5 min read

[Blog] How to Create High-Quality Initiatives

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Initiatives represent strategic efforts, experimentation, and execution geared toward moving the needle on your Key Results.

What are Initiatives?

Initiatives are strategic efforts designed to move the needle on your Key Results. Initiatives should be high value and high effort. They are going to be assumptions, but if you pick the right ones then you should see a tangible improvement in your Key Results. Initiatives shouldn’t be your day-to-day responsibilities, but rather the net new things you have prioritized and want to try and do. 


Why are they important?

Initiatives should be strategic in nature, meaning they are worthy of executive-level visibility. If your CEO wouldn’t care, chances are it’s not a great Initiative. Tangible results might not happen immediately, which is why leading indicators are the best types of Key Results, so you can see the impact as quickly as possible.


How to create Initiatives?

Ideate, discuss, and prioritize. Look at your Key Results, assess the capacity of the team, and explore possibilities. Think of Initiatives as the “big rocks.” Don’t get bogged down in the details or the weeds of the daily grind, but rather the biggest efforts which require cross-functional collaboration.


The difference between Key Results and Initiatives

The difference between Key Results and Initiatives is where folks tend to get tripped up, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Just remember the three E’s. Effort, experimentation, and execution. That’s what Initiatives are all about - the work you put in and control. 


The difference between Tasks and Initiatives

Tasks can be done quickly and fairly easily. These are the relatively small things that need to get done. Attend a meeting. Email a prospect back. Update your CRM. You name it. Initiatives on the other hand are more strategic in nature. They should be discussed and debated. Teams should be empowered to come up with their own Initiatives which they believe will move the needle on the Key Results. Initiatives ideally should be able to be executed in less than a quarter, but if needing to extend beyond this time frame that's okay. 


Consumer Examples



Key Results


Get in shape

Lose 10 lbs

Go to the gym 5x a week

Become debt free

$0 in credit card debt

Cut up the credit cards

Launch a side hustle

Generate extra $100

Launch Shopify store


Society Examples



Key Results


Healthcare for all

10million new signups

Launch new healthcare program

Lead electric vehicle revolution

50% new car sales are electric by 2025

Open 5,000 new charging stations

Slow down global warming

Earth’s temperature to 95.2 by 2050

Create new global partnership system

Ensure water for all

Provide 3million people with access to water

Create 300 new wells in local communities


Business Examples



Key Results


Improve the login experience

Reduce password resets from 10% to 1%

Implement SSO

Generate more prospect engagement

Increase visitor to lead conversion rate from 2% to 5%

Launch new website

Streamline the buying process

Increase proposal to win conversion from 10% to 20%

Implement digital proposal system

Be more customer-centric

Reduce churn from 10% to 2%

Implement customer learning program

Launch an MVP

Get 10 BETA users

Hire new development lead rock star


Generating Output Leads to Improving Outcomes

There’s a lot of discussion around Outcomes, and rightfully so. They are a great way to measure business behavior, and the folks who get it right are on the cutting edge of operations. However, without Output, the Outcomes never happen. Prioritizing and optimizing Output is what generates the right results. If you are trying to get a customer to do X in your product (the Outcome), then it may take building Y features (Output) before you get it right.


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