Strategic filters can help you prioritize your efforts based on the objectives of your organization.
Once you’ve created a list of initiates that you’re going to pursue to help you achieve your vision, you need to evaluate those initiatives according to objective criteria for comparing them to one another. Because ultimately you need to prioritize those initiatives. The ones you’re going to pursue are the ones that meet the majority of your objective functions.
I like to use a tool that I call strategic filters for doing this evaluation. These strategic filters are going to be based upon the objective functions of your organization and the goals that you find to be important. Once you’ve constructed your strategic filters, you’re going to assess every single initiative relative to that set of filters.
Let’s say our company is growing and we’re also trying to expand internationally and we really want to launch some new products. So we’re going to create two types of filters. The first filter set is going to be qualitative, the second filter set is going to be quantitative. So I may construct evaluation filters that look at things like, “Is the product new? Is it going to leverage our existing brand? Is it white label and non-branded? Is it going to help us be global or does it focus on domestic markets? And lastly, is the product simple or is it going to be complex to launch?”
Those qualitative filters will help me assess those products and those initiatives based upon my goal of taking my brands global. Once I’ve decided if they’re a fit with the qualitative filters, I also need to look at the numbers. I may have three sets of numbers that I consider as my financial filters. I may look at the net present value of the initiative. I might consider the internal rate of return of that initiative. So if I invest money, what’s the return I’m going to get on it? And lastly, I might look at the impact of that initiative on my total growth rate for the organization. Having this complete set of filters will enable me to evaluate initiatives and identify the ones that are going to drive the most objectives as well as rule out or deprioritize the ones that don’t help me achieve my goals.
So your set of strategic filters should be based upon the objectives of your organization. As you evaluate your initiatives against them, you’re going to decide whether it passes a filter or fails. You can use a high, medium, low as you evaluate each initiative against those filters. Having done this evaluation, you’ll be prepared to move into a prioritization process.
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