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Strategy implementation

Learners explore how to implement a strategy.

Organisations spend billions of dollars per year on strategy consulting, though it is known that around 80% of strategic plans fail to succeed. Why does this happen? Why is so much money invested on strategic consulting with no later return?

Strategy activation

The organisation Xplane has dedicated over 25 years to strategy implementation, sharing their wise approach and practice about the topic. They identify three main reasons for strategies to fail:

1. No clear vision about the strategy

It is important that everyone knows the path to follow. It is fundamental that the entire team has clear vision and sight about the target to reach. Everyone should understand the plan to reach the target, what their responsibilities are in getting there, and the importance of each of these elements in giving the strategy life.

Read the article, Overcoming strategy failure: Three principles to bring your strategy to life [1], which explains three principles to use when bringing your strategy to life.

2. No activation plan

If you don’t plan how you will activate the strategy into the organisation, your strategy will fail. Strategy activation is about eliminating the gap between developing it and executing it. It’s a continuous cycle of improvement made possible by incorporating real-time feedback from a combination of humans and technology.

There is a great commitment from companies in strategy consulting and development, however they commonly invest little time and money in creating a plan to activate the strategy. We need much more dedication, education, and focus around strategy activation.

Read the article, Five tools to create a solid strategic plan [2], to see what you can use to create a solid strategic plan.

3. Lack of employee and stakeholder engagement

The more empowered employees and team players are about a defined strategy, the more engaged and committed they are during its activation and implementation. The absence of this commitment is often related to hierarchy in organisations that promote silo working and poor communication between teams. Involving colleagues, peers, and stakeholders is critical to motivate and engage everyone on the roadmap and specific roles to be taken.

Read Seven steps to engage your employees in strategic planning [3], which describes how Xplane applies ‘the three Rs’ to a strategy planning process, using seven easy-to-follow steps.

Winning in today’s markets is not easy. The environment is more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous than ever before. Competition is fierce and customers are more connected than ever, demanding great performance, quality, and service at a better price. A good strategy is not a guarantee but it can help you win.

Signs of a winning strategy

It is not easy to acknowledge if your team’s strategy design is the right one to succeed, especially in a current market where uncertainty and competitors are abundant. However, there are a few signs you should look out for that may indicate you are on the right path to a winning strategy.

  • Differentiation

Are you looking to deliver something that is different from your competitors? If you are, your organisation is delivering value to the market in a distinct way.

  • Loyalty

Do users trust the organisation enough to buy a new product or service?

  • Good product / service profit

Is the organisation making a profit? This points to competitors not having any impact on your financial viability.

  • Abundance of resources

Do you have more access to talented resources than your competitors? There is a big margin between revenue and costs and you are more prepared to adapt to market circumstances.

  • Competition shield

Do you seem to stay out of competitor in-fighting? This probably means that you are a more difficult target to hit.

  • First option

Do users look for your product or services? This means you have a highlighted position in the market that creates value for them.

No strategy lasts forever, so it’s critical to make this even if your team engages a winning strategy. Strategy is a process rather than a result; the choices you make should be under revision at all times.


  1. Overcoming strategy failure: Three principles to bring your strategy to life [Article]. Xplane; 2019 Dec 19. Available from:

  2. Five tools to create a solid strategic plan [Article]. Xplane; 2020 Aug 27. Available from:

  3. Wehrly S. Seven steps to engage your employees in strategic planning [Article]. Forbes; 2019 May 31. Available from:

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