Why New Initiatives Fail and What You Can Do about It

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Many ministries are excellent at launching new initiatives. Unfortunately, many of these same ministries are poor sustainers of those initiatives. As a result, we pour significant thought and energy into a dream that is never fully realized. The potential of what could be is lost. A persistence of this pattern is not without ramifications. It can develop a skepticism and lack of enthusiasm for future strategies. So how does this happen and what can we do to prevent it?

Here are 3 reasons why new initiatives fail:

1. We think too much about the launch and too little about everything else

We want to get everyone else as excited about the initiative as we are. And so we carefully craft our plans to get everyone on board. We think through wording. We think through presentation. And rightfully so. Unfortunately, often the greater challenge is unintentionally set aside: How do we keep people excited, and how does leadership stay focused?

2. There is no formalized plan to get you from point A to point B

A post-launch plan is just as vital as the launch plan. The launch should simply be a portion of a much larger strategy to accomplish a goal.

3. There is no clear destination

Ambiguous goals will reduce the sustainability of most new initiatives. From the very beginning, these questions should have an answer:

  • “What are we trying to achieve?’
  • “When will we know we have achieved it?”

So how can we increase the likelihood our next initiative will succeed?

View the launch as a first step

Launches are not unimportant, rather they should be a piece of a comprehensive plan. A successful launch should be just the first of several key activities checked off.

Identify and communicate milestones

Let these be rallying points. Milestones help everyone see progress and can be leveraged to generate excitement much like the launch. Celebrate the achieved milestone and point toward the next one.

Communicate a clear destination

This may be numerical or it may be a specific date. Make sure that all participants are aware of the goal.

Let the initiative influence all your points of communication

If the new initiative is significant for the ministry, saturate your communication with it. Constituents’ lives are busy. There is a constant battle for their mind’s attention. Help them remember the importance of the initiative by creatively weaving reminders throughout all points of contact.

Avoid the temptation to start other initiatives that will cannibalize your ongoing one

If you want to kill the momentum of an initiative, start a new one. New initiatives almost always divert focus from existing ones.

What about you? What are your experiences with new initiatives? Place your comments in the section below.

How to Achieve Your Goals

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