It’s a good idea to have some sense of the scale of resources you have “in play” and do a reality check against what your organization can really afford. There is no right or final answer to this question. Your estimation of how much effort you can expend and how much uncertainty your organization can absorb will always be affected by your needs (the size, urgency and risk profile of what you might invest in), the current competitive climate, how easily you can redirect resources, etc.
In a company with unconstrained resources, or where constant innovation is critical (e.g, high-tech, pharmaceuticals) you may have the means and/or the need for a large ongoing change portfolio. More stable industries or companies with less “excess capital” will want to, or have to, aim lower. In defining a rough size of your portfolio, don’t feel you need to be locked in. The flexibility principle of Change Leadership should be a reminder that the comment, “We don’t have the resources” should never be accepted without question. Yes, there are always constraints. However, a smart leader who recognizes a critical need will look for ways to get the people, money, and talent needed if the problem or opportunity warrant.
One other caveat: There’s a pronounced tendency among leaders to pull back on new initiatives when times are tight. This may be excellent and prudent resource management, but may also be exactly what not to do if your goal is to prepare your organization to handle a new wave of growth.