Avoid the Top 6 Traps that Cause Strategies to Fail

A business man contemplates a poster covered with words and graphics aligned around business strategy

There is so much to consider as you craft, much less begin to execute, a corporate strategy. So much to consider and so many ways to fail. It can be daunting. However, done right, a successful strategic plan sets a company up to perform beyond just the sum of its parts.

Here are the top 6 traps that can cause strategies to fail. Be sure you don’t fall into one.

1. The team is not fully behind it.
Lack of full buy-in from the team is a major and common trap. In order for a strategy to make a true difference, it must be properly executed. To be properly executed, the business strategy must be understood, believable and implementable enough by all key stakeholders. If not, all the effort put into the planning stage will be for naught

Here is a shocking statistic: 49% of executives recently surveyed by Booz & Company said their companies had no strategic priorities. How could so many high-level folks be unaware of the plans that should guide business decisions and secure the company’s future? The lesson is two-fold: involve the whole team in the planning stage so they feel ownership of the plan and then communicate the strategy throughout the company early, clearly and often.

We like using this simple exercise to uncover key obstacles and improve commitment levels. Before finalizing your strategy with the executive team, ask each person to raise their hand and show 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 fingers to show their levels of clarity, belief and commitment. “5 Fingers” means that they are 100% onboard. “1 Finger” means that they are sure the strategy will fail to deliver the desired results. “3 Fingers” means that they have serious concerns. Then understand what it would take to move everyone to “5 Fingers” and do so before you move forward.

2. The plan lacks alignment.
Your strategy needs to fit in your organizational culture and depends on the right talent to implement it. Without the right culture and workforce capability, even well-crafted strategies can misfire. . Make sure your corporate culture (the way people think, behave and work at your company) supports the plan . Make sure your leaders are in sync with who they hire, fire and promote.

A strategy that tightens the screws of accountability, resources and procedures would go against an organizational culture where employee independence and empowerment have been the norm. A business strategy that suddenly promotes open vacation time, flex hours and looser reporting could easily fail in an organization where the values and assumptions that drive key business practices and behaviors are highly structured.

3. The objectives are confusing or unclear.
Don’t think that because you have a plan and have communicated the strategy throughout the organization that it is clearly understood. You have been working to create it for a long time. It will take employees time to understand it and to incorporate its implications for behavior change into their daily routine. Employees we survey perceive that the organizational strategy is 50% less clear than their leaders believe. If people are consistently asking for more clarifying information before they act, you probably have a problem.

4. Ongoing business is neglected.
Strategic planning focuses on the future. The vision of success can be exciting. But don’t lose sight of what you need to do to stay in business while you are working on new strategic initiatives. You need to be sure that business priorities are balanced in a way that makes sense. It is critical that existing business activities are managed well even as you encourage the new behaviors that support the future plans.

5. Interest wanes as time drags on.
This is the opposite of the previous trap. In this one, there is a loss of momentum and the danger that business returns to the usual. The challenge is to keep the focus, urgency and pressure on. Set up a schedule of regular meetings; hold key folks accountable for delivering against their assigned tasks; and celebrate goals as they are reached along the way.

6. Team leaders are unwilling to flex or adapt as things change.
The best strategies need constant tweaking…not necessarily major change but iterative adjustments. The plan should not be static but a living document that can shift slightly as conditions at the company, in the industry, in the marketplace shift as they always do. Keep your eye on the overall picture but be ready to use change management best practices to redraw the players and plays as needed to be successful.

Comments are closed.

The refreshing thing about LSA is that they focus on understanding our business situation and helping me succeed instead of selling a product. With over 150 experts, they are an invaluable resource that helps me deliver higher quality results faster. I recommend them to anyone looking to improve the performance of their workforce.

Stacie Rodgers
VP of Human Resources

Cutera

LSA has been a tremendous asset to my portfolio, both at my current company and my past company. As an HR leader, I am always looking for ways to find external resources that can provide a solution to our management training needs. LSA does that for me. Their solutions are presented in a much more leadership-oriented manner so as to be crisp, business relevant, and easy to apply right back on the job. I will continue to augment our programs using LSA solutions.

Ken Boehm
VP of Human Resources

CVT-large

Over the years, both at 3Com and now at Redback, I’ve found LSA Global to be a valuable resource. The recent compliance program that they delivered for Redback’s executive and management team was the right solution, of the highest of quality, and customized to our business and culture. I would highly recommend LSA to any company looking for top quality solutions.

