Sunday, August 22, 2021

Business Initiative Management

Keep in mind, behind many critical business initiatives, there are numerous points-of-view and reference points of varying stakeholders, as well as different assumptions of sequence & consequence.

Every business initiative is to solve a certain problem and achieve certain goals. To improve organizational manageability and agility, the business leaders need to check how the business initiative differentiates the organization from its major competitors? Are they competing for best quality, cost advantage or efficient value chain? Do they use resources and corporate assets efficiently? Can their processes do what they promise? Without a clear vision and strategic planning, leaders often miss the big picture and become complacent or comfortable with the old ways.

The very goal of business initiative management is to set the right priority, align key success factors of the business, streamline business resource, process, capability, capacity to improve overall organizational effectiveness and maturity. 

Great business initiatives should be viewed as an "opportunity" for solving crucial problems or the chains of problems effectively: We live in a dynamic environment with information exponentiality and unprecedented uncertainty. Fundamentally, running a business is a problem-solving continuum. Many organizations are inundated with numerous problems large or small, and get stuck in the daily busyness. To avoid being overwhelmed by the complexity of issues and overcome problem-solving fatigue or impasse, organizations need to take great opportunities for solving crucial problems by assigning their resources and time carefully and solving problems that really matter. Often when you intend to solve one important problem, but perhaps cause more issues or side effects. If you don’t have a sound solution to each newly created problem, you’ll have very little chances to succeed in solving the main problem effectively. Many innovative solutions to intriguing problems need to be made from a much broader and encompassing view that is not possible in linear thinking. So most business initiatives are not spontaneous, but need to be well planned to solve the right problems in the right way.

A solution is vague or temporary if the problem is not perceived comprehensively. Until the underlying problem is addressed, the symptom or result will continue to return. The smart business initiative is not only the “know-how” process to get things done, but also encourages critical reasoning - why do we do it; and creativity. It’s critical to challenge, debate, and open the dialogues to close blind spots, take the logical scenario, show versatility and flexibility in creating multiple choices to formulate premium solutions. A solution should match a real problem and with that in mind, the one thing that changes would be to have a phrase at the heart of everything the organization does, to build a solution-driven, flexible and highly effective business.

Innovative business initiatives advocate diversity; diversification stimulates change and sparks creativity: At the strategic level, business initiatives need to cultivate the culture you desire and drive changes you perceive. When a business becomes overly complex and people get frustrated and annoyed by not being able to accomplish things easily, this drives the search for simpler concepts and methods, which is the need to take the innovative initiative. The top executives’ sponsorship helps establish early buy-in and support through analysis of how the "initiative" impacts the people in the organization as well as the long term perspective of the business growth. To initiate changes effectively and continuously, decide on how you will change your behaviors and workplace environment and then act. Those businesses that are unwilling to genuinely embrace diversity, or unable to know how to tap their diverse resources, or recognize merit and ideas, will not be able to survive, leave alone thrive.

Diversification and differentiation make the business stand out by allowing the organization to close innovation bottlenecks and develop the unique business competencies. The emergent technologies and practices make it possible to expand the talent pool, to build inclusive teams with coherent diversification from cognitive difference to complementary skill sets. Leaders should facilitate ideation sessions that uncover big and innovative ideas that disrupt complacent and conventional thinking, and manage innovative business initiatives systematically. They can help to fine-tune the "DNA" of the company to build a creative workplace by streamlining the resource allocation and configuration of the value-creating business processes and capabilities seamlessly.

It is really important to focus on a few initiatives and prioritize them: There are strategic initiatives and tactical initiatives. The reality is that there are a lot of things that can go wrong and it is not always easy to identify what is important. To keep eyes on what matters, identify what generates the most value for the company and express that in strategic objectives, analyze potential pitfalls and brainstorm pros and cons of different business initiatives. Prioritization brings transparency to the organization, creating internal competition among projects, and assigning resources scientifically. Laser focuses on the most critical challenge business needs to overcome, and also engages employees by co-setting their work goals which are stretchy, but not too stressful. With emerging opportunities and risks, the dynamic prioritization all wrapped up in an adaptive plan that turns out to be most critical to the success of strategy management.

Strategic business initiatives require the highest risk-taking at a strategic value chain; including organization, investments, and assets. The strategy is important, and it can be difficult to find the right allocation of resources to implement the dynamic plan while simultaneously monitoring feedback, managing risks, and meeting obligations to staff and customers. Only initiatives that support the achievement of those strategic objectives should be implemented. It’s also important to measure the efficiency of process execution because business processes must integrate with and support the final outcome to generate revenue. The real challenge is to understand your priorities, and know where and how you can and should improve, leverage available resources, focus on the most important things, boost the energy and excitement to achieve the ultimate results.

Keep in mind, behind many critical business initiatives, there are numerous points-of-view and reference points of varying stakeholders, as well as different assumptions of sequence & consequence. Any initiative, even though a very technical one should have a business objective associated with it. It’s important to optimize business management capability and capacity, enhance progressive changes and unlock business potential consistently.


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