Why Strategic Initiatives Disappoint

Published on

Business executives and cross-functional teams have repeatedly faced a common issue over several decades: the failure of strategic planning and business transformation initiatives to successfully deliver on what was originally expected. For example, a global survey of 587 senior executives showed that just 56 percent of strategic initiatives were successful.1 A similar survey found "on average, large IT projects run 45 percent over budget and 7 percent over time, while delivering 56 percent less value than predicted."2


It turns out that Strategic initiative execution is actually designed to fail

Despite an abundance of models and tools, teams commonly struggle when it’s time to integrate strategic plans, operational priorities, and cross-functional project execution. As a result, it’s painfully common for important initiatives to start fast but finish slow (or with significantly lowered expectations as people struggle to stay on the same page).


Begin by integrating the way stakeholders think as individuals

Some people solve problems intuitively while others rely on data. Some solve problems through processes while others try to leverage personal relationships. These differences, left unchecked and disintegrated, lead to predictable implementation dysfunctions.


Better integration = Greater success

To solve implementation dysfunctions, it’s first important to measure stakeholder preferences for problem-solving. Then, integrate them so that strategy, priorities, implementation steps, and stakeholder alignment are integrated up front and able to be executed with greater speed and quality.


This may seem very simple, and it is, but it’s not a natural organizational act. Fortunately, solving it doesn’t take a long time. There is a definitely a better way to implement important strategic initiatives.



1 Why Strategy Execution Unravels--and What to Do About It. Harvard Business Review. March 2015

2 Delivering large-scale IT projects on time, on budget, and on value. McKinsey and Company. October 2012


Add a Comment