Rebel Intrapreneur
Rebel Intrapreneur
088 Tools of the Rebel Intrapreneur

088 Tools of the Rebel Intrapreneur

Rebel Intrapreneurs use the Strategyzer Business Model Canvas FigJam template to turn possibilities into plans. Learn about the business model canvas FigJam template here and Try FigJam for free:


As I was doing some research around career planning tools, I came across this article from Indeed called, 7 Tools to Plan Your Career the Right Way. The article lists 7 useful tools: 

  1. SWOT Analysis

  2. Career testing

  3. Self-assessment

  4. Research

  5. Community resources

  6. Personality tests

  7. Career planning process

Not bad. Not great either. I look at this list and find myself asking, “How is this list useful?” I do a SWOT Analysis on myself. Then what? 

I think of career tools a bit differently. Tools that are useful, specific to my needs, and appropriate for the right stage in my career.  

Most careers progress through four stages. 

Phase 1: Landing a job

Phase 2: Progressing in a job

Phase 3: Getting promoted

Phase 4: Transitioning to new career or function

We could add a fifth phase for people who start their own business, but those people then become entrepreneurs and have no further need for Rebel Intrapreneur. So we will leave that phase out. 

In each of the above four phases, there is some level of career planning and execution that occurs with varying degrees. Some planning is deliberate, intentional, and in-depth. Some planning is a lot more spontaneous and opportunistic. 

Both work. 

The main point I want to make is that at each stage of our careers, we have different decisions to make and these decisions require different levels of thinking.  

Let me show you what I mean. Here is a list of tools that I think is useful:

  1. Business Model Canvas

  2. 90-day plan

  3. Goal setting framework

  4. Cadence system

  5. Leadership style

  6. Decision-making framework

  7. Personal productivity system

  8. Customer value / research tool

Each of the tools are useful in the context of a specific need and career stage. Some are useful in multiple career stages. For example, for starting anything new, one should use the business model canvas and the 90-day plan. For progressing in a current role, a goal setting framework, cadence system, and personal productivity system are necessary. 

Just two examples. 

The point is that you need a tool for the job, so you are always ready. 

Let’s go through each of these tools in summary, so you can figure out what tools you need to learn.  

Business model canvas

Instead of doing a generic SWOT analysis, a business model canvas is a specific way to design a career (or a new program, product, or project at work) because it considers what you do, the value you deliver, who it's for, and how you deliver that value. It is also useful in re-designing a career. I have used it to both redesign my career and make career transitions. It is quite useful. In fact, I think it’s a required tool for Rebel Intrapreneurs in all four stages of a career.  

90-day plan

Everyone needs a 90-day plan template. Period. For starting a new job. New project. New anything. We need a way to plan out the first 90 days of any new endeavor. Why? Two reasons: 1) to think through the first 90 days and provide clarity for ourselves on what we should do; and 2) establish the quick wins we need to deliver in those critical first 90 days. Go find a 90-day plan template. Deb Liu, CEO of Ancestry has a good one on her Substack newsletter, Perspectives. The popular book, The First 90 Days (affiliate link, if you’d like to support the show). I found The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan (affiliate link) more useful. Search for “90-Day Plan template” and find one that you like.

Goal setting framework

Don’t take this for granted. Find, learn, and use a goal setting framework that works for you. There are many. Get one. Even if you have to use the goal setting process that your company uses, if you use the one you are most comfortable with, you will be more confident in your goals and it will certainly help you use the process at work. 

Cadence system

This is especially important for rebel intrapreneurs who lead teams. A cadence system is a way of setting up a team on an operating system of predictable and scheduled ceremonies. To over simplify this, a cadence system would define what team events to do and when to do them. Publicly traded companies have this built into the business because every quarter, earnings reports must be delivered. So everything in the company needs to occur at specific intervals in order to deliver on the earning reports. Cadence systems could be SCRUM, EOS Traction, or David Sack’s process. Figure this one out. It might be the most under-valued tool and skill you can develop to level up your executive presence and effectiveness.

Leadership style

Rebel intrapreneurs need to be able to answer the question, “What is your leadership style?” And your answer cannot be vague (not that I’ve ever had a vague, meaningless answer). Your leadership style needs to be specific and describe the way you lead (people, teams, projects, etc). Your ability to articulate your leadership style establishes credibility and instills confidence in others. There are many leadership frameworks. Find one. Pick one. Make it your own.

Decision-making framework

Rebel intrapreneurs need a tool for how we evaluate questions, options, and opportunities, so that when something comes up, we can lead ourselves and our teams through a decision making process. Above all, using a decision-making tool demonstrates to others that we know what we are doing, even when we don’t. Of course, there are limitless ways to make decisions; Cost/Benefit analysis, OODA loop, principles, Vroom-Yetton decision-making model (yes, that’s a real thing), etc. Find one that works for you. 

Personal Productivity System

No matter what tools and processes exist at your company, rebel intrapreneurs need to have a personal productivity system. One that grounds them, keeps them organized, focused on priorities, and doesn’t let things fall through the cracks. This is not about software. This is about having a system (as simple or complex as necessary) to make sure you stay on track. A productivity system could be as simple as just putting everything you need to do on your calendar or just making a to do list every day. OR it could be implementing David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) or Brian Tracy’s Eat that Frog. Search on YouTube for “personal productivity system” and see what happens. Whatever. Find one that works for you. 

Customer value / research tool

You need a way to find out what customers actually want, what they value, and what they need, so you can figure out what product or service they are willing to pay for. There are many tools that do this. OR you can use the simple processes of just plain talking to as many customers/prospects/people as you can to figure this out. Either way, when the question comes up, “What should we work on next?” OR “What else do our customers need?” OR “Why aren’t our customers buying this or that?” You have an answer. Some examples, Customer Value Mapper, from Dave Martin (Ep 70) and Andrea Saez (Ep 74), the Value Proposition Canvas, the Customer-led Growth Framework Claire Sullentrop (Ep 56), the Value Creation Matrix from Grant Hunter (Ep 50). And this is a shirt list.

I don’t claim this to be a complete list, but I do claim this to be an essential list. Add these to your quiver. 

It’s possible you already use some of these tools. To acquire the rest, just start with one and build up to this entire list over time. It’s better to learn one of these well, internalize it, and make it a habit, before moving on to the next one. 

What other tools do you use? What did I miss? 

Today’s episode is brought to you by Figma. Two important tools of the Rebel Intrapreneur are the business model canvas and the value proposition canvas. Figma has templates for both, so you can design your innovation projects fast. I used the value proposition canvas template to design the listener profile and value map for this show. Try Figma for free

Bill Cushard Rebel Intrapreneur

More about Bill:

Bill Cushard on Linkedin

Bill Cushard on Twitter

Rebel Intrapreneur podcast website

Bill’s book: The Art of Agile Marketing: A Practical Roadmap for Implementing Kanban and Scrum in Jira and Confluence 

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Rebel Intrapreneur
Rebel Intrapreneur
Rebel Intrapreneur is a podcast about a new category of high performing employee. Rebel intrapreneurs further the mission of an organization while simultaneous challenging the system from within. Founders and entrepreneurs are thirsty to find people who believe in their mission as much as they do, and pursue that mission relentlessly. Rebel Intrapreneur is hosted by Bill Cushard, who has reported directly to founder/CEOs four times in his career, which makes him an ideal guide on your intrapreneurial journey.