Research has shown that there is a critical gap in project management skills in leaders and business managers responsible for determining the initiatives and this course addresses the gap. A program is a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually (PMI 2013a). In short, strategic initiatives are specific programmes, activities, projects or actions an organisation will undertake in an effort to realise the objectives and meet the performance targets. ESM Software helps teams execute and design their strategic plans with Balanced Scorecard software and coaching. Typical questions to be asked are: Only if a proposed initiative can satisfy the four criteria above can it be considered for implementation. It is therefore critical that organisations identify a balance between the cost of implementing the initiatives and the benefit to be reaped from it. In this post, I’ll try to highlight some of the key markers of an effective strategic initiative. The following 10 traits are common strategic leadership characteristics and help these individuals motivate and inspire their teams to produce better business results. Ideally, the initiative should also positively contribute to the achievement of the relevant performance target. As a part of the implementation strategy, accountability measures are put in place to ensure implementation takes place. If the project is longer than a couple of years, then it is worth asking if one initiative might be more effectively broken down into two or three. Our clients are found in a variety of settings: colleges and universities, associations and professional societies, technology companies, entrepreneurial ventures, and government/non-profit enterprises. 10. Is this a realistic estimate for accomplishing this goal? hbspt.cta._relativeUrls=true;hbspt.cta.load(2256723, 'c21a3602-7842-4fc8-ba3a-c4054f9e25cb', {}); Strategic Initiatives have a defined scope. As such, they need not restate the obvious, as most elements of a portfolio vision are well understood by portfolio stakeholders. It is required only if there is a real need for it. 6 Characteristics of Strategic Thinking Skills vs. Tactical Thinking. Strategic themes tend to be fairly stable over a one year or two timeline. What are the characteristics of good strategic goals? Directors of strategic initiatives develop, oversee and help implement programs and projects that support a company’s vision and short- and long-term plans. Fast-forward 12 months. By making sound decisions based on data, no vision or innovation will be too far afield. Ten Key Characteristics of Strategic Planning ... that prioritizes initiatives and aligns resources. Before I go into how we distinguish strategic initiatives, I want to distinguish operational execution (running the day-to-day business) from strategic execution (putting in place what is needed to make the strategy work). What are the costs involved (including opportunity costs)? “Strategic initiatives represent the force that accelerates an organisational mass into action, overcoming inertia and resistance to change. In order to clarify the differences between these two types of projects, it is critical that an organization go through a process of defining basic information for all ongoing and proposed initiatives. It contains related projects and single activities from operational business. Wikipedia defines Strategic management as, “Strategic management involves the formulation and implementation of the major goals and initiatives taken by a company’s top management on behalf of owners, based on consideration of resources and an assessment of the internal and external environments in which the organization competes. This is especially true when the fulfilment of the objective cannot be directly and practically measured and a ‘proxy’ measure is used. Post 4 of 4 in the Nimble Organization series . 2. These components of strategic leadership make up the key traits of strategic leaders and how they contribute to their success. If an objective is where you are going, then the initiative is how you are going to get there. A strategic initiative should add a new process or modify an existing process. Try our Executive Dashboard and become an expert. can be treated as a project with specific title, timeline and resources, There is no redundancy between one initiative and another. The first, second and third articles considered strategy mapping, choosing strategic measures and selecting strategic targets. It is a temporary endeavor with a definite beginning and end. This path is established as each initiative is mapped to one or more objectives in the strategic plan and to one or more goals. Strategic Themes are differentiating business objectives that connect a portfolio to the strategy of the Enterprise. What are the key characteristics of effective strategic initiatives? Strategic themes are the key differentiators that drive the future state of a portfolio. An example of a Learning and Growth Objective might say something like, “Align Incentives and Rewards with Employee Roles for Increased Employee Satisfaction.”