BY MANIE BOSMAN
While many authors on the topic of why strategic plans fail seem to agree that bad execution is the primary culprit, blaming failure on those who were supposed to “make it happen” is perhaps a a too easy way out for the “visionaries” on the top floor. Paul Carroll and Chunka Mui (authors of Big Blues: The Unmaking of IBM and Billion Dollar Lessons) are probably the world’s foremost corporate failure experts, and they believe that flawed strategies were in fact the biggest cause of failure. Studying 750 U.S. business failures over a period of 25 years, they concluded that most “avoidable fiascoes” resulted from seven “risky strategies”:
Although these seven strategies are not always bad ideas and have in fact generated considerable wealth for some companies, they’re dangerous for being appealing in ways that can tempt executives to ignore signs of impeding danger. It seems that this once again confirms what I’ve stated in previous posts on this blog – that strategic plans without strategic thinking can be a sure recipe for failure in today’s dynamic and fast-changing environment.
Carroll, P. B, & Mui, C. (2008). 7 Ways to fail big. Harvard Business Review, September, 82-91.