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Strategic Initiatives and Risk

Strategic Initiatives and Risk

When an organisation goes to the trouble of articulating its VISION, MISSION and STRATEGIC objectives, it is a major issue if the organisation does not follow through, by  provisioning INITIATIVES and PROJECTS, to enable STRATEGIC objectives to move forward.

So if you are a reviewer (for example an auditor) why not check out whether the Board and Senior Management are able to recognise high-priority, high-value activities (strategic initiatives and projects) as being necessary for the proper development of organisational strategy; and then check that the Board and Senior Management ensure that resources (money, people and time) flow to those activities?

If there is no additional resourcing for new strategic initiatives or projects or if it is assumed that resources can be stolen from other activities then there is a high risk that the strategic initiative won’t get off the ground, and this in turn might mean that the strategic objective will be stalled.

Resources don’t materialise out of thin air!

Strategy and projects – the connection between the two.

Strategy and projects – the connection between the two.

Looking at a ceiling-hanging mobile the other day it reminded me just how important the notion of connection or connectedness is in our world of risk and control.

We were looking at the business case for a project and something appeared odd. We could see nothing in the business case that connected the project with any of the organisation’s defined strategies. So where was¬†the connection between this project and strategy, defined? A search through all of the remaining project documentation and minutes of early project meetings drew a blank. Nada. Nothing.

Here’s how our thoughts go: you first define your vision, this then leads on to your mission, and this in turn leads you to define your strategic objectives. To deliver the substance of your strategic objectives, over time, you generate strategic initiatives (plans, tools, processes and projects). It should therefore follow that new projects are linked to a strategic objective. There may occasionally be cases where we have to deliver infrastructure in order to support a raft of other initiatives but the business case should make this clear too.

Where a business case doesn’t have connections to strategy, to refreshment (where a legacy process is due for renewal) or to infrastructure then we have an ‘orphaned’ project – a project with no connections. And this raises the spectre of an unconnected project – something that someone thinks ‘is a good idea?‘ or something that someone thinks ‘makes sense?

In the world of risk and control, as in business, most things should be connected. Where they are not we run the risk of wasting money, time and effort on projects that produce no measurable value.

And as strategy is about generating value, whether we operate in the private, public or charitable sectors it’s about time we made more fuss about connections. And, perhaps get a ceiling mobile to remind us?