10 dumb mistakes companies make over and over. "Not again! " Picture courtesy Flickr user Alex E. Proimos COMMENTARY These days I'm constantly bombarded with books and articles about why leaders, executives and companies fail. It's mindboggling. Most of the "sage" advice is pretty weak, running the gamut from the absurdly obvious to the obviously absurd. One article by author and psychologist Jack Stark lists the top five reasons leaders fail as greed, insecurity, power, arrogance and narcissism.
Mark Stevens, author of "Your Marketing Sucks," says companies fail because of "lack of leadership. " 10 reasons why smart people do dumb things And while leadership experts blog and tweet all sorts of generic, esoteric nonsense, executives and their companies keep making the same dumb mistakes they've always made, over and over again. Killing promising new businesses to maintain old ones. Lack of objectivity and perspective. Failure to articulate the company's strategy. Chronically bleeding red ink. Not challenging the status quo. The Art of Crafting a 15-Word Strategy Statement - Alessandro Di Fiore. By Alessandro Di Fiore | 12:00 PM February 12, 2014 In the January issue of HBR, Roger Martin sets out some rules for avoiding common mistakes in strategy making.
As he writes in “The Big Lie of Strategic Planning”, the first rule is “keep the strategy statement simple.” Rather than a long, often vague document, the company’s strategy should summarize the chosen target customers and the value proposition in one page. I couldn’t agree more. In my consulting work, I take this idea even further by asking my clients to summarize their strategy in less than 15 words. Focus: What you want to offer to the target customer and what you don’t;Difference: Why your value proposition is divergent from competitive alternatives. Sounds simple. All great business strategies can be summarized in a short headline. Neuroscience can help us in this endeavor. To understand the power of comparison, let me retell this famous old advertising story. The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy. Editor’s Note: In 1979, Harvard Business Review published “How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy” by a young economist and associate professor, Michael E.
Porter. It was his first HBR article, and it started a revolution in the strategy field. In subsequent decades, Porter has brought his signature economic rigor to the study of competitive strategy for corporations, regions, nations, and, more recently, health care and philanthropy. “Porter’s five forces” have shaped a generation of academic research and business practice. With prodding and assistance from Harvard Business School Professor Jan Rivkin and longtime colleague Joan Magretta, Porter here reaffirms, updates, and extends the classic work. In essence, the job of the strategist is to understand and cope with competition. As different from one another as industries might appear on the surface, the underlying drivers of profitability are the same. The Five Forces That Shape Industry Competition Forces That Shape Competition.
Closing the Chasm Between Strategy and Execution - Doug Sundheim. By Doug Sundheim | 11:00 AM August 22, 2013 Setting strategy is elegant. It’s a clean and sophisticated process of collecting and analyzing data, generating insights, and identifying smart paths forward. Done at arm’s length in an academic fashion, tight logic is the only glue needed to hold ideas together. The output is a smooth narrative in a professional-looking document made up of Venn diagrams, 2×2 matrices, and high-level plans of attack.
Then the trouble starts. The implication is obvious — strategists and executors must work together better to bridge these two worlds. When things fall apart, each points a finger at the other side. The easy solutions for this divide are the process solutions: better project management, clearer rules of engagement, and tighter operating policies. Strategy and execution is a false dichotomy, unnaturally sheared apart in order to divide labor in increasingly complex organizations. The best strategists believe: The best executors believe: What Is Strategy? The Big Lie of Strategic Planning. All executives know that strategy is important. But almost all also find it scary, because it forces them to confront a future they can only guess at.
Worse, actually choosing a strategy entails making decisions that explicitly cut off possibilities and options. An executive may well fear that getting those decisions wrong will wreck his or her career. The natural reaction is to make the challenge less daunting by turning it into a problem that can be solved with tried and tested tools. That nearly always means spending weeks or even months preparing a comprehensive plan for how the company will invest in existing and new assets and capabilities in order to achieve a target—an increased share of the market, say, or a share in some new one.
The plan is typically supported with detailed spreadsheets that project costs and revenue quite far into the future. By the end of the process, everyone feels a lot less scared. This is a truly terrible way to make strategy. Do 9 out of 10 strategies really fail? I don’t think so!, in 4G Balanced Scorecard. Given the Balanced Scorecard approach is now twenty years old, it is worth looking back at the assumptions, myths, and where it has come from: Also where it is now.
In this article we look at a really common statistic that was popularised with Norton & Kaplan’s approach: you may have come across the “statistic” that 90% business strategies fail due to poor execution. Now, I have never believed it, though it is attributed to Fortune Magazine in the early 90′s. It is also frequently cited in Balanced Scorecard literature as Norton & Kaplan also refer to the article. So, in response to a question put on Linkedin about where it came from and whether it is still true, I want to explain what really lay behind this figure and what it really means. It will help you understand why strategy really fails, and also what Failure means, and how this relates to the Balanced Scorecard approach as a systematic strategy execution tool. In summary: leading to… Now, this article is very hard to pin down. Strategy.