Business Frameworks and Management Tools

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Frameworks provide a structured environment for focused content. The basic "frame" is an organizer that provides dedicated space for ideas. Sometimes, these frameworks can be used by simply talking through each part, but the visual aspect is important for comprehension and retention. Whether the frameworks are used in a conference room with many voices, or are used by an individual, the purpose stays clear.

Why Use Frameworks?

Storyboard That has put together some frameworks commonly used in the business world to make sure you and your company stay on track.

Business Tools and Frameworks

Ladder of Inference

By Anna Warfield

The Ladder of Inference was designed by Chris Argyris, a leader in organizational learning. The ladder concept is all about the thinking process, about reasoning. Be aware of where you are on the ladder - it is best to avoid climbing too high too quickly. This tool is also useful for conflict resolution and making team decisions: come to conclusions and perform actions based on sound judgments and facts.

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The 5 Whys

By Nathanael Okhuysen

When something goes wrong, especially in a large organization, there can be an instinct to point fingers and shift blame. This probably isn’t the best way to prevent the problem from arising in the future though. Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Motor Company, developed the “5 Whys” process, a type of root cause analysis, to identify and fix problems that arose within the company. It has since been widely adopted as part of lean manufacturing, Kaizen, and Six Sigma methodology.

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PEST Analysis

By Nathanael Okhuysen

When preparing for the future, companies engage in strategic planning. This process looks at factors both inside and outside the company, and frequently employs a SWOT analysis, or similar framework, to organize the information generated. Strategic planning that examines external factors is called environmental scanning.

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Porter’s Five Forces of Competition

By Nathanael Okhuysen

Industrial organization is a field of study that examines the differences between the “perfect” competition among companies found in economics textbooks, and the “imperfect” competition found in the real world. One tool derived from the field is Michael Porter’s “five forces” analysis, from the very beginning of his seminal book, Competitive Strategy. Porter developed the five forces analysis as a more rigorous variation of the widely used SWOT analysis. The framework focuses on the level of competition within an industry to evaluate a company’s strategic position. In contrast to the SWOT analysis, the five forces survey the business environment, rather than examining a particular firm itself. Along with the PEST analysis, it digs deeper into the Opportunities and Threats of the SWOT.

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SWOT Analysis

By Nathanael Okhuysen

When making strategic decisions, there are a lot of factors to consider. It is easy to become overwhelmed by related circumstances, options, and data. A SWOT analysis, or SWOT matrix, is a decision-making framework for focusing on strategically important elements in this jumble. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. These four categories describe whether an aspect of the decision is negative or positive, and whether it is external or internal to the organization. A thorough SWOT analysis can be the backbone of sound strategic planning.

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The Johari Window

By Nathanael Okhuysen

Teams cannot function effectively without communication and shared information. When perspectives, abilities, and feelings are in the open, team relationships are dynamic and productive. Individuals can improve their team’s success by actively seeking ways to share information within the group, and by pushing for transparency, candor, and authenticity. In 1955, American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham laid out a method for individuals to visualize and understand themselves and their relationships with others. The Johari window is a tool for organizing and inventorying personal characteristics from both inside and outside perspectives.

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Using Storyboarding and de Bono's Six Thinking Hats

By Marissa Martinez

The Six Thinking Hats, a concept articulated by Edward de Bono, is a powerful tool for brainstorming and innovation. By breaking down thoughts into six “parallel” or “lateral” areas, it allows a spectrum of thought, from gut feeling to data analysis, to be separately discussed. By using these six types of thinking in a structured way, groups can more effectively approach problem solving.

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