10 Reasons Why Businesses Fail To Execute Their Strategy

10 Reasons Why Businesses Fail To Execute Their Strategy

The reason why great business execution is so important to a growing business is that execution drives profits and time management.

Tighten your execution and you can significantly improve your margins and profits, while reducing the time it takes to complete the work.

The first thing you need to get right to achieve great business execution is a clear, high level and overarching company strategy. Your company strategy explains what needs to be achieved to drive revenue growth.

Once you have your strategy in place, execution takes centre stage. It is often stated that 90% of company strategies fail due to poor business execution – a statistic I have seen proven first-hand in my 30+ years of business experience. Poor execution directly affects revenue growth and reduces net profit. There is no point in having a fantastic strategy in place if you cannot execute it well. Why do businesses fail? Often, it is because of a failure of execution strategy.

Below are the top 10 reasons why companies fail at execution and some tips to help you improve business execution. If you get these things right, your business will grow.

10 Reasons for Execution Failure and How to Avoid These Growth Traps

  1. Lack of clear, inspirational strategy for the medium and long-term future. 

Your strategy must be clear and, just as importantly, it must be inspirational. If it is not inspirational, you won’t get buy-in from your team, which in turn makes it almost impossible for the right execution to happen. Do you have a stellar strategy for the mid- to long-term?

  1. Focusing on too many things.

There will always be more good ideas than there is capacity to execute. The question is “what are the priorities that will help achieve your strategy?” You should not have more than five priorities in a quarter. Having fewer priorities allows you to apply more focus and energy to achieve your goals and your chance of achieving these with excellence is much greater. What are your priorities for this quarter?

  1. Lack of leadership or sponsorship for achieving your priorities.

When a commitment to and process for achieving the company goals is not put in place, staff will not focus on them. Your people will deal with what they perceive is urgent in their individual roles, they will stay in their day-to-day and the priorities of the company will be forgotten. Have you made your company priorities clear for all staff?

  1. Not having clear, well-defined priorities, KPI’s and weekly milestones.

It is fairly obvious that priorities need to be clear and well defined for people to understand what it is they are executing. KPI’s also need to be in place so that you can track progress for each company goal. Are your KPI’s defined and related to the achievement of your goals?

  1. Too busy to have daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly meetings.

Without a clear meeting rhythm in your business accountability disappears, measuring of goals stops and priorities drift in timeframe – or are not achieved at all. Do you have a clear and consistent meeting rhythm in your business?

  1. Overcomplicating the process.

This frustrates people and slows down achieving the goals. Keep it simple, including the measuring process. Check your priorities and goals are clear and simple.

  1. A culture of a lack of accountability and follow through.

A culture of accountability needs to be built into your company if you are to be consistently great at execution. The results are worth it and everyone will have fun on the way. Do you know what you really mean in your business when you make someone accountable, assign responsibility or give authority?

  1. Leaders are too busy working IN the company vs ON the company.

When leaders are in this situation they are caught in the organisational whirlwind, and the important priorities get lost quickly in the day to day. Work on improving execution within your business so you and your management teams have more time to work ON the business.

  1. Lack of willingness for the organisation to change.

If this is the situation, the result is simple – the company stays where it is. It does not grow, net profit does not improve and your business stagnates. Do you need to embrace change?

  1. Spending too much time in the mechanics phase of implementation.

Overcomplicating implementation by spending too much time figuring out small details, working out the perfect way to achieve your priorities, creating elaborate systems and processes – essentially creating bureaucracy before you start executing. This all slows down execution, disengages staff and complicates what can be simple. Sometimes it’s good to just get going!

If any or all of these points ring true for your business – then you are in a growth trap. Change your approach and you can increase net profit, improve employee satisfaction and give yourself more time to manage your business.

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  • About the Author, Leigh Paulden

    Leigh Paulden


    Leigh Paulden is an author and internationally certified business growth consultant with over 30 years of experience across 30+ different industries. He works with mid-market business leaders looking to grow. He creates the clarity and certainty needed to make great decisions and achieve scalable and sustainable success.

    Find out more about Leigh or contact him to discuss taking your business growth to the next level.