3 Signs of Good and Bad Strategies

3 Signs of Good and Bad Strategies
Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

Ineffective Strategies Hinder Growth
Too many leaders settle for strategic growth plans that won’t work.  Why?  Because they don’t understand the difference between good and bad strategies, their strategic plans are flawed from the beginning.  And the anticipated results from an inspiring strategy retreat do not materialize.

Strategies that lack an understanding of the key challenges that need to be overcome, have an insufficient focus, or that take an unrealistic approach are just wishful thinking.  The best leaders know not to settle or be fooled by a bad strategy — one that does not represent the hard work it takes to design and implement a good strategy.

3 Signs of a Bad Corporate Strategy
A bad strategy is likely to be loaded with slogans and wishful thinking.  In addition to making basic mistakes like confusing a strategic plan with a strategic intent like “to be more customer centric,” or thinking your ambition to “grow 22% year over year” is a strategy, a bad strategy:

  1. Fails to Address the Organization’s Real Problems
    A bad strategy fails to address the true root causes of stalled growth, ineffectiveness, and subpar performance. They also tend to underestimate unintended consequences and the inevitable time delay between actions and results.

    If you are not having the “hard conversations” with all key stakeholders about what it will take to get you where you want to go, your strategy is probably not up to the challenges that you face.

  2. Tries to Do Too Much
    Strategic planning should not reflect a laundry list of “to do’s” or strive for an unachievable summit. Company strategy should focus on the critical few attainable strategic actions that will make the most difference.  While every business can benefit from improvements on multiple fronts, diluted, confusing, or impractical plans do not work.

    If you are trying to make more than two or three big bets, you are probably spreading yourself too thin.

  3. Is Misaligned
    Strategies that are misaligned with the company culture, the people who must execute it, or the market forces at play are just swimming upstream. Bad strategies tend to fight the natural flow of how work gets done and the capabilities required to be successful.

    Make sure that you align your culture and your people with what matters most.

A Good Corporate Strategy
A strategy that can be effectively followed and that can guide an organization toward a successful future has three fundamental elements.  A good strategy:

  1. Recognizes the Fundamental Business Challenges
    What, specifically, is hampering your business from achieving your corporate vision? Until you identify, accept, and understand the key obstacles along your path to success, you can’t begin to make the kind of progress you seek.
  2. Focuses on the Critical Few
    A good strategy identifies the crucial two or three attainable strategic priorities that need to be solved before your business goals can be reached. These leverage points should maximize the effectiveness of your efforts.  The best strategies ruthlessly focus efforts, energy, and resources on just a few important areas.
  3. Creates Alignment
    Our organizational alignment research found that highly aligned companies grow 58% faster, are 72% more profitable, and engage employees 16.8-to-1. If you seek high performance, make sure that your strategy, culture and talent are aligned.

The Bottom Line
Strategic planning is hard work.  Make sure that your efforts to craft a strategy are worthwhile.  Effective strategies address the difficulties ahead, focus on the few moves that will make a difference, and set up the aligned actions required to succeed.

To learn more about good and bad strategies, download 7 Ways to Stress Test Your Strategy Now

Evaluate your Performance


Get key strategy, culture, and talent tools from industry experts that work


Health Checks

Assess how you stack up against leading organizations in areas matter most



Download published articles from experts to stay ahead of the competition



Review proven research-backed approaches to get aligned



Stay up to do date on the latest best practices that drive higher performance


Client Case Studies

Explore real world results for clients like you striving to create higher performance