Blog Article

Shrewd Strategies to Combat
Initiative Overload

Stop Trying to Do Too Much With Too Little
AMY ROSS, MANAGER — BRAND AND PRODUCT MARKETING

Initiative overload is all too common in businesses today. In an effort to outsmart and outperform the competition, many companies are launching new initiatives at a rapid pace. And then employees are asked to juggle numerous projects simultaneously. The problem with this is that every time a new goal is introduced, an existing one inevitably suffers. 

Consider these findings from a survey conducted by the Project Management Institute (PMI):

  • Very few organizations (9%) rate themselves as excellent on successfully executing initiatives to deliver strategic results. Consequently, only 56% of strategic initiatives meet their original goals and business intent.
  • This poor performance results in organizations losing $109 million for every $1 billion invested in projects and programs.
  • Projects and programs that are aligned to an organization’s strategy are completed successfully more often than projects that are misaligned (71% versus 48%).

Executives surveyed say the main reasons initiatives fail are insufficient communication (59%) and lack of leadership (56%). 

 – PMI’s report Enabling Organizational Change through Strategic Initiatives

If your business is trying to do too much with too little, prioritization is essential. Initiatives should be separated into three categories:

  1. On Strategy: These are the initiatives that clearly align with your corporate strategy. These activities will move your business forward. 
  2. Off Strategy: Often these are things that your competitors are doing or that a customer has suggested. They may be well-meaning ideas. However, if they’re not directly tied to your overall goals, you shouldn’t waste your time and energy.  You have more important things to do. 
  3. Parking Lot: Maybe you’re unsure about an initiative or you don’t have the resources to tackle it at the moment. Plan to reevaluate these activities at a later date.  

Whenever a new initiative is introduced, take the time to analyze it and confirm that it lines up with your corporate objectives — and that you have sufficient resources to devote to it. This will greatly boost your chances of success. Other tips:

  • Establish clear metrics and milestones, ensuring all team members understand how performance will be measured. 
  • Define owners of the various activities so employees understand their roles.
  • Implement a post-mortem evaluation process once an initiative has been completed so you can learn from it. Determine what went well and what could have been improved upon.

Another way to get more done is to choose the right partner to help you manage your many projects. We can help by taking activities off of your plate so you can focus on other matters. Contact us today to learn about marketing communications that deliver on your brand’s promise.

This content also appears on PoweringYourBrand.com.