Does your organisation suffer from initiative-itis?

Colin Ellis
2 min readNov 8, 2023

Regardless of the organisation that you work for, standing still is not an option.

Change is required to stay competitive and capable of delivering products or services in line with strategy.

To make the change stick, these projects need to be well planned, well managed and deliver the outcomes that they promise. Anything else will inevitably lead to a waste of money, time or resources and potentially affect the short to medium term financial performance of the organisation.

If organisations only concentrated on the projects required to deliver the strategy, then they could ensure that they have the people they need across the year to do so. Having clear priorities increases successful delivery and reduces the risk of burnout, stress and anxiety.

Unfortunately, however, many companies overburden themselves and their employees with a never ending slew of initiatives. Sometimes these are related to strategic delivery, but often they are not.

These initiatives come bundled with bureaucracy, generating endless reports and Powerpoint presentations that fail to address the key questions that people have:

  • Why are we doing this?
  • What value will the organisation gain?
  • Why are we doing it now?
  • What needs to get stopped in order to deliver this properly?

Initiatives divert focus and attention from where it’s needed most and are usually centred around a desire from a senior manager, that their peers see little value in. Often these initiatives will quietly disappear without warning, with little communication other than a mumbled ‘We’re not doing that now’.

Pointless initiatives generate negativity amongst staff and rather than changing things for the better they actually make the culture worse. This leads to apathy and can cause the culture to stagnate or worse (depending on the time and emotional commitment these initiatives require) turn it toxic.

Organisations that seek to deliver strategy and create a vibrant culture that performs to a high-level week in week out need to rid themselves of initiative-itis and concentrate on what matters most.

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Colin Ellis

Best-selling Author of Culture Fix | Keynote Speaker | Facilitator | Devoted Dad | Evertonian | Whisky Lover | Likes to laugh, a lot www.colindellis.com