A strategic plan involves your entire company — it’s your approach to outlining your goals and determining your vision for your organization’s future. This definition may seem broad, but every business is different, and the strategic plan you create will reflect your team’s unique aspirations. One of the only commonalities in strategic planning is using initiatives that serve as stepping stones to completing your team’s objectives.
What’s the difference between a strategic initiative and a day job? How can you implement strategic initiatives to grow your company? Is it possible to tackle strategic initiatives amid daily tasks? Continue reading to learn more about how to do strategic planning the right way.
What Is the Difference Between a Strategic Initiative and Your Day Job?
Strategic initiatives focus on the future of your company and link long-term goals to everyday operations. For example, you may create a new digital marketing initiative to optimize your website for search engine results. Daily tasks will be assigned to achieve this goal, which will drive more traffic to your website, help you gain clients and boost sales. Other examples might include initiatives to reduce hiring costs, improve workplace culture or create a new department.
Essentially, a strategic initiative is an outline of a plan that helps your company achieve its goals. Without an initiative, you’ll have an array of projects that don’t necessarily contribute to an overarching end goal. Try thinking of the initiative as the framework for a comprehensive strategic plan. This framework gives the projects a purpose, ensuring they’re focused and intentional.
In comparison, the work you do at your day job is meant to generate income and keep the business up and running. This tactical work includes customer service, manufacturing your product, delivering your product or service and training employees. Tactical work focuses on what needs to be done at the moment or by the end of the day, while strategic initiatives focus on long-term goals.
These initiatives are separated into individual tasks that are implemented into a daily work schedule. The initiative won’t be completed in a single day like other daily tasks, but they contribute to the greater good of the company.
Why Are Strategic Initiatives Important?
Strategic initiatives create a way for companies to achieve their specific objectives. These initiatives help company visions become a reality and explain how your employees will help you get where you’re going.
A strategic initiative is a framework that allows you to track, review and measure project success so you can get the most out of your effort. The formula for creating a strategic initiative is as follows:
- Setting the goal: Know what you plan to do before starting. Take your time to decide what initiatives you have the resources and capacity to achieve in the long term.
- Setting the objectives: The objectives should be specific and measurable steps to help you fulfill your strategic initiative. Your objectives will be like stepping stones that help you achieve your long-term initiative.
- Creating a strategy: Take each of your objectives and figure out how you will meet them. Various tasks will require different strategies and assistance from multiple departments.
- Creating a plan: Your plan will help your form your objectives and develop smaller tasks to help you achieve your objectives. Your entire team should understand your plan and their roles in helping bring your vision to life.
- Executing the plan: Now that your plan is in place and you have defined your objectives and tasks, you can get the rest of your team on board. Guide and direct them so they’re completing tasks within your estimated time frame. You can also monitor their progress and meet with them regularly to ensure your set plan is on schedule.
Why Is It Difficult to Implement a Strategic Plan?
Incorporating a strategic plan into your day job requires planning. Be aware of the potential difficulties to overcome them:
- Lack of human resources: Many companies fail to implement strategic initiatives because they lack people to complete required tasks. There may even be too few people to implement a strategic plan successfully. Scale your objectives so they’re achievable.
- Lack of financial resources: Financial resources are just as necessary as human resources. With finite resources, it’s essential to judge which tasks are the most important to help your company achieve its goals.
- Difficulty planning: Strategic plans require a large number of steps, and timing is key. Be realistic with your goals and how much time you and your employees have when planning.
- Resistance to change: Strategic plans can require a large task force and help from multiple departments within your company. Some employees may not agree with the implemented changes or their new responsibilities, resulting in a lack of effort. Management should make an effort to convince all staff members that the changes will benefit everyone, reducing the amount of resistance and boosting morale.
- Teamwork requirements: When you make a strategic plan, different departments will have to work together. Build teamwork skills, teach effective communication strategies and address any friction between departments for a successful plan.
How to Incorporate a Strategic Initiative Into Your Day Job
While there are some challenges in implementing a strategic plan, there are ways to incorporate the tasks into each team members’ day job. By delegating, prioritizing certain tasks and demonstrating quality leadership, you can achieve your long-term goals.
Approximately 20% of a team members’ time should be dedicated to strategic tasks, while the remaining 80% is dedicated to regular job tasks. Splitting up a schedule like this is easier with delegation.
When you delegate a task, you trust others to handle various responsibilities. You’re showing your team members that you trust them enough to handle tasks you’re accountable for. It also improves communication and productivity among coworkers.
Assess each task that needs to be completed to achieve your strategic objectives and determine what skills are required for the most success. Also, include the frequency of each task and its value to the project. Once you’ve created a list that separates each task by skill, frequency and value, you can start assigning projects to different team members.
Strategic tasks of high value should be assigned to team members who will have the biggest impact on the associated objective. They prioritize these high-value tasks while working on daily tasks. Medium value tasks don’t have as significant an impact on the end goal but are still important. Low-value tasks won’t make or break your end goal and should be completed when possible but can be moved aside if a daily task becomes more essential to the function of your business.
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