It’s Never Too Late. Or Is It?

Photo credit to Robert Irvine


It’s about that time of year when everyone starts to reminisce with a sense of guilt about their resolutions at the beginning of the year. The struggle is between bowing out and waiting for next year to start all over and mastering all will to try and fit your goals within the last quarter. Aside with our personal resolutions to cut back on screen time or the more universal ‘I will get in shape this year’; where do organizations stand matters strategic plans? Yes. The sun is setting on 2022. How far along is your organization, measuring against your implementation plan?

Implementation is often defined as the Achilles heel of the strategic management process (Roney, 2004, p. 233)1. It is estimated that, 67% of business strategies remain unimplemented2. Considering the big talk on strategy in this century, this is alarmingly high! It is worth noting that many of these strategic plans are well formulated and are virtually achievable. This is helped by the predominance of emphasis of formulation of organizational strategic plans. Very Little is said of the execution process. Therefore, the gap in strategic planning is widest at the implementation phase. As a result of this, many organizations rise only to fall.

One of those resounding falls is recorded as that of the BlackBerry. Millennials may not quite grasp the magnitude of this fall. I am not even sure they know what a BlackBerry is. But the rest of us remember what the word meant in its heydays. I mean; if you owned one, you had made it all the way up the success ladder. Frankly, I think the magnitude of its fall was because of how strong their standing was in the market. As of December 2011, the market share held by BlackBerry in the United Kingdom alone was 33.02%, which progressively dived to 0% as of November of 20213.  Grace to grass. How does that happen!

From history, we gather that even at our darkest corners in strategy implementation there will always be business strategists to warn us about oncoming strategic struggles and against the perils of failed business strategies. However, it is for us to readjust our sails, which we often ignore and regrettably so4.

What goes wrong?
There have been many post-mortem reports on the death of BlackBerry. The majority of which converge at a singular point: failure to adapt with the changes in the market. I think BlackBerry and really many of those mighty organizations that have succumbed to strategic failures like Kodak, eBay, Motorola and others, failed at this one point. Such a fall does not happen in a moment. It is the pinnacle of accrued negligence and wrong strategic decision making. Many reasons can and have been cited as the causes of the downfall of these organizations including: time, organization structure, organization culture, resources, leadership and even uncontrollable external factors.

I think however, all of them can be encapsulated in the problem of lack or poor monitoring and evaluation. It is impossible to tailor an organization towards successful implementation without monitoring and evaluation. With constant monitoring and consistent evaluations, we are able to tell where, when and how we need to change or readjust to keep sight of the vision. Implementation plans give us a picture of where any organization is and is also a mirror to the future. It will help you see how well or how badly you are doing. Medical practitioners will tell you, there is more hope of recovery when you catch the bug early. You can address the issues as early as now and get back on track. The failure to monitor and evaluate strategy implementation bears promise of a slow and sure death of any organization.

Are you a present day BlackBerry?
We are about a month shy to the last quarter of the year. Chances are, some organizations have just been going through the motions but have not been monitoring their strategic plans. Therefore, many have no idea what is strategic for next year (2023). Do you think these organizations can make any constructive strides before December if they embarked on their implementation plans today?


1 Roney, 2004, p. 233
2 HBR – % of failed strategies
3 – BlackBerry Market 2011/2021