In this installation of the Slide from Scratch, we’ll create 3 slides that will go into a Business Strategy Update Presentation.  The slides will be following the Consulting Presentation Framework, where we start the slide with a Headline message and close with the Bumper.  The bumper captures the key takeaway or added insight of the slide.

The Premise

So, here’s our hypothetical situation. Our company has already defined its strategic vision and corresponding goals for the fiscal year. Its corporate strategy has been published and communicated out to the organization. As such, business units have defined specific strategic initiatives, supporting the company’s strategy and goals, and have begun executing them.

The purpose of the business presentation we will create is to capture the business unit-level initiatives and status of these initiatives. Let’s say there are four key business units that management is most interested in: Sales & Marketing, Finance, Supply Chain, and International Business. This presentation should act as a report management can print out, review, as well as distribute to others in the organization.

The Thought Process

To begin, we should have a vision in mind for a diagram that is both intuitive and comprehensive. Since strategy is driven down from the corporate level, let us create a diagram with a layered effect. An easy way to do this is just to create horizontal layers (e.g. Rectangle AutoShape, tables) separated by a series of downward pointing arrows (to illustrate the top-down flow). We’ll create 3 layers, labeled Corporate Strategy, Business Unit Strategy, and Strategic Initiatives. This illustrates that the overarching Corporate Strategy defines the Business Unit-level Strategy, which then define the Strategic Initiatives at the operational level.

Slide Design: The Strategy Update Overview Slide

Based on our thought process, let’s lay out the first iteration of our slide.

Note that for the Business Unit and Strategic Initiative layers, I’ve split each into 4 columns. This is because we will focus only on the 4 business units that management expressed the most interest in: Sales & Marketing, Finance, Supply Chain, and International Business. The top layer is created with a normal Rectangle AutoShape, while the other 2 4-columned layers are created using tables.

Now, let’s fill out the text.

Again, the text is all hypothetical and filler. For the strategic initiatives, I am using indented bullets with a space between paragraphs. This makes each initiative easier to read. The “bumper” text (see Consulting Presentation Framework section for a refresher on this term) captures an insight that is not obvious from the rest of the slide.

One other important observation to make is that this diagram is also very simple. Because of its simplicity, it will also make a good “tracker” to be used on future slides.  The tracker is a technique we introduced in the last Slide from Series 3-Prong Marketing Strategy article.  As a reminder, a tracker is an icon diagram used on multiple slides to help the audience track along the progress of the presentation. The tracker is always a smaller version of a diagram introduced earlier in the presentation. It is usually located on the top-right portion of the slide.  We’ll use trackers in the next 2 slide creation walk throughs.

Slide Design: Business Unit Scorecard Slides

Next, in the presentation, we want to create a series of slides that report on the statuses of the strategic initiatives. We will create 1 slide per business unit for each of the 4 main business units. Let’s call each slide a scorecard.

Each scorecard will contain 4 key sections: an overview explaining the business unit-level strategy and goals, the list of initiatives with details (e.g. owner, status), a list of key objectives, and any identified risks or uncertainties.

First, let’s drop in that tracker. The tracker will just be the 2 lower layers of the diagram in the overview slide, shrunken down. We will pop this in the top-right portion of the slide and highlight (i.e. shade in with a darker color) the appropriate columns. In other words, for the “Sales & Marketing” scorecard, we will highlight the first column in the tracker diagram.

Here, let’s have a look.

The easiest way to make a scorecard or scorecard-like slide is with tables. In our example, we will create it entirely out of tables. We will create 1 table per section. To maintain a professional and high-quality look, make sure to align the sections properly. Resize whenever you need to. Leave equal spacing between sections as well as around the margins. Remember, a nicely formatted slide is a cue for high quality.

Here’s what we have now without any text yet.

Now, let’s add in the meat of the content.

Note that I added the embellishment of highlighting those initiatives that are considered high priority. Color coding rows is easy and intuitive. You can also additional colors for low priority and medium priority. Remember to always use a legend, like I have (under the initiative table).

Another embellishment that you can also add is to color code the cells under the “status” column. For instance, if the initiative is “On schedule,” color that cell green. If it’s behind schedule, color it red. I didn’t bother to do this in our example.

Once you have one scorecard created, you can replicate this for the 3 other business units. Remember to update the highlighting of the tracker for each slide.

Here’s what the Finance slide would look like with the updated tracker PowerPoint diagram.

Slide Design: Shared Services Scorecard Slide

Now, let’s take this one step further. We also need report on the status of supporting initiatives from important cross-functional, shared services. Let’s take IT as an example. To support many of the strategic initiatives of our primary 4 business units, IT will need to install or upgrade new technologies.

For a shared services business unit, we will design a new type of scorecard layout. We can still leverage the tracker icon. However, instead of highlighting vertically, we can highlight horizontally to illustrate the cross-functional nature of this business unit. In the case for IT, we will highlight all 4 business units.

Here, let’s have a look at the updated tracker.

For this scorecard, we will stick to a structured matrix layout. Since we need to illustrate IT’s impact on 4 business units, we will create 4 rows in our matrix layout. Each row corresponds to a business unit.

Our columns will represent various components that we would like to capture. In this example, we will capture the following components: related business unit processes; clarity of process to IT; corresponding IT initiatives; and status of IT initiatives.

Here’s how our matrix diagram looks.

Now, let’s fill in some text.

The slide, as you may have noticed, isn’t complete yet. For the “Clarity” and “Status of IT initiative” columns, we can use traffic light icons. These diagrams are very popular with executives, since they’re simple and very intuitive. I have even had clients specifically request this type of diagram after seeing them used. I try to utilize them in my PowerPoint slides whenever I need to illustrate the status of anything. Of course, since Kindle diagrams appear in shades of grey, it’s not as effective here.

Under “Status of It initiative,” we will also capture resource requirements. This can be done in a small 2×2 table. Let’s take a look at the finished slide.

Alright, there we go!  These slides can easily be customized to fit a different organization, one with different primary and supporting business units.  You can download all these slides for free at LearnPPT:

If your work involves or are just interested in corporate strategy development, I recommend checking out our Strategy Development Toolkit.  It’s a fairly detailed 37-slide PowerPoint with topics covering key learnings borrowed from historical military strategists to the modern fundamentals of strategy development.  It also describes a 3-phase approach used by top management consultants when conducting a strategy development engagement.

You can download a free PowerPoint plugin called Flevy Tools that creates commonly used consulting diagrams:  Flevy Tools allows you to dynamically generate Gantt Charts, Harvey Ball diagrams, approach diagrams, and other diagrams.  For the time being, it’s a completely free download.

Questions, thoughts, concerns?  Go to my site ( and shoot me an email.  On my site, you will find information about my recent eBook, Become a PowerPoint Guru, which teaches how to create effective business presentations (from structuring your story to designing your diagrams).

For pre-made PowerPoint diagrams used in business presentations, browse our library here:  These diagrams were professionally designed by management consultants. Give your presentations the look and feel of a final product made by McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Booz Allen, Deloitte, or any of the top consulting firms.


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