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37% of strategies fail 15 March, 2009

Posted by varoom in Strategy.
1 comment so far

On reading a Harvard Business Review article by Mankins & Steele in 2005 I found it very useful to study the causes for failure in strategy development and implementation. The word strategy has become an overused and misused term in modern business. We attempt to make something more important by attaching the word strategic to it whilst failing to really make things change. Having set long term goals your strategy is a plan on how you will achieve them and this strategy must lead to actions or it is doomed to fail. So in short your goal is what you want to achieve and your strategy is how you will achieve it.
The Mankins & Steele article studies the failures of strategies and a lot of these failures occur during the implementation of the strategy. These failures fall into many categories but can be summarised into;

  • Inadequate resources
  • Poor communications
  • Poor definition of actions
  • Unclear accountabilities
  • Organisational culture blocking strategy
  • Inadequate monitoring
  • Inadequate consequences or rewards
  • Poor or uncommitted leadership
  • Inadequate skills

No matter how much time, effort and research you put into developing your company strategy if the organisation is not engaged or the resources are not available or you do not follow though with strong leadership, your efforts will be wasted.
So in order to be successful in implementing your new strategy you should;

  • Develop resource plans, and allocate resources to implement the new strategy
  • Define the required organisation structure to deliver on the strategy
  • Communicate to convince the organisation to engage with the strategy
  • Manage the change(s) within the organisation, avoid distractions
  • Monitor, measure, feedback, assess

Make your strategy more successful by ensuring change occurs then communicate the successes resulting from those changes.