Strategic Plans are only useful if they are well executed. Transformational Initiatives, the implementation tool for building business value, suffer the same consequences. You may question whether your company or business area has a culture of execution, but to get things off the ground, you’re going to have to determine if you have a culture of High Initiative.
Initiative falls into that category of hard to define but you know it when you see it. High initiative environments buzz with energy. Focus groups kick off to study a new market-segmentation strategy. Pilot teams review compensation alternatives. Individual employees take action whenever something needs immediate attention. Transformational Initiatives get moving right away.
In high initiative environments, projects take place simultaneously. This is not to say they are well coordinated or aligned with the direction of the company, but the overwhelming urge on the part of employees to be a part of something, no matter how small, leads them to volunteer and share their valuable time.
Is initiative present in your organization? Here’s a quick self-test:
1. Do employees take action immediately when faced with non-routine issues that require attention?
2. Is most of the staff committed to growing professionally, personally and technically?
3. Does the staff feel that leadership is committed to a growth pattern that will create opportunities?
4. Does your organization normally discuss failures and look for ways to improve?
5. Does it seem like things are never finished?
6. Does the company spend more time discussing how to grow revenue rather than how to cut costs?
7. Do employees generally just “make things happen” and keep everyone informed on how it went?
The more times you answered “yes,” the more initiative your organization shows. The higher your corporate initiative, the better your chances for getting big transformational changes off the ground.