The 7 deadly sins of strategy

Controller Leadership

By Robert Murray

Strategy should be simple, however it is often complicated by people who don’t understand strategy. Bold statement? Maybe. My experience has been that most organizations do not fully (or even partially) execute on a business strategy that moves them forward because they are committing the ‘7 Deadly Sins of Strategy.’

What are those 7 Deadly Sins? Simple…

  1. Disengaged culture. Their organizational culture is not one that is engaged, purposeful and inspired by leadership. Peter Drucker once said that; “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” As a turnaround guy, I see this every day.
  2. No purpose. A wise mentor of mine once said that; “When intentions are clear, execution happens.” In other words, when people are emotionally engaged in the mission because they know why, they will courageously move as a single, engaged team.
  3. No mountain top. Unless people know what mountain they are trying to climb, any destination will do. Vision needs to be clear, concise and compelling.
  4. Too many things to do. It has been proven over and over again that if a team has more than three things on their ‘to-do’ list, they will not execute. Why? Too overwhelming. Hard to remember. Hard to prioritize. Lack of team alignment.
  5. No part to play. If your team members do not know specifically and explicitly what their role and responsibility is, they will do their very best to do what they think they should. Problem with that is that ‘their very best’ may be counter to what the plan is. Everyone needs to know how, when they do their part, they contribute to the success of the plan.
  6. No governance. The leader needs to check-in on a regular basis to ‘inspect what they expect.’ Not reviewing the plan will lead to surprises for everyone in terms of failure.
  7. Communication.  If you are not communicating as regularly as you would brush your teeth, you will see that the team is failing. Their failure is usually the leader’s failure to communicate.

 To learn more about the ‘7 Deadly Sins of Strategy’, register for Robert Murray’s upcoming seminar Simple Strategy – Simply Said.


Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, partner at Incrementa Consulting Inc., #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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