. Credit control is already the operational job of credit management department anyway. Objectives state a clearly defined direction or outcome for an organization. While objectives tend to be broad, initiatives tend to more specifically outline how you are going to accomplish an objective. Probably the target needs to be reviewed upwards to create impact? A recent survey of more than 400 global CEOs revealed that the ability to execute strategy was their #1 challenge. It may include elements of related work outside of the scope of the discrete projects in the program. Given the uncertainty inherent in major change efforts, this tendency is understandable. Four key words can be used to sum up the desired characteristics of effective strategic initiatives: R.I.D.E. A strategic initiative must directly and effectively serve, and is crucial to, the achievement of the relevant Strategic Objective. Four key words can be used to sum up the desired characteristics of effective strategic initiatives: R.I.D.E. An effective strategic initiative must focus on creating a material, distinctive and lasting impact which cannot be achieved if things were allowed to continue the way they currently are. Once a process has been stabilized, it becomes operationalized and can be removed from the scorecard. */, {% set textColor = "#565656" %} /* This sets the universal color of dark text on the site */, {% set pageCenter = "1100px" %} /* This sets the width of the website */, {% set headerType = "fixed" %} /* To make this a fixed header, change the value to "fixed" - otherwise, set it to "static" */, {% set lightGreyColor = "#f7f7f7" %} /* This affects all grey background sections */, {% set baseFontWeight = "normal" %} /* More than likely, you will use one of these values (higher = bolder): 300, 400, 700, 900 */, {% set headerFontWeight = "normal" %} /* For Headers; More than likely, you will use one of these values (higher = bolder): 300, 400, 700, 900 */, {% set buttonRadius = '10px' %} /* "0" for square edges, "10px" for rounded edges, "40px" for pill shape; This will change all buttons */. It may deliver a service or product that is at a lower price, differentiated and mainly concentrates on a demanding market section, or which is innovative. What is the level of organisational readiness to embrace the change likely to be brought about by the initiative. appraised based on the achievement of measures/KPIs, a common mistake that managers do is aligning the initiative towards measures/KPIs rather than serving the objectives. What else need to be in place before the initiative can take-off? The Characteristics of Nimble Execution. Greg Githens relates his advice to a CEO determined to succeed at a strategic initiative: recruit a capable program manager. Operational initiatives tend to be ongoing processes that remain fairly static. However, because performance is always. An example of functional-level strategy: In 2008, Swiss Life Group, a Zurich-based insurance . Let us begin by understanding what strategic initiatives are. 3. He explains the competencies and characteristics of a strategic initiative… The Importance of Strategic Initiatives. Strategic decisions have major resource propositions for an organization. 55 Old Bedford Road Suite 107 Lincoln, MA 01773781-541-4465inquiries@esmgrp.com. They introduced some new initiatives, but mostly tweaked the current ones here and there. Strategic initiatives are important to organizational success. In the end employee turnover rate may be reduced but there is no guarantee that employee loyalty is improved. Which means that when determining and designing an initiative, there needs to be a clear relationship between the successful completion of the initiative and the fulfilment of the objective. An initiative cannot exist for its own sake. Being an operational business with standardised processes, life seemed to be going on as usual. Like gifted children, though, we potentially set them up for failure by actually labelling them as strategic initiatives. Balanced Scorecards Powered by Ganbaru Web Solution. Strategy is all about increasing value. They may be part of a company’s executive leadership team or … Which resources do we need in order to accomplish this project on time? For example: Targets that are achievable through normal operational means do not require initiatives. As a reflection o… It is a new project that the organization is going to embark on to align employee incentives and increase employee satisfaction. A good initiative aligned to the example objective above might be, “Implement Cloud-based Performance Appraisal and Rewards System.”  Notice how the initiative isn’t an existing process. For example if the objective is “Competent Resources” then a “Develop Structured Competency Development Framework” could be a directly contributing initiative. For example, once large strategic initiatives are underway there is a tendency in some organizations to capture as much data as possible about the project. strategies, but often a strategic initiative straddles numerous functions and businesses. By the end of the 4-day gruelling strategic planning session, you had established your mission, vision, themes, objectives, measures/KPIs and targets. To increase an organization’s chance of success in meeting these objectives, it’s important to also understand the characteristics of the business itself including its strategic plans. The distinctive feature of this format of Strategic Part-nerships is that a Youth Initiative is initiated, set up and carried out by young people themselves. Any initiative that is added to the initiatives register should only remain on the register if it is clear how the initiative provides a path to achieving the vision outlined in the strategic plan. Gaining and sustaining nimbleness is not easily or casually achieved. It’s not meant to be a static document put on the shelf or printed with a pretty, glossy cover. It must depart from the status quo and focus on change. The full picture of the initiative is fleshed out by also incorporating key milestone/task dates. The CFO should then help business leaders convert these insights into specific action items and initiatives. In a previous post, I defined a nimble organization as one that has a sustained ability to quickly and effectively respond to the demands of change while continually delivering high performance. The problem starts when initiatives (such as “Increasing Resignation Notice Period” to quote an extreme example) are established with the aim of reducing