3 Ways you’re derailing your strategic initiatives

by The Smartsheet Team

April 29, 2024

Bridging the gap between strategy and execution is especially challenging when the business environment is rapidly changing. The success of strategic initiatives depends on your leadership team’s effectiveness in clearly communicating the strategy and plan, removing barriers to innovation, and preparing the way for scale as the enterprise grows. When executing large-scale business objectives, keep an eye out for these three common pitfalls and use the remedies listed below to course correct.

1. Poor alignment

Moving teams in the right direction, to support key initiatives, requires full internal alignment. Meaning execs at the top to individual contributors at the bottom and employees across all departments understand the strategy and how their work ladders up to the strategy. When internal alignment is missing, you’ll find yourself battling confusion, conflict, and inefficiencies between project teams on a daily basis.

  • Set a clear strategy with measurable outcomes and develop a compelling blueprint for operationalizing your strategy.
  • Communicate your strategy and blueprint widely, and at multiple altitudes of detail, to every implementation team and stakeholders in the organization.
  • Align stakeholders and teams around shared goals so they understand how their day-to-day work contributes to strategic initiatives and how to prioritize work that aligns to those shared goals.


2. Lack of agility

In an environment of intense change, the ability to pivot with minimal friction is critical. When processes are not flexible enough to accommodate shifts, implementation teams encounter barriers to innovation, collaboration, and agility, slowing progress significantly.

  • Evaluate the flexibility of current processes, workflows, and technology and make adjustments as necessary to support enterprise-wide agility.
  • Set up a single source of truth teams and executive leadership can reference to monitor progress against strategic goals and anticipate delays or disruptions before they impact projects.
  • Empower teams to create the solutions they need to deliver projects quickly and effectively.


3. Inability to standardize and scale

Balancing agility and end-user innovation with standardization will enable you to deliver sustained business benefits. Processes, innovations, and frameworks implemented without long-term growth in mind will inevitably breed issues that will bring scale and expansion to a halt.

  • Capture your most innovative ideas and standardize them for enterprise-wide adoption.
  • Establish implementation frameworks and continuously evolve them as the needs of the business change.
  • Leverage technology to automate processes and workflows to free up resources and optimize for efficiency.
Checklist for successfully implementing strategic initiatives

Avoid these common pitfalls when executing strategic initiatives by trying some of these best practices.

Download the list

Overwhelmed with tracking the execution of your own strategic initiatives?  Learn how DIRECTV uses Smartsheet to simplify and centralize strategic priorities and enable enterprise-wide project and program management.