Causality Test for Your Initiatives

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Execution is key to achieve the goals set in the strategy.

Often, companies select a long list of initiatives to work on. This list of initiatives generally look logical but, are they causal?

To properly filter the list, you need to ask 2 questions to see whether an initiative is causal.

Let’s use the example of a food wholesaler.

  1. What is the outcome you want to achieve from investing in the initiative?

This question gets you to be crystal clear on the outcome an initiative must deliver. The more specific you are, the better.

For the wholesaler, an outcome on improving the warehouse productivity is broad. A more specific outcome, improving the order picking cycle time is much clearer for testing causality.

  1. How would the initiative support the outcome?

This question requires you to articulate how the initiative directly contributes to success.

For the broader warehouse productivity improvement outcome, initiatives such as modifying the placement of inventory in the warehouse and eliminating backorders seem logical.

When you hone in on improving the order picking cycle time, there is no question that changing the placement of inventory in the warehouse would have a direct effect on picking time. It is causal.

Eliminating backorders is good for orders fulfillment but has no direct effect on improving picking time. It is not causal.

By testing the causality of an initiative, you avoid taking on too much and diverting resources to less impactful work.

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