Now that we have turned the calendar, strategies abound for what we all plan to do in the New Year – both personally and in business. While New Year’s resolutions are popular – January is a record month for purchases of gym memberships and fitness equipment – many of our New Year’s resolutions turn out to be short-lived.
The same can be said for many business strategies. While we start out with the best intentions, the reasons initiatives fail tend to fall into one of these four categories:
- Not Committing to a Strategy Refresh – It is sad to say, but many companies don’t take the time to really think through their strategy for the year. The reason is that it requires everyone to turn off their phones and spend serious time taking a hard look at the business and asking a lot of tough questions about its future. This exercise takes a lot of discipline, but the best-performing companies find ways to get it done. If you have not yet taken the time to refresh your strategy for 2018, it’s not too late! You still have the balance of the year to implement a revised plan.
- Lack of Communication – For those companies that go through the process of developing a strategy and operating plan, too many don’t communicate it properly to their rank and file employees to make sure everyone is on the same page. Having everyone pulling the oars in the same direction makes the boat move faster. So having a great strategy without communicating it clearly to your team is a missed opportunity.
- Tackling Too Many Things at Once – One of the biggest causes of failed strategy implementation is when companies try to work on too many important items at once. They then find themselves at the end of the year having implemented 10 initiatives, each at 10 percent completion, only to discover the business has not improved. The key to good implementation is to prioritize your initiatives and focus on, say, the top three with an eye toward getting them fully implemented. Bold strategies are great, but the ones that can help your business the most are the ones that get implemented.
- Focusing on Perfection Instead of Completion – In contrast to #3, some companies focus a lot of time on getting things done perfectly rather than just getting things done. Often the planning and time involved in crafting a “perfect” plan is a waste of time because it delays getting things done for the sake of trying to get them done “perfectly.” Remember – done is better than perfect!
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