on your strategy and made progress towards your goals. It's also concerned with helping you understand why you've succeeded or failed.
1. KPI Reporting Template (Excel version)
Manually track important metrics and KPIs with this Excel template.
2. KPI Reporting Template
Connect this template to your existing business strategy tools, automatically track your KPIs, and have real-time data at your fingertips.
3. Balanced scorecard
You can use this KPI scorecard template to centralize the most important metrics in one place and measure your KPIs. It’s based on a balanced scorecard model and you can use it to track KPIs and performance within its 4 standard categories: Financial, Customer, Internal Processes, and Learning & Growth.
📚 Recommended reading
Strategy execution tool
Despite the extensive list of strategy tools, templates, and models above - what if we told you that it is possible to manage, plan, and track your strategic and growth initiatives from one central tool?
A tool that top companies see as a competitive advantage and prefer to keep confidential?
From the beginning, our goal was to make a tool that consolidates different strategy tools into a single platform - taking care of all the phases of the strategic management process:
- Planning phase: You can use customizable planning frameworks that best fit your strategy approach. Drive strategic alignment across the organization by building a high-level company strategy plan and connecting it with strategic plans at the departmental or team level.
- Executing phase: With its powerful integrations, project management, and goal management capabilities, Cascade helps you and your team to bridge the gap between planning and execution.
- Measuring phase: KPI tracking, real-time dashboards, or drill-down reports - you name it, we have it. You will be able to provide data-driven insights to your C-suite team or get a real-time view into what's getting done or not. That’s the only way for faster and more confident decision-making.
Build your customizable Cascade’s strategy dashboards to make confident, informed decisions and build compelling narratives with beautifully visualized data.
Today, Cascade is a strategy execution platform with a laser focus on progress and speed and a commitment to top-notch customer service.
Whereas many companies fail to turn strategy into tangible outcomes, Cascade helps leaders deliver business profitability by giving them a top-level view of what’s happening across the organization.
Boost your strategy execution with the right strategy tools
Strategy planning models, tools, and templates are great for fleshing out your strategy, but to successfully execute strategy and adapt as needed, you also need the right software.
A great strategy execution platform will help you to create a single source of truth for your strategy, eliminating wasted time in disconnected tools, confusion and potentially preventing a failed strategy execution. A single home for your strategy will help you to keep everyone on the same page, allowing leaders to focus on the most critical parts of strategy execution: robust goals, context, and strategic thinking.
And when you are not wasting your time in meetings to keep everyone aligned, you can focus on the greater purpose of actually helping your team members learn, grow, and get results.
Cascade makes it easy to build strategic plans and assign KPIs and owners to drive accountability. It lets your employees collaborate on shared goals to drive strategy execution across the organization.
Interested in seeing Cascade in action? Get started for free or book a demo with Cascade’s expert.