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How to Follow Through with Your Initiatives

A businesses' core competencies should be the the centerpiece of their day-to-day focus. If a company cannot find it's niche and strengths and operate within them, they will not be able to succeed. Aside from core business operations, are growth opportunities.

These require a different set of skills and metrics to successfully capture, but all should stem from an awareness of your customer's priorities and pain points.

At the beginning of every year, or perhaps quarterly, enterprises create 'initiatives' or strategic growth opportunities, that will allow them to work as a more effective and efficient organization. Though these initiatives are usually established by upper-management, they require holistic buy-in from the entire enterprise to be successful, and may be a lengthy process. The issue is that these initiatives are often pushed to the back-burner as the daily workflow demands overtake individuals' priorities.

Every business initiative should be started in the following way: ask yourself what business objective this impacts. The path to relate it back to a business objective may be unclear at first, but understanding that an initiative is being implemented to, for example, increase sales, can help with creating your roadmap.

There are various reasons why these initiatives fail, besides workload overload: poor communication, poor project management, trying to do it cheap, poor vendor management, etc. The best example I can use to describe this is losing weight. My initiative at the beginning of the year may be to lose weight. I know how to achieve that goal, through diet and exercise, and I can tell myself that I will do that over the course of the year to make a change for the better, but it sometimes gets lost in the day-to-day. Similar goes for initiatives; it is very easy to say what you plan to do, but the physical action of following through with these plans are often difficult.

The following are two recommendations we typically make for starting up new initiatives:

1) Create a scenario for "quick wins" to be made. This entails defining changes that can immediately and easily be made within your organization to visually improve operations. This results in immediate cooperation from your staff and generates momentum to tackle some of the bigger tasks.

2) Kaizen Blitz. This is an intensive and focused approach to imitative accomplishment by designating hours or days, immediately, to preforming or implementing all of the necessary systems, practices, or technology necessary to accomplish your initiative. This method is great for quick and immediate change within an enterprise, but may result in some employee lashback as they are forced into a differnet or uncomfortable environment.

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