Why Strategic Plans Fail

I’ve seen research reports that put the failure rate of strategic plans as high as 80 percent and as low as 30 percent.  How can there be such a wide difference?  Well, the discrepancy in those rates is easily understandable when one looks behind the numbers.  It’s not that the researchers looked at the same data and came up with different conclusions.  It’s more about who was was surveyed and how the survey was conducted.

One recent survey “of 163 executives” reported that the respondents said that 82 percent of strategic plan failure was preventable and offered the following reasons for why strategic plans fail:

1.  Failure of unforseen external circumstance (24%);

2.  lack of understanding among those in developing the strategy and what they need to do to make it successful (19%);

3.  the strategy itself is flawed (18%);

4.  poor match between the strategy and core competencies of the organization (16%); and

5.  lack of accountability or holding the team responsible (13%).

This particular study was reported in the Forbes Insight series and can be accessed by clicking here.  It should be noted that you will be required to register to see the study.

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