Gina Fulton
Vice President of Human Resources

Redback-large-gray

I had been working with LSA for many years with my prior company. Currently, I’m with a company who hadn’t done much basic management skills training. After identifying and presenting a program recently, our managers are excited and talking in the halls about the great experience. LSA saves us time in delivering the right training for our needs.

Phyllis Moracco
HR Director

JSR-large-gray

We partnered with LSA to pilot a customized behavioral interviewing program to help ensure that we continue to hire the best and brightest as we continue to rapidly scale. LSA’s ability to understand our business and our unique culture combined with their desire to ensure that the best practices framework truly fits our performance environment and is highly adopted by our people is a real blessing. Most other firms want to just ‘give you training.’ Not LSA, they are focused on helping me hit our hiring forecasts and attract A players.

Jennifer Remling
Director of Global Recruiting

AKQA

Hyperion has a commitment to lifelong learning. LSA helps us provide the right business sales training, management training programs, and leadership development programs at the right time to meet the needs of both individuals and departments. I especially appreciate their ability to listen to my needs and recommend the appropriate facilitators, solutions and content.

Sarah Parks
Senior Project Manager

Hyperion

LSA has added tremendous value and intellectual rigor to help take us to the next level. They have been a training outsourcing goldmine for us. Their flexibility, expertise, and speed has been extraordinary. I am a big fan and recommend them to anyone looking to drive true business value.

Global Financial Services Company
Director, Organizational Effectiveness

I have worked with other training companies and found it to be more of a seller/buyer relationship than one of matching the right expertise to our business issues. That’s what LSA does – ask the hard questions, listen, and understand our business needs. We receive the benefit of their expertise from assistance with personal development plans to enhancing team performance, to looking at enterprise-wide challenges. It’s all about helping our business succeed as we grow. Right now, LSA is providing great ideas, a fresh approach, and valuable guidance as we develop our management team and accelerate our client relationship management results.

Kristin Westland-Kaune
Director, Team Development

Logo - Gray - Tellme

We value our relationship with LSA Global. We came to LSA because we wanted to improve overall behavioral based interviewing capabilities of our managers to increase the probability of both hiring top talent and future leaders. LSA designed a highly customized solution for our business and culture. We are currently rolling out this solution to our leaders. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource.

Rae Phillips
HR Project Manager - Training & Development, PHR

Polycom-large-gray

Harmonic has worked with LSA for over 8 years. We have found their partnership extremely beneficial. We recently implemented a Management Development Program that was designed and customized to support our company’s strategic initiative of hiring, building, and retaining key intellectual property and human talent. We worked closely with LSA to target and implement the right solutions with the greatest impact. I would recommend LSA to any company that’s looking for a trusted training and development partner.

Janice Passarello
Director of Human Resources

harmonic-large

On behalf of Roche and my staff I would like to sincerely thank you for your help with this. The English as a Second Language (ESL) assessment and coaching that you provided for our team was a great success.

Cam Greig
Associate Director

Roche

The Managing Virtual Teams program was extremely valuable. Your consultant/ facilitator’s fundamental knowledge of Synopsys as a company provided an incredible base to build upon while tackling the complications of managing and working with globally distributed teams. My team walked away walked away with highly useful practices and tools. It was an excellent use of our time.

Debra Martucci
Vice President, Information Technology

synopsys-large-gray

Congratulations on your pro-activity in establishing this program and developing such an effective New Employee Orientation course.

Farhat Ali
President and Chief Executive Office

Fujitsu

We recently partnered with LSA Global to offer our Supervisors and Managers a customized two-day management training program. Everyone who attended said it was by far the best management training program they had ever attended. The content was rich and highly interactive. The case studies were relevant. Each participant walked away from the training much better equipped to lead their teams.

Jeff Coon
Director of Human Resources

Cobham-large-gray

LSA Global’s consultant brought a fresh perspective to our behavioral based interviewing strategy for two key executive positions we needed to fill, and their consultant helped us develop questions that produced a much deeper understanding of candidates’ capabilities. I am confident that the two new executives joining our organization have the right skills to add significant value. Throughout the process LSA was also very responsive in dealing with short lead time requests.

Because of the unique nature of our business, Excel is a core application in our accounting organization. After three attempts to find an Excel consultant who is capable of helping our finance team integrate advanced applications into our work processes we found LSA and Alex. He was not only a “Real” Excel expert but was masterful in helping us identify where to use Excel applications in our processes to increase our group’s efficiency.

SPO Partners & Co
Kim Silva, CFO

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

icon_expert-blog

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More