Why strategy fails

The research literature has identified six main reasons why strategies fail:

  • 1. Increased pressure for short-term benefit, requiring to change strategies more frequently. Thus, strategies must be executed successfully in shorter time frame.
  • 2. Increased organizational complexity. Strategies affect people, process, tools, structure, partners and suppliers. Oversight alone can kill a strategy.
  • 3. Managing strategy execution VS managing day-to-day business. Strategy is often seen outside of the companies day-to-day activities, making prioritization difficult.
  • 4. Low level of participation from lower-level managers at the beginning of strategy execution. Strategies are often done in Ivory Towers and poorly communicated to the organization.
  • 5. Lack of resources. Executing a strategy requires the same resources busy on other projects / initiatives today.
  • 6. Executives know more about strategy formulation than execution. Basic project management is often lacking.

The Strategy-As-A-Once-A-Year event does little to help this situation. To be successful, strategy should be part of the day-to-day operations of the business.


*Ref: Beer and Nohria, 2000; Miller, 2002; Pateman, 2008; Hrebiniak, 2008; Franken, Edwards & Lambert, 2009

Posted on April 7, 2014 and filed under blog.