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A race to business failure

A quick business death...

A somewhat dramatic title to the very simple but impactful image below.

Diagram to avoid business failure

I have had this model, drawn freehand on a scrap of A4, lying around in my office for quite some time now. I never file it away because every time I relocate it on my desk it is a persistent and pertinent reminder of some very salient truths.

I wish for the life of me I could remember its source, because if I could remember I would give the author due credit.

Quick death

The title of this article obviously refers to the bottom right quadrant. This indicates a possible or even likely outcome when a poor strategy is perfectly executed, indicating that a great team delivering a poor plan will produce an inevitable and dramatic outcome.

Slow death

Now is it any better that a poorly performing team tries to execute a poor strategy? Probably not although the suggestion is that the inevitable will take longer to arrive.

Limited success

Now give an excellent strategy to a poor team and with a fair wind the outcome will be at least limited success.


And finally, the top right quadrant speaks for itself – no explanation needed really.

So, the lessons are to avoid business failure:

  • We should put the development and delivery of an excellent strategic plan in the hands of a fully aligned team.
  • The team needs to be aligned with:
    • Each other
    • The business values and culture
    • Their goals and plan.

Outcome? Success!


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