Every business should know where it is going and, if it is big enough to have a senior management team rather than one dominant entrepreneur and owner, that usually means putting together a strategic plan.
Preparing a plan does not guarantee that it will be fit for purpose and in another article I look at the common mistakes.
The problems of strategy failure don’t stop at the risk of creating a bad plan.
A good plan won’t be worth anything if it isn’t implemented.
Common Mistakes In Strategy Implementation
This is where it does get more difficult since you have to provide leadership to get your staff, customers and suppliers to take action.
This difficult challenge is made much worse when members of the senior management team struggle to take actions consistent with the agreed strategy.
- Failing to put your strategic objectives and logic in writing.
- Failing to regularly refer back to your strategic plan. The memory does play funny tricks and the agreed strategy may not be as you remember it.
- Not communicating your strategy to your team of employees. If you don’t tell them where you are heading and how you will get there, how can you expect their actions and everyday decisions to be consistent with your strategy?
- Not sitting down with each employee or group of employees and explaining what the new strategy means to them and how their role has to change. If your new strategy is improved customer service, shouldn’t your staff know what improved customer service means in their jobs? And if they don’t have the skills, provide training.
- Using rewards and incentives which conflict with your strategy.If you change strategy, you must change the incentives since people will do what you reward them to to do. Not having incentives that support your strategy makes like tougher, having incentives which conflict with your strategy means that you will fail.
- Not measuring progress on your strategic objectives. If it is important, measure it.
- Failing to develop the right business model which can deliver customer benefits and value at a low cost. This means focusing on both efficiency and effectiveness.
- Failing to periodically revise your strategy and particularly if the external environment is unstable.
It was General Eisenhower who said “no plan survives contact with the enemy”. Implementing a rigid plan is impossible because you can’t predict how all the important players will act. That’s why it is important to know the overall objective and broad guidelines since they should influence everything done.
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