This article is the fifth of an eight-part series to help you break through traditional growth barriers. Any one of these eight lessons, applied with confidence and persistence, can make a difference. Collectively, they can drive significant outcomes. Are you ready to begin a journey of Breakthrough Growth?
In the last article, we talked about the action plan and how you will identify specific initiatives that will operationalize your strategy. Let’s dig into the process for creating them.
Have you heard the phrase, “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach”? It just means you can’t eat everything you see. That applies to project work. We always want to do more than our time and money allows.
A recent client asked me to help them get traction on their strategic initiatives. The issue was easily identified. They had 27 initiatives, for a staff of 12 leaders. They had been working on them for years and accomplished parts of some initiatives, but not all of any of them. The group was overworked and under resourced. The list didn’t even count the fact they were changing facilities and moving the whole operations in a few months.
First, we re-thought the strategy and defined what would be game-changing. Then we developed new initiatives, and finally we ranked them. There were still too many but more importantly, the sense of urgency on each was impractical. Eventually we got down to 8. Then we did the real work of determining how fast we could tackle each one and built a high-level master timeline.
We looked at the projects that would carry out each of these 8 initiatives, and then at the steps in each project, to identify the work load on each department in a given time period. We made adjustments in timing to make sure that projects would be scheduled realistically in terms of both cash flow and resource availability. This is called load-leveling, and once you have load-leveled the work, you have a much better chance of having the plan succeed!
Sometimes reality stinks, but it is reality. Typically, you can’t do everything you want to do and you can’t do everything at once. So, once again pick the most important project and start it first. Then schedule the other projects that time and resource permit. In determining how many projects you can have “above the line” ask “How much can a department, leadership team, or other group reasonably do without dropping balls? How much resource can you reasonably invest in a given time frame without breaking the bank?
This timeline becomes a management tool that can be used to track progress of all initiatives, within and across departments.