Category Archives: Success Principles for Strategic Initiatives

Fundamentals that need to be present for strategic success.

Three Tips for Leading Strategic Alliances

Strategic alliances are a growing subset of strategic initiatives. A Strategic Alliance is a relationship between two or more parties where they collaborate to capture an opportunity or extend their reach into complementary areas. Author and consultant Greg Githens has participated in many strategic alliances, both as a leader and as a consultant and offers three tips that will increase the probability of success. Tip #1 – Meet in Person, Frequently. Tip #2 – Find and Articulate Strategic Insights. Tip #3 – Explicitly discuss risks, risk tolerances and risk response strategies. Continue reading

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B.A.R.E.D. – Five Domains for Program Management Performance

Program management performance domains can be understood as B.A.R.E.D: Benefits, Alignment, Roadmapping, Engagement, and Decisions. The article illustrates how BARED is applied in Wal-Mart’s strategic initiative for sustainable operations in China. Continue reading

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Strategy Execution Priority #1: Effectively Communicate Strategic Decision(s)

Executives say that the top priority for strategy execution is to effectively communicate the decisions made. Three examples of good communications are provided. The basic message to the reader is to think through the announcement process. Continue reading

Posted in Examples of Strategic Initiatives, How to Improve Your Story Telling Chops, Success Principles for Strategic Initiatives | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

The Business Value Proposition

Leaders of strategic initiatives need to have a working knowledge of the various perspectives on value propositions because organizations often charter strategic initiatives to close the gap (or create advantage) on value propositions. Using Best Buy’s Renew Blue strategic initiative, Greg Githens describes the business canvas approach and VALiD approaches to understanding value propositions. Continue reading

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Use Small Wins to Attract Allies To Your Strategic Initiative (and Overcome Shabby Thinking)

Organizations often use strategic initiatives as a tool for improving operations. The success rate for these process-improvement initiatives is about 1 in 3. I find it best to think of tool and process deployment as a social process of adopting an innovation. The bottoms-up approach of small wins is a useful alternative to autocratic approaches. A small win, defined by Karl Weick, is a “series of concrete, complete outcomes of moderate importance that build a pattern that attracts allies and deters opponents.” An example is provided, with the leadership lessons of defining benefits, being authentic, generating trust, and encouraging experimentation.

The word “opponent” is a bit of an overstatement for most internal change efforts.The opponent is often not a person, it is a ill-defined ideology. Recommendations: Base your conclusions on good evidence, not gut feelings. Don’t let half-truths go unchallenged; over time they become accepted truth. Continue reading

Posted in Strategy, Ambiguity, and Strong-Minded Thinking, Success Principles for Strategic Initiatives, Transforming the Organization, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Strategic Initiatives | What Are the Metrics That Matter?

Leaders of strategic initiatives should regard good metrics as a priority. Metrics will help foster learning, support the strategic initiative story, integrate the many components, and encourage good decision making. People can only pay attention to a handful of things, so the question for any change agent is what metrics are preserved and what new metrics are needed to encourage people to move in new directions. A good metric – or set of metrics – does these six things:1. It measures something important. 2.It has relevance to the audience. 3. It measures something that is directly controllable by individuals or small groups. 4.It is resistant to gaming. 5. It is a member of a very small, lean set of measurements. 6. The set of metrics includes both leading and lagging indicators.
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The “20%-of-Your-Time” Rule-of-Thumb

Gaining the commitment of the right resources is arguably the greatest success factor for strategic initiatives. I inevitably hear people on the strategic initiative team verbalize this pattern: “This performance gap is huge and needs to be addressed. I am happy to be part of the solution. But where am I going to find time to participate?” When resourcing of a strategic initiative, follow this rule, “Each key player in the strategic initiative must devote at least 20% of their time to the initiative.” The article also includes a list of five challenges for resourcing a strategic initiative: Ambiguity about purpose, Novelty, Run-the-business work consumes time, Corporate-level budgeting & talent management processes don’t plan with enough granularity, Burn-out and balance of personal life with work life. Continue reading

Posted in Strategic Planning Issues for Strategic Initiatives, Success Principles for Strategic Initiatives, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

That’s the Fact, Jack: Data Drive Strategic Initiatives

A strategic initiative is more likely to be successful if there is an accessible record of facts, data, and patterns. Domino’s Pizza and Google are discussed as two good examples where data support a valid, useful diagnosis and narrative for the strategic initiative. By contrast, a failed initiative at Cooper Tire failed to convince middle managers. Because stakeholders often don’t agree on strategic direction, the leader can use tools like the ladder of inference and White Hat thinking to get facts and connect them to strategy. Continue reading

Posted in Competencies of Strategic Initiative Leaders, Strategic Planning Issues for Strategic Initiatives, Strategy Coaching and Facilitation, Success Principles for Strategic Initiatives, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Apple versus Samsung: Three Lessons for Strategic Initiative Leaders

Here are three lessons for strategic initiative leaders drawn from analysis of the Samsung Apple iPhone patent infringement verdict. 1. Tell the better story. 2. Make better strategic bets. 3. Value originality. Continue reading

Posted in How to Improve Your Story Telling Chops, Success Principles for Strategic Initiatives | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Four Things Strategic Initiative Leaders Need to Know About Requirements

Requirements capture and management is critical to the success of a strategic initiative. Leaders need to know: 1. It is some of the hardest work, 2. Requirements are a concept that is distinct from solution design, 3. Capturing requirements requires structure, 4. Integrate requirements into program governance. Continue reading

Posted in Program & Portfolio Management, Success Principles for Strategic Initiatives, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments