How to Launch a Successful Company or Community Initiative

How to Launch a Successful Company or Community Initiative

1-13 SproutStoreChat

90% of the time an initiative isn’t successful because of two mistakes.

What do I mean by initiative? In a nutshell, it’s a new marketing campaign, a retention program, a new training series, a companywide goal…anything new that you are trying to put in place within your organization.

So why do these initiatives so often fail despite the best of intentions? Here it goes…you might cringe as you read them—but in all fairness—I know I’ve been guilty of them both ten times over!

  • The pursuit of perfection is your nemesis.  It takes too long to get your initiative off the ground. You get stuck on the creativity tarmac. You want it to be perfect, but perfection demands time and focus. And let’s face it, this initiative isn’t the only thing on your plate. So you start out strong. Maybe a few team members are devoted to the development of this new initiative. You meet with potential vendor partners. You get so many ideas. Too many ideas! So what happens? Days go by, weeks go by, then months go by, and nothing happens. Those meeting notes sit. Those fresh ideas get stale. And then you have to revisit and regroup all over again. (Insert: a lot of wasted time and efforts.)
  • A weak kick-off leaves your teams feeling like “whatever” about your new initiative. You’ve now worked your butt off on this initiative. By the time you are finally ready to launch, you and the team who was involved in this labor of love are super familiar with the plan. The next step—the pitch (a.k.a. the “on board,” the “get everybody pumped to make this happen”) is SUPER critical. But a little human nature issue now kicks in. You are anxious to get things rolling. So much time has passed that now things need to happen-like yesterday!  But sometimes, what you see as urgency translates as half-heartedness to the team that now has to implement this initiative. They can see it as JUST ONE MORE THING they HAVE to do. No bueno, they think. Then subconsciously they dig their heels in. (Here’s what I’m picturing: A 5-year-old Barbara holding both sides of the door frame leading into the kindergarten so that my dad wouldn’t drop me off at school!)

Sound a little too familiar?



  1. Decide that an initiative is worthwhile AND that the timing makes sense.
    If an initiative is worthwhile, but you don’t have the manpower to execute, you have one of two choices:
    – Hold off until you have the right people to make your idea spring to life.
    – Find a trusted (pre-vetted) partner that can make it happen without little help from your teams.
    If after further review, an initiative doesn’t seem critical, it’s OK to put it on the backburner and revisit it later.
  2. Create a FAIL-proof (yep, that’s a word) plan BEFORE you start.
    – Start with a Scope of Work for the project. Imagine that you were going to hire out this entire project to an outside agency. How would you like to see this project completed?
    Outline what is needed in hours and resources to make this plan a reality.
    – Add a detailed timeline with assigned deliverables (to a specific person) WITH deadlines.
    – Set project milestones. These should be checkmarks that you can at a glance refer to and see progress.
  3. Invest the time, brainspace and legwork necessary.
    Don’t skimp out here. Take the necessary time to brainstorm, research, get feedback from the right people, meet with various vendor partners (if needed), go back and forth and give approval.
  4. Plan your launch. That’s right! A launch takes planning. You aren’t ready to launch unless you can answer the following questions with clarity:
    – How will you present to the team? In-person? Webinar?
    – Why was this initiative necessary?
    – What went into creating the initiative?
    – Why is it important for them to carry out this initiative?
    – What’s in it for them? What problem will it solve? What painpoint will it alleviate?
    – What EXACTLY do you want to see from each individual?
    – How will you measure the initiative’s success?
    – How will you measure each team member’s involvement?
    – What milestones will you be looking for from your project?
    – How will you keep everyone motivated after the initial hoopla passes?
  5. See it through to the end. Expecting significant change isn’t realistic, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Take the time to work your plan and make changes as necessary.

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