80% Of Strategies Fail At The Point Of Execution

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For many years I have admired the work and applied the wisdom of Ram Charan, world renowned academic, business advisor and author. So it was a key note address that he made on one of his many visits to Australia that I turned to when a senior manager stated that we have become too enamoured with planning strategy and have forgotten the importance of execution, so much so that he believes 80% of strategy fails at the point of execution.

Charan is the first to acknowledge that strategy, leadership, management, creativity and innovation, are essential contributors to profitable organisational success; however he stressed that unless an organisation can execute its plans effectively, it puts at risk long term sustainability.

  • Ensure there is closure on expectations for delivery. What has to be done, by whom, by when. To gain real commitment this has to be negotiated so people understand what they are accountable for delivering. Accountability is binary, people are either accountable or they are not
  • Follow through by managers is essential. What are the measures, how will measurement occur and when will it be done
  • Managers need to be curious. Because disruption abounds and change occurs so rapidly in today’s business environment managers need to be constantly scanning for what’s new, what’s changed, what’s different, and where the next competitor attack is likely to come from. Ram Charan believes one of the most valuable questions a leader can ask when interacting with members of their team, clients and business partners, is very simply “What’s new?” He maintains you will be amazed what you will find out. Try it
  • Right people in the right jobs. So often we try to fit ‘square pegs in round holes’. Be clear about the role, however his advice is don’t waste unnecessary time and money searching for the perfect candidate, instead define three clear non-negotiable criteria for the role, look for the three or four core skills needed and the person’s ability to grow into the role
  • Managers need to perfect the art of asking the right questions. Questions asked need to draw out from people the clarity of their thinking about what has to be implemented. The goal for leaders is to be able to ask simple, insightful questions in fifteen words or less
  • Managers Need Laser Focus. Managers need to ensure work gets done up, down, and across the company. One of their goals must be to minimise hierarchy as it frustrates effort; the second is to maximise the synchronisation of the moving parts of the company to maintain the momentum to get things done

To get things done, to execute, managers must be practical, pragmatic, and surround themselves with the right people who are willing to commit to delivering agreed outcomes. Managers have to be prepared to maintain sufficient pressure without destroying confidence in order to achieve the required results.


Vivente Australia enables leaders and managers develop the bond between people and performance, creating a powerful advantage: the synergy between people, leadership, management, and culture, produces performance that allows your business to achieve its best.

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