Initiative planning involves representatives from the stakeholder groups it seeks to empower. It also seeks to include other stakeholder groups that are invested in the initiative’s outcomes. Prioritizing involvement of stakeholders who are directly affected or have a direct role to play in the initiative is well-recognized as central to successful initiative planning.

Initiatives often represent discrete projects that are unique to the organization. The change often needed to realize the goals of the initiative thus require leadership, stakeholder input, feedback mechanisms, business processes, and training to insure the goals are understood and shared. An initiative is unlikely to realize its goals if internal processes, values, and business systems are unaligned.

Initiative Planning Canvas

Having an effective initiative plan will not make a poor idea successful but represents a significant first step in validating ideas, building alignment, and mobilizing joint efforts in the pursuit of a shared vision. Symptoms of poorly planned initiatives include the following (not exhaustive):

The following Initiative Planning Canvas includes fifteen strategy areas to help your team to improve the initiative’s strategy-to-goal fit thereby strengthening the:

  • Project’s feedback loops,
  • Team’s learning curve, &
  • Quality of the initiative’s outputs

Initiative Planning Canvas

The organizational culture determines what initiatives will be supported as well as those whose impact will be reinforced and sustained over time. Often ignored, a poor fit between the initiative and the organizational culture can result in the following (not exhaustive):

  • Low goal commitment
  • Low strategy commitment, &
  • Low value alignment

The combination of these three can impact:

  • Employee morale,
  • Ability to embrace change, &
  • Performance on parallel efforts

Initiative Planning begins & ends with leadership with the support of assets, processes, and strategies in-between. The alignment of values and efforts is strengthened by organizational culture. As a feedback loop that helps find, evaluate, and pursue shared values the organizational culture also establishes:

  • Which initiatives have credibility,
  • Will be supported, &
  • Which ones will be

Initiative Planning Canvas

The alignment between inputs and outputs, between strategies and aims, and between each part of the Initiative Plan is crucial. Without the alignment of the initiative planning tools the organization should not expect the alignment of the project staff, leadership team, employees, and other stakeholders.

How does your team build alignment around new project initiatives? Share your comments below.