Three Reasons Companies Fail at Strategy

  This is really a sticky note I had on my desk when I was trapped inside a cubicle at a Fortune 500 company that didn't understand strategy. #Enjoy

This is really a sticky note I had on my desk when I was trapped inside a cubicle at a Fortune 500 company that didn't understand strategy. #Enjoy

Raise your hand if you’ve seen time and time again, a major executive come into a company, get a big nice salary, and absolutely suck at their job? Hand raised, I have!

This blog isn’t to disrespect anyone, especially executives, who are bad at their job. But this article will go over the three main reasons why big corporations suck at putting together any kind of marketing strategy. Yes, you guessed it! When companies have a hard time putting together a solid business strategy, it all trickles from the top down. All the way from the VP level to the brand new college graduate entry level hire.

Staff Turnover

The main reason I’ve seen big corporations really struggle with putting together a good market strategy is because of continual staff turnover. This is a simple concept. Hire good people, advance and develop those people, and work your ass of as a company to try and retrain/keep those people. Create longevity.

I see too many companies not retain employees. When you walk in to a company (with exceptions of a startup), and the longest employee in your department has only been there a year or less- That should be a red flag. If the culture you’re working in is constantly getting rearranged, then the company, and especially you as a professional, will never be able to build a quality working relationship with your “team”.

I’ve seen it time and time again, where a company hires a new VP and less than two years in they have already fired that person, and the company is looking for their next executive candidate. How and the hell are you supposed to put together a strong strategy when you have this kind of turnover? If your team can’t stay together as unit, and you have no working relationship with your employees, colleagues, or peers, then it will be an uphill battle trying to integrate and piece together an effective strategy. Is it possible? Yes. Is it insanely difficult? Hell yeah. Do I recommend it? Absolutely not. Get a solid team that understands their role and contribution to whatever strategy you’re putting together, then have each individual integrate and become the subject matter expert on their “piece to the strategy”.

Bad Systems

This sounds simple, but it can be overly complicated. If you have bad systems (technology) in place, you can almost always expect to add extra work to your plate.

I’ve seen it twice now in my young career. Big companies, with horrible systems. Talk about constantly fighting a roadblock. The problem with having bad systems, outside of “having bad systems”, is most companies are landlocked in a bad contracts. This can really put any talks or plans for a strategy at a standstill. When putting together a major strategy for any company, it is critical to know the tools that will help you put that strategy into action. This is impossible if you have poor systems in place.

It’s always been shocking to me how a company will hold onto a system out of sheer pride, just because they “paid” for the contract, when in all reality, instead of taking the loss on the contract, they put more time, effort, and ultimately money into trying to make bad systems work. Yes, this most definitely is an operations problem. But if this is a company’s reality, good luck trying to make a thought out strategy work.  

Bad Leadership

This is last on the list, but in my opinion, is the most important thing. Leadership is key for any company to succeed, and it’s no different when it comes to putting together a strategy.

Having the wrong people in leadership positions will always sink your ship. Management must be willing to make tough decisions to ensure the right individuals are in the right leadership positions.

A common factor with bad leadership is their unwillingness and inability to change. When putting together a strong strategy, you have to understand your strategic plan must be nimble and able to adapt. Don’t let bad leadership get in the way of your company’s future success.


Be strategic about your strategy. The initial steps are the always the hardest. Get a team of individuals together that are dedicated and willing to take responsibility for “their piece” of the puzzle.

Also, don’t over complicate things. Too many moving parts will confuse not only yourself, but also your team. Have a clear objective when putting together your strategy. I also recommend giving yourself a strategy deadline. Don’t put your strategy on the shelf. Having a “strategy” in the works for too long is never a good thing. This is a critical mistake with many companies. Give you and your team a deadline with your strategy, and work your ass of to hit it. And once it’s complete- Celebrate and breathe…Then execute it.

If you're looking for help with your small business marketing Denver campaigns, please feel free to contact GoEdison, a top notch Denver based digital marketing agency. 

Strategy is my specialty, and I'm a firm believer that the term "strategy" is used way too lightly. Sign up below, and let's talk some strategy. 

Name *