The 20 Problems Holding Back Your Strategy Execution Success
Creating a successful strategy and executing it has never been more challenging than it is today. In the current volatile and uncertain world, companies that have thrived for decades are now facing the threat of being overrun by start-ups with modern business models. Meanwhile, many established companies struggle to evolve as quickly as technology and changing consumer demands require them to. There is a huge gap between successful execution and failure, what are you doing to close it?
Every Second Strategy Initiative Fails
The average strategy execution rate is between 7-90%, with the average being 50%. Statistically, this means that every second strategy initiative fails to be executed successfully. That is huge and detrimental. While slight improvements have occurred over the years, the gap is still massive, and businesses need to be working towards closing this gap.
In the world that I come from, Fighter Pilots execute at a 98% success rate on every task, every time. There’s no room for error or anything less than perfection. Organisations everywhere need to be looking at adapting their practices to ensure a higher success rate is being achieved every time.
The easy answer for this huge gap in successful execution rates would be to say that delivering successfully on every strategy initiative is incredibly hard. But that doesn’t give people a specific place to start looking for where they can begin fixing! Here are 20 key reasons that businesses are failing to deliver on their execution rates, and 20 great places to start looking to improve.
20 Key Problems that are Standing in the Way
- Unclear communication
- Insufficient communication
- Lack of dedication and commitment
- Inadequate resources
- Isolated actions
- Ambiguous or conflicting goals
- Absence of or unclear strategy
- Unclear priorities
- Ambiguous responsibilities
- Lack of performance information and data
- Silo behaviour and sub-optimisation
- Wrong culture
- Change avoidance
- Insufficient management capabilities
- Delays leading to unmet plans
- Budget is exceeded
- Lack of middle management support
- Strategy is not adapted to changes.
- Poor leadership
Opportunities are Fleeting. Adaptability is Invaluable.
From these 20 key problematic areas, there are so many starting points for beginning to improve your strategy execution rate. However, it is critical to understand that ALL elements of strategy execution are interdependent and focusing on just one will not drive the desired results—the landscape as a whole needs to be developed. In the current climate, a successful strategy must consider the business model and how to create the most value, the competitive position absorbing current value, and implementing processes adapting to the ever-changing environment.
To do this most successfully, there are several things CEOs need to be continually doing. The first is constantly looking and capitalising upon the opportunities arising in the outside world. The world is developing so quickly in every industry, choosing to not constantly look for new opportunities could cost you big time. Finding opportunities is key, but even more important than this is finding ways to turn those opportunities into strategy. CEOs have to build strategies that seek to bring the most continued value.
Opportunities are fleeting in our face paced world. Keep looking for opportunities to bring value. Creating a strategy is not a one-time event. There is continual adapting, changing, and shifting to be done. Creating a strategy that is able to constantly respond and adapt to changing external circumstances is critical to bridging the strategy execution gap.
Never Stop Working to Close the Gap!
Looking at the key problem areas of strategy execution, it’s no secret these are big giants to tackle! But it’s not impossible. Get clear on what you want, what you value, and where you’re headed. Eliminate ambiguity and murky communication. But whatever you do, don’t stop working to close the gap!
Want to know more about the Fighter Pilot execution rate and how you too can do it? Click here.
Kraaijenbrink, J. (2019). 20 reasons why strategy execution fails. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeroenkraaijenbrink/2019/09/10/20-reasons-why-strategy-execution-fails/?sh=40d587431ebe
Collis, D. (2021). Why do so many strategies fail? Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2021/07/why-do-so-many-strategies-fail