How do we decide which initiatives and projects make the most sense for us to achieve our strategic objectives?

By Randall Rollinson

That is an excellent question! It’s always exciting when your organization comes to consensus about where you’re headed and the strategies to get you there. Once you get to the point of determining the objectives you expect from each strategy, the obvious next step is to determine the initiatives and projects that will help accomplish those objectives. Sounds easy, but it can actually be quite overwhelming. Here’show to proceed:

  1. Select the right team of stakeholders to identify candidate projects that could reasonably be expected to accomplish the organization’s objectives.
  2. Establish assessment criteria to narrow the options
    1. Is it consistent with and supported by the strategic plan? If not, it is not a reasonable project idea.
    2. Does the project cross department/functional lines? Cross functional projects are preferred.
    3. Does the project contribute to more than one objective? Helps make the most of limited resources.
    4. Does the organization have the necessary skills, competencies, resources, and time to do this correctly? Pick the low hanging fruit every time.
  3. Further refine your project options by picking those that meet a critical need. You may have two great business development project ideas, but if you know you have infrastructure deficiencies, perhaps one of your first projects should address infrastructure needs.
  4. Perform a high level feasibility analysis where appropriate.
  5. Once you decide on the best option(s), be sure the right person leads the effort and that sufficient resources are committed to the project (time, human, and financial).

Developing a really solid strategic plan can make everyone feel really good about the organization’s ability to accomplish its mission and realize its vision. But the real work is in the details of implementation. By being systematic and calculated about choosing the right initiatives and projects, you dramatically increase the odds of a successful implementation and maintaining ongoing enthusiasm for your strategic plan.

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