Do You Know What Strategy Success Mean?

The plan looks good and you seem to have all the pieces in place, but when asked, no one seems to know what success will actually look or sound and feel like.  Sound familiar?

I was working in an environment recently where there was no confusion about strategy success – because it was never discussed. That is certainly on approach to avoiding any confusion to the definition of ‘success’.  Ignore it.

Mona Mitchell and I published our book “7 Elements of Strategy Execution” in mid-2019 as a response to many organizations’ struggle to bring strategy to reality. has been quoted to suggest that “over 60% of strategic plans fail in some way – and many of these never even get off the ground”.

Over the summer I am reviewing some of the Clear Signals That Your Strategic Plan Is Going to Fail. Our first two…

  1. Your Leaders cannot articulate the plan
  2. You do not have a scorecard for your plan.

This week: You do not have a clear definition of what strategy success looks like.

Everyone needs a goal or objective. Beyond the mission of the plan, we want to know what the world looks like upon completion of the strategic plan. Define success early, adjust as you go, but keep it front and center.

Ed Clark, Past President and CEO of TD Financial Group, was heard saying that the key to strategy success was to “tell them where you are going, what it will look like when complete, how it will affect them and what their role will be in the execution of the plan”.  And, most importantly, he would tell you to repeat this regularly, throughout the life cycle of the plan.

I like to suggest that the beginning of the strategy execution process needs you, the leader, to be a salesperson. Define success, paint a clear picture, start selling and keep selling throughout. And the best way to sell anything is to have your customer visualize the end-result – a successful implementation.   

Strategies fail for many reasons:

  1. Your leaders cannot articulate the plan.
  2. You do not have a scorecard for your plan.
  3. You have not clearly defined success.

and more to come.    

Hoping you are having a lovely summer.


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