Strategy: The Q1 review

As you review Q1 performance, don’t forget to ask this question: Do we have the right number of strategic initiatives? If your Q1 results were subpar, you may have too many initiatives underway. Here are a few red flags to look for:

  • The same individual or team owns more than one initiative
  • Initiative owners have no dedicated staff time or insufficient resources to execute
  • Individuals must context-switch from more than two to three initiatives/ projects in a typical day
  • It’s hard to block-out time for exploratory, creative work

Overloading your organization is like asking your team to text while driving in traffic. It’s possible, but inefficient. And certainly more trouble than it’s worth!

If you have too many initiatives, do not try to “power through” in Q2. This will exacerbate the problem. Instead, reduce the number of initiatives underway.* Initiative owners should have no more than one initiative. Initiative team members should be on no more than one or two initiative teams. Focus on completing your Q2 initiatives within the quarter, so you can demonstrate results, gain momentum, and move on to new initiatives in Q3.

If your Q1 results exceeded expectations, you may have too few initiatives. Or the initiatives you have may not be strategic. Effective strategy focuses the organization on the transformations it must make to achieve its vision. All change involves some risk. If you’re not missing at least some of your targets, you are likely under-estimating your capability or capacity.

If you have too few strategic initiatives, identify one strategic objective and key result through which you could accelerate progress toward your vision. Then, double-down on the enabling initiatives (existing or new). When you reset your initiative expectations, don’t forget to align performance goals and incentives accordingly.