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Obstacles to the Success of Strategies

Obstacles to the Success of Strategies

Ideas come and go. Sometimes, these ideas actually come together to form a plan. And even on rare occasions, these plans can come together to form a strategy. But how can this strategy actually be fulfilled? There are many obstacles that can block even the greatest of strategies. When this happens, that strategy is reduced back to merely the ideas that generated it. Ideas that blow in the wind like seeds from a dandelion on a brisk summer day.

Successful high-level strategies in organizations know they will face obstacles and include tactics to overcome them. Some of the hindrances may include a lack of open communication throughout the organization. This can lead to not finding the real reason a strategy may not work. This can also lead to a reduction in truthfulness within the organization. Additional hindrances may come from change that is not fully prepared for or is not accepted by those involved. Although these may block the strategies, there are ways to overcome them.

Solutions can come to those that have the willpower to persevere. Beer and Eisenstat discuss in their article How to Have an Honest Conversation About Your Business Strategy how crafting a “conversation that matters” can provide lessons that teach means to guide the achievement of a strategy (2004). They talk about ideas such as how addressing the most important issues through various public methods, collecting the responses, and allowing employees the freedom to speak their minds without fear in structured ways promotes a fluency throughout that can bring everyone to an understanding and how each individual is an important contributing member of the strategy. They have brought this together into a nine step “Strategic Fitness Process” (Beer & Eisenstat, 2004). These conversations ideally will uncover what is really holding things back and can eventually show the direction on how to drive the necessary changes. Once this direction is discovered, it is a matter of promoting the change in a way that empowers everyone in the organization.

Organizations that wish to follow these guidelines may find themselves blissfully enjoying the rewards of their flourishing strategies. There are some things to remember as they do this. For example, it is recommended that when people are actually honestly speaking their minds, protect them. Protect that conversation in a confidential manner. Also, it is beneficial when talking with people to open the dialog with those in different areas of the organization to further protect their interests. Additionally, another thing to remember is to keep the conversation on topic, concise, and with the issues that matter. Superfluous information can only take momentum away from what needs to get accomplished. Furthermore, when working with change, test the plan before forcing it out. Pounding a square peg into a hole will get the hole filled, but damages the peg and the hole in the process. Find ways to make the changes smoothly and proceed in a way the intentionally includes measures to evaluate its effectiveness.

What it really comes down to is that this strategy is to improve the organization. Improvements may be internal or external, but as long the business performance is better, then everyone can pretty much walk away smiling. The ideas did after all come together to make a worthwhile strategy instead of merely blow away in the wind.


Beer, M. & Eisenstat, R. (2004). How to have an honest conversation about your business strategy. Harvard business review. Vol. 82 Issue 2, p82-89. 8p. Retrieved from

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