The leader who is attempting to shift strategic direction faces three sources of resistance within their organization — the broad employee base, middle managers, and senior managers. Of the three, the most resistant are the senior managers, even if they have been involved in setting the direction.
A client of 4000 employees asked for my help implementing major change that affected the entire organization. The symptom was that lower level people were not cooperating with the change. The cause was that senior executives voiced support for the change, but told their organizations to focus on other priorities. Once the executives became strong sponsors, the change was implemented successfully.
Clear and simple strategic direction is important, but it must be accompanied by actions demonstrating commitment.