employee turnover rate rather than instilling employee loyalty. Desired Characteristics of Strategic Initiatives. Well-crafted, useful business objectives also share common characteristics. A two year strategic initiative that encompasses multiple teams and departments should be summarized into 8-10 milestones. It makes them sound like they are deliberate. High Initiative volume may be a symptom of poor categorization of operational vs. strategic projects, a complex organizational plan, or overly ambitious leadership. Strategic information is used for gaining competitive advantage and formulating business strategies by organizations. This is where many organizations fall into the trap of confusing operations with strategy. Transnational Youth Initiatives: These Strategic Partnerships in the field of youth aim to foster social com-mitment and entrepreneurial spirit of young people. In the next article we will talk about detailed implementation planning for the initiatives. For all of the attention and focus placed on strategic planning and change initiatives, it’s hard to imagine that roughly 70 percent of strategic plans fail and 73 percent of change initiatives fall short of producing any meaningful or lasting change. The logic behind how this initiative supports the objective may seem intuitive, but it should regardless be clearly expressed in the initiative definition. Including dates also has a profound impact on the conversation surrounding initiatives. Within the strategic initiative you should detail an operating budget, the department or departments involved, and any other details that help define exactly how your goal will be reached. Remember that they require time, efforts and other resources. This is the final of four articles that collectively provide key learnings for the basic architecting of the Balanced Scorecard. Successful initiative management is at the core of strategy execution. It is a temporary endeavor with a definite beginning and end. Operations preserve value. Strategic Initiatives have a defined scope Once a process has been stabilized, it becomes operationalized and can be removed from the scorecard. Regardless of the reason, strategic planning teams often benefit from breaking big Initiative lists down thematically into strategic groups called portfolios. A strategic initiative’s duration can range from a couple of months to a couple of years. The implementation strategy pulls all the plan pieces together to ensure collectively there are no missing pieces and that the plan is feasible. Strategic planning is the plan that’s put into place. Strategic Initiatives ® helps our clients succeed in a time of disruptive change by providing exceptional thought leadership, vision, and organizational development expertise. A strategic initiative must directly and effectively serve, and is crucial to, the achievement of the relevant Strategic Objective. He explains that the capable person provides leverage: for example, shaping and influencing the vision and strategy, managing interfaces with other groups, attracting/negotiating resources, etc. Choosing Strategic Initiatives. This article considers choosing strategic initiatives. The number of milestones/tasks will largely depend on the size and complexity of your strategic initiative. Despite completing (most of) the strategic initiatives, the outcomes of your measures are not that encouraging, and you begin to wonder why. Add the font family you wish to use. Therefore “Employee Turnover Rate” may be used as a ‘proxy’ measure. A strategic objective can also help motivate employees and achieve full buy-in from stakeholders. Why? In order to innovate you need to utilize data-driven decision making. For example, for objective “Increased Employee Loyalty”, a practical appraisal cannot be identified that accurately determines the degree of loyalty of an employee. Collection Procedures” is more suitable as initiative if the current procedures fail to ensure timely collection. 1010 Blok A, Phileo Damansara II Jalan 16/11, 46350 Petaling Jaya Selangor Darul Ehsan, Tel:  +603 - 7956 1010 Fax: +603 - 7956 2010. Operations represent your day-to-day performance. They influence portfolio strategy and provide business context for portfolio decision-making. Copyright Profess Consulting Group. – Relevant, Impactful, Distinct, Executable. Multiple strategic initiatives may be used in conjunction to reach your larger business goals, with each initiative serving as a single step in the process. You can look at operational execution as business processes that have to happen by successfully completing tasks on a periodic basis. Strategic initiatives, on the other hand, focus on change. The Role of Business Intelligence In Strategic Planning, Global Performance Technical Consulting Sdn Bhd, When a new objective and measures/KPIs are introduced, When targets for existing measures cannot be achieved through normal operational means, When there is a significant increase in target that requires new approach/method, When there is a risk of a significant drop in current performance due to new circumstances, It is different from normal operations / current processes / departmental accountabilities / job description, It is specific in terms of objectives and scope, The completion, achievement or outcomes can be measured, It must be projectisable, i.e. If the duration is less than a couple of months, then the scope is unlikely to be strategic. Each strategic initiative you create should include clear start and end dates. Strategic growth platforms are longer-term initiatives for high-scale revenue increases. This paper defines initiative as a key manifestation of corporate entrepreneurship, and examines the types of initiative exhibited in a sample of six subsidiaries of multinational corporations. Milestones and tasks