Strategic Initiative Management

The Challenge

Enterprises of all types and sizes increasingly are caught between two trends that, combined, are causing them to rethink how they operate.

First, traditional Strategic Planning isn’t working like it used to.

The world is simply too dynamic and uncertain for a traditional “see the future, make the strategy” approach. The level of uncertainty – economically, politically and technologically – makes the annual planning and strategy cycle less useful and less relevant. Organizations still need a clear strategic framework to guide their actions. But the traditional approach is too slow to respond to the world of change and opportunity. The level of risk associated with this uncertainty is increasing. But the risk of moving too slowly may be even greater.
Second, most organizations are simply pursuing too many initiatives. 

Their people decry the lack of clarity and direction. We increasingly hear things like, “We currently have 26 critical initiatives. Besides that fact that we keep adding new ones, we never take one off the plate. We simply don’t have the capacity to execute them all and we don’t have a sense of priority. We’re told ‘they’re all important’ which means that we’ll execute many of them poorly. This can’t be the plan.”

The Approach

Managing a Portfolio of Strategic Initiatives (MPSI) provides a better approach to managing an organization’s strategic initiatives; especially those that require significant capital investment. It integrates a more responsive and dynamic view of strategy with a more nimble and practical approach to capital allocation and execution.

It enables senior leaders and those charged with implementing their strategies to:
  • Evaluate strategic capital allocations based on a set of common and transparent criteria
  • Align the organization more clearly to these strategic initiatives
  • Ensure more effective execution of initiatives by tracking each according to pre-established criteria
  • Establish clear stage gates for all strategic capital allocations such that the organization can be more nimble in retiring initiatives that do not achieve these criteria at each gate
  • Learn from their ongoing initiatives allowing the strategy to guide the initiatives while enabling the portfolio of initiatives to inform the strategy
Metrics That Matter Brief Description of Applicable Metrics
Strategic Clarity Percent of employees able to articulate the short list of strategic priorities.
Strategic Execution Percent of strategic initiatives fully resourced (budget and staff) and on plan.
Application & Implementation Measures changes in on-the-job behavior and specific application and implementation.
Business Impact Measures business impact of the intervention.
Return on Investment (ROI) Compares the monetary value of the results with the costs for the program, usually expressed as a percentage.
Employee Productivity Improvement As measured by change in per capita sales, EBITDA or Market Capitalization from Time 1 to Time 2.
Decision Effectiveness Improvement Time 1 baseline to Time 2 re-measure of decision quality, velocity, execution and friction.
Team Cohesion and Effectiveness Time 1 baseline to Time 2 re-measure on Team Alignment, Communication, Conflict Management, Innovation, Process, Team Orientation, and Trust
Key Stakeholder Testimonials Stakeholder verbatim regarding observed behavior change and/or business improvement.
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