Unlocking the Power of Strategic Initiatives for Business Success
Unlock the power of strategic initiatives to drive your business forward. Explore key insights and practical tips for effective implementation and tracking.
- What are Strategic Initiatives?
- Working with Strategic Initiatives
- Strategic Initiative Records
- Linked Items
What are Strategic Initiatives?
Strategic Initiatives are the work we do and the changes we make in order to achieve our strategic goals.
In many organisations, these are run as projects or programmes of work. But they can be simpler than that.
An initiative is any work that has a defined beginning, middle and end. At the end, the thing you set out to do is done. This distinguishes them from processes, which are activities you repeat over and over again without necessarily having a specific end in sight.
Working with Strategic Initiatives
Strategic Initiatives live in the Planning quadrant of your Strategy Board.
This will give you access to a number of different views or ways of looking at your Strategic Initiatives.
- The Gantt Chart or timeline view. This shows the start, end and duration of each of your initiatives (where these have been provided).
- The 3 Horizons View. This helps you find the right balance between Strategic initiatives which improve the current situation, which grow the business, and which transform the business.
- The Ansoff Matrix. This helps you to distinguish between initiatives which help to deliver existing products and services to existing customers, or new products and/or new services, so that you can appreciate the different challenges each of these presents.
- Funnel: This enables you to move Initiatives from initial consideration, through proposal and approval, into execution and finally to completion. You can also mothball or reject Strategic Initiatives.
- The Goal Matrix: Allows you to map your Strategic Initiatives against the Strategic Goals they aim to help achieve.
- The RASIC Matrix: Allows you to map your Strategic Initiatives against the key resources and stakeholders to make sure your utilising and managing them most effectively.
- The Status Report: Provides a neat summary that helps you to track and report the progress of all your Strategic Initiatives.
- The Scenario Matrix: Allows you to assess the robustness of your Strategic Initiatives against the uncertain outcomes in your scenarios.
Remember, the repository-based nature of StratNavApp.com ensures that your Strategic Initiatives remain consistent across all of these views. This removes the administration of having to do this yourself if you're using something like Excel, PowerPoint, Word or Miro, etc. to manage them.
Strategic Initiative Records
Each Strategic Initiative is supported by a record in which you can record:
- The title of the initiative: this can be a simple descriptor, like "upgrade the CMS" or a more formal code name, like "Project Excelsior".
- A short description of the initiative.
- A short description of the benefits the initiative should bring. You can also link your initiative to the Strategic Goals it will help achieve.
- A short description of the costs. You can also itemise the costs in a list of pairs of cost descriptions and amounts (see below).
- The 3 Horizons horizon in which the initiative is categorised.
- The Initiative's status: under consideration, proposed, approved, started, completed, etc.
- (optional) The initiatives Ansoff Matrix classification, effectively whether it deals with new or existing products/services and customer segments.
- (optional) Planning estimates, such as a proposed start date and estimated duration. Additional, you can say how confident you are in those estimates. (Confidence in estimates tends to start of quite low, and gradually improve as you plan the initiative in more detail)
- The current reported status of the initiative. You can flag it as red, amber or green, depending on how well it is going, with explanatory notes. The system will automatically record the effective date of this status (although you can override this).
Itemising initiative costs
You can describe financial as well as non-financial costs in narrative format. You can also itemise financial costs.
Adding itemised costs
The system will automatically include a blank line for adding a cost. As soon as you fill in that line, the system will add a new blank line. The system will always display at least one blank line for costs.
Editing itemised costs
You can edit the Description and Amount for each itemised cost directly on the screen. You can also click the edit button to add additional details about each itemised cost.
This opens up a further input box, which will allow you to specify:
- Cost recurrence: this will also be displayed as an icon next to the Amount on the main Initiative screen, and can be:
- Lump sum: a single one-off cost paid on a specific date
- Spread: a single one-off cost where payment is spread out between a start and end date.
- Recurring: a recurring cost, occurring at a defined frequency from a start date, and (optionally) to an end date (or indefinitely)
- For Lump Sum costs you will be able to specify the date on which the cost would be incurred. This could be at the start of the initiative, at the end of the initiative, or on a specified date.
- For Spread and Recurring costs, you will be able to specify both a start and end date. In each case, these can be the start of the initiative, the end of the initiative or a specified date. For Recurring Costs you can also specify that they never stop (i.e. they continue indefinitely).
- For Recurring costs, you can also specify a rate of escalation (specified as an annualised percentage growth rate).
Deleting itemised costs
To delete a cost, simply delete the contents of the line (Description and Amount) and the system will clear it away behind the scenes.
Watch a YouTube video demo of working with itemised costs.
As with most things in StratNavApp.com, you can link specific initiatives to other areas of your strategy. For example:
- Strategic Goals the initiative helps to achieve (as mentioned above)
- RAID log
- Actions taken or to be taken to complete the Initiative.
- Initiative Risks and Issues. (See RAID log.)
- Sub-Decisions made about or as part of the Initiative.
- Stakeholders involved in executing the initiative, or who stand to benefit from it.
- The Products, Services and Customer segments impacted by the initiative (especially for the Ansof Matrix View).
- The business Processes the initiative will change.
- Meetings in which the Initiative was discussed.
- You can also attach Files to the initiative. These typically contain support information which extends beyond the scope of StratNavApp.com.