You’ve put a lot of time, effort and resources towards a key initiative for your organization. You may have spent a lot of political capital to get it moving and a lot is riding on its success. But, it’s not going as planned.
Deadlines are being missed. Costs are higher than the plan. Different people and functions are infighting about who does what and when.
Why is this happening?
Is the initiative you are on the line for poor in its design? Doubtful. You likely wouldn’t have gotten it off the ground if it was.
Is the finish line too far off and it’s hard to see how to get there? Possibly, but there are steps in place to get you to the end.
Could the issue be systemic from an organization perspective and related to how aligned it is to its mission and vision? More likely than you might think.
When an organization’s employee base is bought into and connected with the mission, vision and strategic plan of their organization, a variety of things fall into place:
Many organizations have alignment gaps. The farther you go down an organization, the less connection there is to the mission. When a broad set of people are not connected, they don’t see how the initiative fits into the overall scheme. They pick holes at it. They prioritize other items they see as more important for their role. When momentum down in the organization for your initiative wanes, it’s hard to get it back.
If you look at this issue from an an organizational perspective rather than looking at tactical issues, you will see systemic, alignment-related reasons your initiatives, and other programs in your organization, are floundering:
If you are at the top of the organization, and all three of the reasons above can be put on you, there’s a lot in your control. Getting an organization aligned to its mission, vision and strategic plan should always be your number 1 priority. Everything else that’s done on a daily basis flows off of that. You shouldn’t have excuses that you are in the middle of this or that, or there’s this fire that needs to be put out. Take care of those, sure. But, you need to right the ship or it will always list, and may tip over.
If you are at a leadership level lower down the organization, and don’t have the ability to drive an alignment journey, you can use the concepts posted in our blog post about selling your Plan after the fact. The same concepts would apply.
You have a great initiative. It will positively impact your organization and those it serves. Don’t worry about blame or prior mistakes. Look forward to the possibilities and strive on.