Establishing Key Initiatives for the organization makes a Strategic Framework a lot more “real” for many employees.
Our Strategic Framework begins with a Vision Statement. It then cascades through Pillars of Success, Strategic Objectives and Measures. It is completed with an identification of significant projects or programs that will be implemented in the short to medium term. The achievement of the Key Initiatives likely means we are on the road to hitting our Strategic Objectives and achieving the Vision we have set for ourselves.
Benefits of Key Initiatives
The benefits of including Key Initiatives within the Strategic Framework are numerous. It helps to scale the challenge in front of us. It answers some of the planning team’s immediate questions: What do we have to do in order to make progress on this framework? Where are our most critical and immediate challenges and opportunities? What’s the scope of the required work? Do we have a balance of initiatives that will engage the entire organization, or are we piling on work in only one part of the organization? What’s the urgency required? Have we prioritized our Key Initiatives? Can we afford the likely investments in time and money?
At this stage in the planning process, the formulation of Key Initiatives helps to address the nature of change that will be required within the organization. The planning process should generate questions about whether we prosper with process improvements and additional capacity, or are we in need of innovation that will change our engine of growth? Are we anticipating improvements or transformation in order to achieve our vision and remain on a sustainable trajectory?
A Tool to Engage Employees
The Strategic Framework should be a tool to engage and empower our employees to act decisively on the things that matter most. Communicating the Strategic Framework should be job 1 for the leadership team. They must recognize that employees need to understand, believe and act on the strategic direction of the organization. For many employees, the rest of the Strategic Framework is conceptual. But with the addition of the key Initiatives, it becomes a clear road map. If people can see what their piece of the pie is within the organization, it helps to generate buy-in.
Agreeing on the Key Initiatives helps to create alignment between the budget, any work plans and the strategic plan. The Key Initiatives need to be costed and become an integral part of the budget. They need to be part of operational planning. The leadership team must ensure the continuity between their long-term plan, the budget and any work plans.
Key Initiatives make it real and avoid planning for planning’s sake.