should outline the top 4-10 deadlines within the scope of an overall initiative. It’s meant to be the document that makes the vision a reality. You may need to import it above. These decisions may be concerned with possessing new resources, organizing others or reallocating others. Strategic initiatives are the collection of finite-duration discretionary projects and programs, outside the organisation’s day-to-day operational activities, that are designed to help the organisation achieve its targeted performance” – Kaplan and Norton. Specificity: Strategic goals are more specific than, let's say, your role statement, but then can't be too specific either, since you don't want too many of them in your strategic plan. their strategic initiatives and nearly half of respondents (46%) report that communications is an integral and active component of the strategic planning and execution process. – Relevant, Impactful, Distinct, Executable. Relevant. Imagine the scenario: As a CEO you were developing a 5-year strategic plan for the company. Six characteristics of successful strategic plans Published on January 22, 2016 January 22, 2016 • 44 Likes • 10 Comments. However, beyond a … Here are the differences we see between the two: A tactical thinker keeps opportunities and issue separate so they are digestible. And due to time constraint, coupled with the fact that you were already exhausted, you said to your management team “We have completed the bulk of the strategy, now I’ll leave the details to the team”. Strategic decisions deal with harmonizing organizational resource capabilities with the threats and opportunities. Your second-liners then delegated the task of identifying strategic initiatives to the middle management. The scope encompasses many aspects of the initiative such as clearly defined deliverables and outcomes, but it also touches on timelines. For many organizations, the process of determining which initiatives are strategic and which are operational can be challenging. In the excitement of the strategic planning session, it is all too easy to get carried away with a large number of fantastically optimistic initiatives. Measurable: Strategic goals and objectives should be measurable so you can track success. Strategic Initiatives. Probably “Establish New Debt. By: Abdul Hanan Abd Mokti, Senior Consultant, Sageconsulting Sdn Bhd. The insurer has distributed ownership of these initiatives among various groups and management levels so that these efforts don’t become silos in themselves. Characteristics of a strategic leader include being open to change and “left-field” thoughts, because that is precisely what will give you a competitive advantage. A strategic information system is mainly developed to respond to the corporate world and many business initiatives. If you’re an executive and make a concerted effort to support a team member with strong strategic thinking exercises and tools, what type of impact should you expect? The concept of removing an initiative from a scorecard is important because it highlights another key characteristic of effective strategic initiatives: the scope. Clearly defining your strategic initiatives with all of the suggested information is essential for the next steps in your strategy design, especially as you align initiatives with objectives, then prioritize initiatives based on need, resource restraints, etc. Strategic initiatives with defined objective linkages, scopes, descriptions, dates, and deliverables are an excellent start to clearly understanding your strategic project. It can be reassuring simply to log everything—reducing the odds that the organization will miss some critical metric. It makes them sound like they are projects (or programs), which can be managed with formal and rigid process. They started looking at initiatives from the previous years, some of which have been completed, and some to be brought forward to this year. */, {% set headerFontFamily = "Open Sans" %} /* This affects only headers on the site. A strategic initiative must be clear and distinct in the sense that: For example, “Improve Credit Control” is too vague as an initiative to serve the objective “Improved Cash Flow”. Once the strategic analysis of the firm has been completed, the strategy-makers’ responsibility is now to take initiative for setting objectives. It is at this critical point that strategic implementation work begins. Generic examples of commonly selected strategic growth platforms include pursuit of specific and new product areas, entry into new distribution channels, vertical or horizontal integration, and new product development. The seven attributes of an effective strategic plan include: Principles. Topics: 4. The m… By including dates, you put a stake in the ground related to providing a specific deliverable. You may need to import it above. The concept of removing an initiative from a scorecard is important because it highlights another key characteristic of effective strategic initiatives: the scope. Characteristics/Features of Strategic Decisions. Director of Strategic Initiatives Job Description. It is characterized by the following features: 1. hbspt.cta._relativeUrls=true;hbspt.cta.load(2256723, '9746c21a-cb88-4b52-8812-040cf329c22b', {}); The Balanced Scorecard can be broken down into four basic components: Perspectives, Objectives, Measures (also known as “KPIs” in some organizations), and Initiatives. 7 characteristics of effective strategic priorities. {% set baseFontFamily = "Open Sans" %} /* Add the font family you wish to use. A three month project managed by one person might only need a couple of high-level milestones. These objectives would form the basis for formulating strategy: As stated earlier, there can be no strategy without objective. 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