Why Strategies Fail

Some corporate strategies fail because the strategy itself is flawed or non-existent.  For example, former Kodak CEO Kay Whitmore told me in 2000 that no one at Kodak could figure out how to make money with digital photography, so they didn’t have a strategy to compete in the digital age.
But far more often a strategy will fail because of flawed implementation, meaning management does not do a good job of moving the organization in the direction of the new vision.  When George Fisher tried to move Kodak in a new direction, the status quo refused to budge.
The practical lessons are numerous, but here are three of the most important:
  1. The strategy must be clear, concise, and communicated so that the entire organization understands it – how else will they implement it?
  2. An action plan is always important, but never sufficient.  What organizational changes will be required and how will that happen?
  3. If the strategy is not aligned with the culture, bet on the culture.  Your choices are to change the culture, change the strategy, or prepare for strategy failure.

Bob Legge works with companies to improve individual and organizational performance. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, non-profits, education and government. To find out more, contact Bob at boblegge@boblegge.com or call him at (585) 305-7853.   Legge & Company website.

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