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Aligning Strategic Initiatives With an Organisation's Vision
By Shamsa Rana

May 20, 2024 | 7 min read

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Written by

Shamsa Rana

Interim Product Director

Shamsa has 25 years of experience in helping businesses define their focus. She has worked with large corporates, smaller start-ups and the UN Global Compact, where she headed strategic partnerships. Her work has focused on product development and go-to-market approaches / strategies. She is an investor in start-ups and has helped to reframe business and operating models as a mentor.

At the heart of any organisation is its vision, or what it aims to become or achieve. This provides direction and inspiration. Strategic initiatives are concrete and actionable plans that translate the vision into reality.

Did you know 48% of all organisations fail to meet at least half of their strategic goals [1]?

As companies navigate rapid technological advancements, evolving market trends, and increasing global competition, the alignment between what they aim to achieve (their vision) and how they plan to get there (their strategic initiatives) is paramount. 

Businesses tend to struggle when transitioning from strategy formulation to implementation. Failure arises from common and easy-to-solve reasons: poor communication, lack of leadership, and the failure to align strategic initiatives with an organisation’s vision.

 

In my experience, to successfully implement strategic initiatives, these initiatives must become a priority; a focal point to an organisation’s objectives. Aligning strategic initiatives with an organisation’s vision is imperative for delivering long-term success and relevance. It is also necessary to ensures the people within your organisation are working towards a unified goal and maximising the impact of strategic actions.

This can be done effectively by any organisation that takes the following active steps [2]:

1. Create buy-in across the organisation

Employees at all levels are critical in delivering strategic initiatives during implementation but change creates resistance. Successfully mitigating resistance requires ensuring buy-in from both key stakeholders and the wider organisation. 

To achieve this, an organisation needs to focus on three practices: 

(a) developing a shared vision and core values: An organisation’s vision that is clearly articulated and understood by all members of the organisation helps in setting the right priorities for strategic initiatives.

(b) communicating clearly and improving communication both vertically and horizontally: Communication plays a critical role in ensuring that the alignment between the vision and strategic initiatives is understood and embraced throughout the organisation. Regular updates, and transparent discussions about opportunities or challenges, helps keep everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction.

 

and

(c) creating employee accountability: Employees are more likely to be motivated and engaged when they see how their work contributes to a larger purpose or goal. An organisation must invest the time to embed a shared vision of execution, where responsibility is translated to the individual level. This creates accountability, making clear the connection between daily tasks and the organisation’s aspirations.

 

2. Align with purpose and direction

Consider how well each strategic initiative aligns with the organisation’s vision and intended direction. Assess each initiative through this lens and if any of them do not align with both the organisation vision and intended direction, deprioritise them. In a rapidly changing environment, alignment allows for quicker adjustments to strategies, as it is clear what needs to be preserved (the vision) and what can be adapted (the initiatives).

 

3. Assess each initiative for Return on Investment (ROI) and impact on Key Performance Indicators (KPI) 

Define each initiative’s potential return on investment, as well as time and effort. When assessing each strategic initiative’s ROI, think of its potential impact on the KPIs that matter most to the organisation. This ensures that all efforts are evaluated based on how well they contribute to achieving the long-term goals of the organisation. It also helps in making informed decisions about where to focus resources in the future.

4. Identify anticipated value creation

Identify the value and value drivers that each strategic initiative could create for the organisation’s stakeholders (starting with customers). Value drivers are factors that increase the worth of a product, service, asset, or business. Map these value drivers against the strategic initiatives, prioritising the projects that create the most value. This is crucial for ensuring that efforts are focused on what matters most, and preventing resources (time, money, personnel) from being wasted on activities that do not contribute to the ultimate goals.

Conclusion

The alignment of strategic initiatives with an organisation’s vision is about making conscious choices to ensure that every effort, no matter how small, contributes to the larger goal. By embedding the vision into strategic planning and execution, organisations can navigate more effectively and move towards their desired future with confidence. 

[1] Cote, Catherine, 2022. Why is strategic planning important? Harvard Business Review. Oct 6.

[2] Cote, Catherine, 2022. How to prioritize strategic initiatives. Harvard Business Review. Dec 22.

Sources: 

Cote, Catherine, 2022. Why is strategic planning important? Harvard Business Review. Oct 6.

Cote, Catherine, 2022. How to prioritize strategic initiatives. Harvard Business Review. Dec 22.

 

Gibson, Kate. 2023. How to get employee buy-in to execute your strategic initiatives. Nov 9.​​

 

Saalmuller, Lauren. 2022. 6 tips for transitioning from strategy formulation to implementation. Harvard Business Review. Nov 17.

 

Trevor, Jonathan and Varcoe, Barry. 2016. A Simple Way to Test Your Company’s Strategic Alignment. Harvard Business Review. May 16.

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