Open Letter to the CEO...

Dear CEO,

 As we near the end of the second quarter, I wanted to check in to see how your strategic plan is shaping up for 2019. Is your organization well on its way to achieving the strategic goals that you outlined at the beginning of the year? Or have you encountered challenges with the implementation plan, such as identifying the related initiatives and aligning them with the appropriate goals?

 One possible reason for such challenges is the lack of the organizational structure required to deliver on the strategy identified at the beginning of the year. Specifically, many organizations lack a Project Management Office (PMO) or a plan for successfully managing projects and related resources without a PMO.

 A key responsibility of PMO members is to collaborate with the Strategy Team to ensure alignment of projects with the overall corporate strategy. Such an effort involves reviewing the various projects underway, the initiatives that are in the queue, and the initiatives that were identified as part of the strategic planning process. This analysis drives the prioritization of the project work in direct alignment with the strategic plan. By completing this process and working in conjunction with the Strategy Team, the PMO helps ensure that the people, funding, equipment, vendors, and other resources are appropriately aligned with the corporate strategy.

 If yours is among those organizations without a PMO, have you identified a point person to coordinate the alignment of your projects and resources with your strategy? Who in your organization is responsible for ensuring that project work is being prioritized based on alignment with a specific strategic goal?

 If you are relying on the various business units to make these determinations, you are running the risk of overcommitting resources, human and otherwise. Staff will be pulled in too many different directions to work on strategic initiatives, potentially resulting in burnout, resource availability delays, and missed milestones.

 To help mitigate these risks, ask your direct reports – those in the C-Suite – whether they have strategic plans for their respective business units, as well as the following related questions:

·      What steps are you taking to ensure that your plan aligns with the company strategy?

·      Have you collaborated with your colleagues in identifying your strategy and the ways it may impact other business units, teams, products, or technology?

·      If your organization has a PMO, are you working with those resources to effectively align, and prioritize, your strategic initiatives along with those of the other business units and the needs of the company overall?

 Especially if your strategic update for 2Q19 is not showing the progress that you had hoped for or expected, open the discussion with your leadership team sooner rather than later. The success of your organization’s strategic plan may depend on it.

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