Does your business have a strategy that doesn’t seem to be working and producing the desired results? There are many reasons this can happen and here are a few we have encountered:
1. It’s the wrong strategy. Many times we’ve seen someone come up with an idea that sounds good but is either ill-conceived or ill-timed with the market. Here are a few quick examples:
- Providing more of the same in an already crowded market. A financial institution was disappointed the consumers were not attracted to their latest products and services. Once they realized and admitted this hard truth they were able to start figuring out what they could do to really stand out and differentiate their business.
- Trying to compete in a way you can’t win. A manufacturing company learned they could no longer compete on price with China on the commodity items they had made for years and instead now focus on producing more complex products that their customers need quickly.
- Launching a new product or service before it’s ready for prime time. This may sound like President Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act but it also happens too often in business. One company had a great idea to add a new product that they knew customers wanted. However, they overpromised and undelivered causing many customers to go elsewhere and ended up abandoning the new venture before it hurt their overall reputation.
What to do: It can be tough to admit your strategy is wrong but it’s far better to be honest with yourself and others and own up to the mistake rather than keep on pretending or make excuses why it’s not working while losing money and risking your reputation. Cut your losses now and redeploy your valuable resources on those strategies that are working for you and go back to the drawing board.
2. People don’t get it. Poor communication and a lack of understanding make it difficult for those who must execute a new strategy to get it right. It may be a brilliant strategy but if key staff are uninformed or don’t clearly understand the implementation, it can stall quickly and end up frustrating staff and hurting business.
What to do: Make sure you involve those who you will count on to implement the strategy early on in the process. When possible, invite them to help you design the rollout and estimate the time and resources that will be needed to support the strategy.
3. Poor alignment. Everyone knows what happens when you try to drive a car that’s out of alignment (the ride is bumpy, the tires wear unevenly and it can be annoying or even dangerous). But what happens when you try to run a business that is out of alignment? A business may have a good strategy but if there is poor alignment between the strategy and people, budgets and other resources it can compromise the strategy and also cause great wear and tear.
What to do: You can’t always avoid a bumpy road but you can first check to make sure you have proper alignment and dedicated sufficient resources for successful execution.