5 Reasons Why Companies Fail to Execute Strategic Plans and What To Do About It

Strategic Planning

Have you ever spent time and effort writing a plan and then found it a year later in the bottom of a drawer?  The planning step is often completed, it’s just the following step, the execution of the plan, that is often overlooked.

A survey of senior executives at over 150 companies identifies the following reasons why companies fail to execute their strategic plans.


Lack of Strategic Focus

Often companies try to compete in many areas, but end up spreading their time, energy and resources so widely that they don’t put enough energy in to any of them – it’s the “busy busy busy” mentality.  Having a key strategic focus is essential.  What are you competing on?  Is it that your customer service is second to none?  Is your organisation the leader in innovation and creativity?  What is it that you really want to focus on and beat the competition on?

Do the Most Important Tasks FirstAction

Achieve more by doing less.  Identify just a handful of strategies and focus on one at a time until they are complete.  Start with the most important ones first.

Lack of Alignment Between Managers and Team Members

Strategic decisions in an organisation are often made in the boardroom and the team members are then told about it.  Where that happens, employees are often resistant to those plans or associated changes due to lack of understanding or not agreeing with those changes, and where that resistance occurs, employee performance is likely to be adversely affected. 


Involve people from different levels of the organisation in strategic planning to create a sense of solidarity and ownership for those plans.

Lack of Communication

Communicating Strategic PlansOnce strategic plans have been decided upon it is essential they are clearly communicated to people at all levels of the organisation, and that progress made is monitored.  If your employees can’t answer the question of what the company’s top strategic plans are for the quarter, it’s because the leaders in the organisation have not communicated effectively enough.  Often the challenge is that the strategy has been communicated but it gets lost inside a mass of communication which distracts and changes the focus and priorities within the business at an alarming rate.


Simplify communication.  Cut the clutter.  Manage the distractions.  Make the communication actionable – who is doing what and when?

Lack of feedback

Less than 15% of companies track their performance in relation to the expected outcomes of their strategic plans.  Effective companies monitor their performance to track and drive strategic progress on a weekly basis, and follow up on those performance indicators.


Monitor performance on the key strategies weekly and provide feedback to the team.

Lack of Momentum

Review your Strategic Plan Often

For many, the strategic plan is something to do once a year, if that, and is largely ignored until the next strategic planning day.  In reality it should be given attention each quarter to review and shape your business goals for the quarter.  It should also be used weekly to determine actions to take each week in order to move forward on your goals.


Make sure that your strategic plan is simple enough to be used to drive weekly meetings and thus focus efforts of the team and build momentum towards your long term goals.


If you’d like assistance developing and executing your strategic plan, be sure to contact Mike by email or call him on (03) 329 4647.  The whole process is simple and easy to apply.


Author: Mike Catton.  Follow Mike on Facebook and Linked In, or check out his profile on Google+.


To read other articles written by Mike, please click here.

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