The Three Main Reasons Corporate Strategies Fail

the title on a typed piece of paper is FAILURE

Even well-crafted corporate strategies fail because they are never fully or effectively implemented.  The reasons are surprisingly simple and make common sense. But exactly because the reasons for failure are so basic, they are challenging to correct. The more fundamental to the organization, the more difficult these barriers to strategy success will be to overcome.

  1. A failure of leadership
    Take a management style that does not accept responsibility for leadership. Leaders may announce a strategy but until they follow through with a committed and transparent process to implement it, the strategy will most likely fail. And even if the executive branch is dedicated to the plan and capable, they need senior management and their direct reports to be able to follow through.
  1. Lack of clarity
    When the business strategy is too complicated, it is likely to fail. Not only should the strategy be clearly stated and communicated, it needs to be clearly understood and believed across the entire organization. Unclear strategies create too much ambiguity and unproductive churn regarding important allocations, choices, priorities and trade-offs.
  2. Lack of coordination

Just as with any major project, there needs to be careful, step-by-step planning. Each team should agree upon their role and timing and should be clear on who does what and when.  To effectively cascade your business strategy, make sure that you:

  • Ensure that you only cascade goals that relevant and within the influence of each department or function.
  • Clarify which strategic components are mandated by corporate, guided or autonomous.
  • Have included something meaningful for each department to get aligned with.
  • Remove or mitigate any corporate goals or metrics that may be in conflict with a department’s goals or metrics.
  • Have a high enough level of strategic clarity, believability and implementability to move forward.

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