Your strategy failed, but why?
Why did your strategy fail? That is a question that you ask when things did not go as planned. During the last quarter of the fiscal year, entrepreneurs will take time to work on new strategies and plans. Those are the things that will become the compass to guide the business during the next year. I am talking about the budget and the business plan.
Action Plans are the reason why your strategy fails
Strategies for the areas of quality, cost, delivery, people development, and any other you feel adequate for your business are as effective as the action plans to achieve the objectives are. Each strategy needs a good plan, a story that tells how you will attain the business objectives and goals. Many companies fail to create a good action plan, and therefore the strategies fail. Authors David Norton and Robert Kaplan indicate in their book The Balanced Scorecard that ninety percent of organizations fail to execute their plans successfully. The following are the top three reasons why action plans, and therefore strategies, fail.
Lack of clarity
The goal or objective sometimes is not clear, is open to different interpretations, which leads to confusion and lack of accountability. While stating your business goals, make sure to say what you want to achieve in simple words. Be specific and never assume people know what you are talking about. Make clear who is responsible for getting the results. Name a person, not a department, or a group as the responsible party. Finally, make crystal clear time expectations for completion.
Another problem is that goals are not SMART, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Unrealistic goals are often the result of the leadership process of setting goals without any involvement with the people who will be responsible. There is no doubt that many leaders know their operations, but not better than the people working in the trenches every day. By making your mid-level managers part of the planning process, you can make sure that objectives are clear, goals are realistic, performance is measured with the right metric, and the time estimated for completion is attainable.
The three C’s of Effective Communication, clear, collaborative, and consistent are indispensable for planning execution effectiveness. Specific, crystal clear plans are critical to avoid confusion and ensure accountability. Regardless of how good people in your team is, they need help to achieve the company goals. Collaboration between team members is critical for success. Not taking the time to listen to each other, not to judge or blame but to learn and help each other is a big mistake that will lead to not achieving the goals.
Effective communication has to start from the moment the plans are being drafted, continue once they are published to ensure everybody is aligned, and keep going during the year to revise performance and reflect on actions and results. Make a routine of asking for progress during regular meetings, ask for challenges, what is working, what is not working. Be on the lookout for changes in assumptions, the market environment, or any other change that may affect performance. Talk about how to adapt or change the plan, is the goal still attainable, or does it need revision?
What to do to avoid that your strategy fails
To be in the ten percent of organizations that execute their strategies successfully, make sure to define the strategy and state SMART goals. For your planning process, identify all the action plans that are necessary to achieve each strategy. Be clear, realistic, and communicate effectively with the right people while designing the action plan. Once completed, ensure to be clear about who is responsible and the timing for completion. Talk about the goals frequently, revise performance, assumptions, and results. Reflect upon those things and adapt the plan if necessary. Success is not easy, but it is possible by not losing sight of your destination and using your compass (action plans and goals reflection) to get there on time.