9 Box Grid Matrix Tool: What It Is and How to Apply

9 Box Grid Matrix Tool: What It Is and How to Apply
Excel Spreadsheets

What is: Matrix 9 Box, also known as 9 Box Grid, was another management tool created in partnership between GE and McKinsey in the 70 decade.

There are two famous applications of this matrix

a) One takes the name of GE-McKinsey matrix and aims to assess the attractiveness and priority of investments in different business units.

b) The other that is the theme of this post, was known as the 9 Box Matrix and aims to evaluate the performance and potential of employees.

9 Box Grid Matrix Tool: What It Is and How to Apply

How to apply:

The 9 Box Matrix aims to evaluate the employees of an organization according to their recent performance and future potential. For each of these perspectives you will have 3 response levels that will generate 9 different crosses that are each of the nine evaluation boxes.

For performance we have: Below expected, Medium and Above Expected

For potential we have: Low, Medium and High

Let's see a case below that exemplifies how to apply the method and also how to analyze the results obtained. As a basis for the example, I will use the nine box performance evaluation worksheet that we create.

1) List of Employees

The first step in any performance appraisal is to list those employees who will be evaluated. Because the nine box method is intended to evaluate the future potential of each employee, it is usually done by the company's board of directors and does not involve 360 assessments.

9 Box Grid Matrix Tool: What It Is and How to Apply

2) Evaluate Employees

In our spreadsheet, we automatically generate a list with all employees and for each of them you can rank the performance and potential. Automatically, the spreadsheet will tell you which box it fits into. Let's see the options below:

1) Low Performance and Low Potential = Risk Rating

This employee must be sent to an inferior or disconnected company function.

2) Low Performance and Average Potential = Questionable Classification

Review attributions and motivations for the current function

3) Low Performance and High Potential = Enigma Rating

Evaluate if there is something negatively influencing performance inside or outside the company

4) Average Performance and Low Potential = Effective Ranking

Analyze opportunity of specialization or horizontal movement in the company

9 Box Grid Matrix Tool: What It Is and How to Apply

5) Average Performance and Average Potential = Maintainer Rating

Maintain attributions and invest in personal development

6) Average Performance and Potential High = Strong Rating Potential

Provide new leadership opportunities and track short-term performance

7) High Performance and Low Potential = Committed Classification

Maintain attributions, but review remuneration

8) High Performance and Average Potential = Strong Rating Performance

Create individual monitoring plan and invest in development

9) High Performance and Potential High = Classification Talent

Giving more assignments and preparing for leadership roles

9 Box Grid Matrix Tool: What It Is and How to Apply

3) Analyze Reports and Overview

Finally, in addition to the individual results of each employee, it is also interesting to have reports and analyze the general scenario of your company. By doing this, you can understand your overall picture and identify whether your staff is generally well structured or have areas of your recruitment process that are failing.

9 Box Grid Matrix Tool: What It Is and How to Apply

If you liked this worksheet and want to test it for free, go to the product page and download the demo version: 9 array matrix worksheet in excel

Excel Spreadsheets


  1. Hello Manuel, It depends on the structure of the spreadsheet you are using. In general, the SE function or the DESLOC function highlight this type of use

  2. Query: My evaluation results are numeric, as I manage to get their position within the Matrix of 9 boxes.

  3. Hello, I would like to know a little more of this sheet of calculates how the purchase is made, do they have any line of customer service?


Please, write your comment
Please enter your name