The 7 deadly sins of strategy.

Shared by Jeroen Kraaijenbrink on LinkedIn

Why do strategies fail? And why do they fail to be effectively executed so often? These are the seven deadly sins of strategy execution.

Time and again, research shows how difficult it is to generate and execute strategy. From the many lists of causes, I like this one by Johnson, Scholes and Whittington in their bestselling strategy textbook “Exploring Strategy.”

As they report, there are seven main failings in strategy and change management. They are the seven deadly sins of strategy execution: 

• Death by Planning. An overemphasis on analysis and on planning the strategy rather than on delivering it, with the result that the organization never really gets into execution model.

• Loss of Focus. Executing a strategy takes time and continuous effort. After the big bang introduction, attention to the strategy erodes while everyone is returning to business as usual. 

• Reinterpretation. People adopt the terminology used in the new strategy but use it to describe what they already were doing. The effect is that there is no real change.

• Disconnectedness. This happens when the strategy is purely based on top management’s perception of reality. Down-the-line managers and employees may face a very different reality, creating a disconnect. 

• Behavioral Compliance. People literally do what is asked from them without really buying into the new strategy. They keep up appearances and tick the necessary boxes, but don’t embrace the strategy.

• Misreading Resistance. Employees are blamed for resisting the change, while in fact something else is going on. Often, the strategy is simply not clear enough or its reasons are not explained.

• Broken agreements. Management promotes the strategy in words, but undermines it with what they do. They violate trust and credibility by not acting along the lines of the strategy. 

I dare to bet that you recognize some, many, or even all of them. And if you don’t, let everyone know, because it means your organization must be a star in strategy execution!