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Why Strategies Don't Work

By John Malmo


Why Strategies Don't Work, by John Malmo.

Memphis, TN – A couple of weeks ago, I read an article about failed business strategies. The author said various surveys indicated that from seventy to ninety percent of business strategies fail. A feature of the article was a survey of 65 leaders from various industries in the Twin Cities. Two-thirds of them said strategies fail because of "bad habits." He called it organizational inertia. Inability to act. Indecision. And lack of accountability.

And that reminded me of something else I'd read about executing strategies. Twenty-five years ago, a Harvard Business School professor named Tom Bonoma wrote a book entitled The Marketing Edge. It was about how to make marketing strategies work. In 1985, Bonoma wrote:

The General or Marketing Manager knows what he or she wants to get done, but has trouble making the strategy work. Business school training has bred too much of an armchair general's skill at commanding an army from the safety of the rear and too little of the master sergeant's ability to take a platoon up a hill under heavy fire.

Things haven't changed in a quarter-century. Inertia and company culture remain primary culprits when it comes to executing strategies. In other words, it's still a fact that more strategies would wook better if more strategists would work harder.

John Malmo is a Memphis marketing consultant with more than fifty years experience. He is former chairman of Archer Malmo Advertising and specializes today in helping small businesses grow. To reach Mr. Malmo - or to buy a copy of his book When on the Mountain There is no Tiger, Monkey Is King- go to http://www.johnmalmo.com.