Writing Strategic Initiatives

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Okay, so you've written your strategy document and got it all signed off by management. Now the hard work begins.

It is likely that each of the goals outlined in your strategy will require a number of initiatives that move the organisation towards that goal. Each initiative will need to be described in sufficient detail that management feels comfortable that the initiative is both (a) going to work and (b) be aligned with the goal or goals in question.

Writing the case for a strategic initiative is just like a cost/benefit analysis, but applied to the long-term. They are normally expressed in terms of drivers and benefits.

Drivers are the current "points of pain". They are concrete instances of issues that are either causing problems now, or can be reasonably foreseen as causing problems in the near future.

On the flip side, benefits need to express a long-term, sustainable "plus" from adopting the recommended course of action. Benefits can be:

  • Positive: The initiative will save money, reduce staff time, or deliver an additional capability.
  • Defensive: The initiative will reduce financial or legal risk, or ensure compliance with a legal requirement.

Remember that benefits are the basis on which the success of the initiative will be measured, so ideally they should express a tangible outcome. "Increased staff morale" is very difficult to measure, but "reduced staff turnover" is a reasonably proxy that it much easier to analyse.