Sequencing Organizational Initiatives to Maximize Efficiency
In a world where Initiatives are often unintentionally planned in silos, a simple solution of sequencing can be the key to maximum efficiency and increased growth.
When you have alignment, you create efficiencies in the project management process. But how can you determine if your organization can benefit from sequencing initiatives? Ask yourself the following:
- Do you have a clear organizational project landscape?
- Have you spent time thinking through the project landscape?
- Have you documented it, or does it just exist in my head?
- Do you have a strategic roadmap for your 2017 sales initiatives?
Create Alignment to Reduce Wasted Resources
For example, when defining a new sales process, and the marketing department has no idea about such an initiative, it can create heartburn in getting the two departments on point. If marketing is making a branding decision, it affects how an account rep positions a sale, which is a huge oversight. When there is a disconnect of either ilk, there’s often unnecessary duplicated (or obsolete) work, rework, or general confusion.
Take that department, for example. The team would have been creating old messages and content for an obsolete initiative. Or perhaps marketing and sales unknowingly created messaging around the greater effort simultaneously, resulting in wasted time and duplicate work.
When you map out the spectrum of organizational initiatives, it enables executive leadership to think through how the initiatives are intertwined, identify any interdependencies, and ensure efficient utilization of resources.
With resources already limited in any size business, patience for duplication of work is generally slim. When initiatives languish, work is duplicated, and departments are inadvertently pitted against one another —it’s not just productivity that’s affected. Morale takes a hit, especially when a person or team works on a project only to find out their finished work needs to be adjusted because another department was working on the same tasks. The answer to this pattern of misalignment and miscommunication? Sequence the initiatives.
Sequencing organizational Initiatives is critical for several reasons, both financial and strategic
- It coordinates numerous departments to be on task
- Time and resources are scarce to devote to initiatives
- Ensures the right people are working on the right problems at the right time
- Will pay long-term dividends when implemented well in advance of initiatives
One of the keys to successful sequencing is the identification and prioritization of initiatives at the start of the year to the best of the organization’s ability.
- The company should reassess the sequence of initiatives monthly/quarterly to account for external and internal forces affecting the planned sequence
- If there is no dedicated project management office, designate an individual(s) to keep track and drive initiatives throughout the year
The disorganization of initiatives between departments can be attributed to ego, control issues, as well as a lack of alignment. It’s not uncommon to work with a client to create a playbook for new sales hires and find initiatives that overlap. In this environment, nobody has any idea what everybody else is doing, even when working on the same project.
By default, sales is a discipline where most of the work is solitary, with individual goals. That’s why having people dedicated to the project manager role is essential: They’re objectively keeping track of dependencies while looking to see that things are sequenced and aligned.
Map Out Organizational Initiatives To Identify Interdependencies
Mapping out organizational initiatives is about thinking things through upfront. You need to identify interdependencies so that you can move resources around to help. There may be initiatives going on that don’t have interdependencies and whose resources are spread thin.
Often, the C-Suite will dole out initiatives to managers, and the managers just go to work on the initiatives without taking a step back to see how they fit into the organization’s overall picture and goals.
I believe sequencing is the missing link in the strategic planning process. Moreover, it should be a component of the strategic planning process. You need to get it down on paper vs. swirling around your head, with an analysis of the resources required to complete each initiative. It should also consider the existing initiatives that carry over from the previous year.
The idea of silos and breaking down silos has been around for a while. Every company is now moving toward a matrix structure, which in theory is good, but in practice, it makes getting a status or output a lot more complex—all the more reason to have a strategic roadmap upfront.