TASTE Success with an X-Matrix Template

I’ve put together a new X-Matrix A3 template to go with the Backbriefing and Experiment A3s I published last month. Together, these 3 templates work well together as part of a Strategy Deployment process, although I should reiterate again that the templates alone are not sufficient. A culture of collaboration and learning is also necessary as part of Catchball.


While creating the template I decided to change some of the language on it – mainly because I think it better reflects the intent of each section. However a side-benefit is that it nicely creates a new acronym, TASTE, as follows:

  • True North – the orientation which informs what should be done. This is more of a direction and vision than a destination or future state. Decisions should take you towards rather than away from your True North.
  • Aspirations – the results we hope to achieve. These are not targets, but should reflect the size of the ambition and the challenge ahead.
  • Strategies – the guiding policies that enable us. This is the approach to meeting the aspirations by creating enabling constraints.
  • Tactics – the coherent actions we will take. These represent the hypotheses to be tested and the work to be done to implement the strategies in the form of experiments.
  • Evidence – the outcomes that indicate progress. These are the leading indicators which provide quick and frequent feedback on whether the tactics are having an impact on meeting the aspirations.

Hence working through these sections collaboratively can lead to being able to TASTE success 🙂

One of the challenges with an X-Matrix template is that there is no right number of items which should populate each section. With that in mind I have gone for what I think is a reasonable upper limit, and I would generally prefer to have fewer items than the template allows.

This version also provides no guidance on how to complete the correlations on the 4 matrices in the corners which create the X (e.g. Strong/Weak, Direct/Indirect, Probable/Possible/Plausible). I will probable come back to that with a future version and/or post.

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5 comments on “TASTE Success with an X-Matrix Template

  1. Awesome! This is the best adaptation I’ve seen published. It matches some of the alterations I’ve made recently in wording. However, I wonder about the use of the word “policies” under the Strategies dimension. In the large enterprise world that I’m now living in, policies have teeth and are to be enforced. Is this what you mean?

    • Thanks Larry.
      I chose “policies” because of its use by Rumelt in Good Strategy/Bad Strategy (see this post). The key is that they are guiding policies – like enabling constraints.
      Hope that helps.

  2. Makes sense. In my current environment though, “policies” has become a red flag word so I think I need to change that. What do you think about “guiding principles” in my situation? or maybe “enabling constraints and guiding principles”?

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