What are Strategic Initiatives?
Strategic initiatives are programs which start or accelerate beneficial change in the organization, enhancing the transformation of vision into results. They require an array of leadership and management skills. Each organization defines the category of strategic initiatives somewhat differently, but the characteristics generally include:
1) Changes market or competitive position,
2) Cuts across functional or organizational boundaries,
3) Involves multi-year investment of resources,
4) Exceeds some investment threshold,
5) Involves C-Level sponsorship, and
6) Is visible to the Board.
Some organizations confuse strategic initiatives with strategic objectives or strategic goals. A strategic initiative is an endeavor - a work effort - undertaken to achieve a goal.
Strategic initiatives are programs, composed of projects, which are aligned and deliver a stream of benefits to stakeholders. Implementation of a strategic initiative requires alignment and commitment, which requires both managerial skills (planning, accountability, definition, controls) as well as leadership (sensitivity to stakeholder needs, effective use of power and politics, listening, courage, enthusiasm).