It sounds cliche, but it is surprising how often things get started in an organization as a “groundswell effort” instead of a properly planned new initiative. If you think this is happening to your latest project, take time to reflect. Without proper planning, the new initiative will stall out and will not reach its full potential. You need to take corrective action. Here are five tips to make sure your launch is smooth and that it continues to progress once you have launched it.
- Have vision. The reason many new efforts fail is not because they are not inspired or ultimately helpful—it is because they do not have vision. What they are designed to do, the purpose behind the effort, and the benefits to the organization are not clearly defined. Without these three aspects being clearly articulated, you may not be able to sell your initiative to relevant stakeholders, nor actually get it off the ground if it is given the green light.
- Get support from the organization. Trying to launch a new initiative without the support from your organization is nearly impossible. Make sure that they are committed not just to the idea, but to long-term implementation. Like giving birth to a baby, your effort needs nurturing, not just at the start, but over its entire life.
- Build a great team. The right team can make all the difference. Someone needs to be the champion of the cause. This person should be a great leader and they should have a firm grasp on the initiative’s vision and its direction. You also need to recruit team members with varied backgrounds for the various elements you need to address.
- Make your objectives clear. Only when you have clear objectives will you really be able to give direction to your new initiative , keep it on track, and measure your success. Before the launch, you should have a hypothetical timeline with specified dates as to when you are going to deliver certain things and when you are going to achieve certain goals. This doesn’t have to be a concrete plan, but you must have general guidelines spelled out upfront.
- Be flexible. A common reason new projects fail is because they are not prepared for when things do not go as originally planned. Prepare to be flexible, so that you can easily adapt to any changes or shifts. It is not impossible for the initiative to be quite different in final form than was originally planned. That’s OK. It means you got something started, made proper adjustments, and now have provided something valuable for your firm.
If you follow these basic guidelines, you will be on track with your new initiative. Be patient, and seek small victories. You will keep the team and your firm engaged.