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Don’t Just Get it Done, Get the Right Things Done!

Last week I wrote about four strategies for “getting it done” in organizations. In other words, following through and executing on the plan.

But there’s one very important step that needs to happen first – making sure you’re executing on the right projects and initiatives. Otherwise, you may be getting things done that don’t support your vision of winning and don’t help the organization reach the desired destination.

To ensure that you’re getting the right things done, I recommend a strategic value ranking tool for each new initiative currently under consideration or already in the planning process. This involves ranking eight criteria (or however many you determine are relevant) to determine whether the initiative supports your vision of winning or will dilute your efforts (but feel like you are really busy).

These criteria include:

  1. Strategy
  2. Revenue
  3. Profit margin
  4. End-user focus
  5. Emerging markets
  6. Operational efficiency
  7. Brand equity
  8. Other considerations

Here’s how it works:

The first criterion (strategy) measures the impact an initiative will have on achieving your core strategies. For each of the following that apply, assign a score of 5:

  • Directly supports a key strategy for the current year
  • Facilitates market penetration of a targeted sector
  • Enhances market share capture/retention
  • Furthers brand building
  • Furthers customer acquisition or retention
  • Addresses a confirmed customer need
  • Is necessary for long-term growth

For each of the following that apply, assign a score of 1:

  • Indirect or no clear link to current strategy (could be longer term)
  • Limited research or lack of clarity on sector, product needs, etc.
  • Limited research or lack of clarity on market share/penetration
  • Does not have a direct correlation to enhancing the brand
  • Maintains status quo with customers, with little to no value added in additional acquisition or retention of high-value customers
  • Customer need is unclear or speculative, or addresses more general issues versus specific known needs
  • Short-term oriented with little to no value in the longer-term; nice to have but not critical

The second criterion measures how an initiative will contribute to revenue. For each of the following that apply, assign a score of 5:

  • Has a known timeframe
  • Has a known direct link between initiative and revenue
  • A delay in implementing the initiative will have significant (negative) revenue impact

For each of the following that apply, assign a score of 1:

  • Has unknown or unclear impact on short and/or long-term revenue
  • Delay in initiative has no immediate or significant revenue impact
  • Contribution to revenue is longer term and more speculative at the current time

Continue this 5/1 ranking process for each of the remaining six criteria. (For a complete list of all the ranking statements, please visit this link, and download a free copy of our Strategic Value Factors Grid.

Once you have completed all eight categories, tally your scores in the matrix provided on our site.

A few things to keep in mind: this grid is not designed to be used as a mathematical formula to determine a yes or no vote on an initiative. I don’t recommend averaging all the criteria to determine a final overall score, as this could easily turn the grid into a complex mathematical process that clouds rather than clarifies your decision. And I would never recommend starting or stopping an initiative based solely on the numbers placed on this grid.

The idea is simply to get as much clarity as possible in terms of whether or not an initiative supports your core strategies. Therefore, the numbers on the grid should serve as a starting point for discussing why your organization should or should not focus on a particular initiative, and not as the final arbitrator of a yes or no decision.

This values grid also makes an excellent tool for evaluating ongoing projects that seem to have gotten off track. Your gut-feel tells you to drop the initiative, but organizational inertia keeps it going. Using this value grid can provide needed impetus for putting the brakes on existing initiatives that no longer align with your vision of winning.

Getting it done (execution) is essential for winning in today’s fast-moving markets. But only if you get the right things done!

Call to action: Pick one key initiative, new or ongoing, and apply the grid. How does it change the discussion around that initiative or help you see it in a new way?

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