4 Reasons Leaders Struggle with Corporate Strategy

a young boy struggles to life a heavy weight just as Leaders Struggle with Corporate Strategy

Leaders Struggle with Corporate Strategy
Are you surprised to hear that leaders struggle with corporate strategy?  Nobody said that putting together a meaningful strategy was easy. But who knew it would be so hard and that so few companies would be successful at designing and implementing coherent strategies across their company?

  • IBM reported that less than 10% of even well-formulated strategies are effectively executed.
  • Our own research tells us that employees believe their strategies are 50% less clear than the executive team.

A poor record indeed.

What’s Going Wrong with Corporate Strategy
Why do leaders struggle with corporate strategy? Our near thirty-year experience in working with companies who struggle to craft and then implement a strategy that works for them has taught us a few things.  Here are some of the common mistakes we have seen and what continues to keep many organizations from achieving high growth:

1. Assessing Your Organizational Strengths Too Subjectively
Perhaps you have always thought of your company as delivering consistently higher quality solutions. But you need to consider if you are actually better than the competition.  Do not let your subjective assessment of your strengths or weaknesses drive your strategy.

You need to be objective enough to know what truly sets you apart from the competition and where you fall short.  If you are not crystal clear about where you stand in the eyes of your target clients, you may be designing an ill-conceived strategy for growth.  Do the necessary work to know how you are perceived by those who matter most.

2. Trying to Replicate the Success of the Competition
You may be in the same sector as your major competitors, but you cannot necessarily get better results simply by copying what they are doing. Every company has uniqueness to their strategy, culture and talent.  To perform at your peak, focus on what sets you apart.

Identify what you can do better than the rest and ruthlessly focus your plan on that aspect of your business.  You are much more likely to succeed by setting your own path rather than copying that of your rivals.  Let your unique value proposition frame your unique strategy.

3. Defining the Business Wrong
A classic example of this strategic mistake is when Kodak decided it was in the film business without looking ahead at the implications of how the development of digital cameras would affect their industry. Many previously successful hardware companies today face the challenge of quickly moving to software, solutions and the cloud to stay afloat.

Be sure you know what value you provide to your customers and stay on top of innovations that could threaten your future business.

4. Not Having a Strategy At All
Not even having a strategy (or having one that does not meet the rigorous criteria of a workable strategy) is probably the worst mistake of any. Our organizational alignment research found strategic clarity accounts for up to 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations.

For a strategy to be successful, all key stakeholders must understand the strategic direction and implications, believe the strategy will achieve the desired results and think it can be gracefully implemented in your unique culture, industry and circumstances.

The Bottom Line
The challenge when leaders struggle with corporate strategy can be overcome. The right strategy can set up your company to perform beyond just the sum of its parts.  It is worth the time and effort to design a plan of action that considers your unique value proposition, eliminates bias from your analysis, and defines a path that is selective, not all inclusive.

Do your leaders struggle with corporate strategy?   To check if your strategy is clear enough, download 7 Strategic Clarity Warning Signs to Pay Attention To

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We consider LSA our true business partner in the areas of Learning and Organizational Development. From Strategic Planning to Presentation Skills and Management Training, they continue to provide excellent value and extremely high quality solutions – not just one time events. I recommend them to anyone looking to drive true business results.

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“We turned to LSA to help us custom design and deliver a leadership and management development curriculum to help drive performance. They have done an excellent job diagnosing the business situation, designing an approach that fits our culture, and delivering a first class solution.”

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In the Next Generation Management Development courses, I was trained with skills and tools that have made me and my team more productive, motivated, and successful at communicating with other departments.

 

Kevin Ashman
Firmware Engineering Supervisor

What a personal and professional pleasure it has been to Partner with LSA. They are truly a strategic partner with Wyse. For more than 5 years, LSA has been engaged in delivering various training and development solutions for Wyse, from custom on-site programs targeting specific core competencies, to working individually with clients to build job skills, and offering invaluable services to me and my team as we continue to build our learning programs. LSA’s representatives do more than sell a product, they offer a full service solution: they understand our business, our strategic initiatives, and the needs of our customers.

Jeff Rangel
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LSA custom designed a Management Development program that is absolutely “on target” for our technical managers. Their facilitator has done a superb job delivering the material in a way that is fast paced, highly interactive, and fun. She presents practical solutions to the people situations that our managers face every day. I regard LSA as an excellent partner that understands our business needs and a virtual member of our HR department.

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We have been able to utilize LSA’s extensive network of top-notch resources to leverage our investment in employee development. The result has been the cost effective and highly efficient delivery of quality educational and management training programs.

Steve Feller
Vice President, Human Resources

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
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Roche

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.

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