Scaling Up—Top 5 Strategy Mistakes CEO’s Make

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Ken Larson

As a top executive coach for leaders of nearly every industry throughout the world, I’ve seen problems that can be easily avoided with the right guidance. It’s one reason why every CEO would benefit from working with one of the top executive coaches.

Too often, CEO’s strategy mistakes make don’t seem bad at first. But it doesn’t take long before their executive teams, employees, and overall business starts to suffer. The CEO doesn’t always understand that often the root of the problem starts with them. 

Thankfully, when you work with one of the top executive coaching firms in Canada or the United States, you’ll see that it’s possible to avoid some of the biggest business pitfalls and instead grow and scale yourself and your company as you’ve envisioned.

The Scaling Up book goes into depth on the 4 foundations of growing a business (People, Strategy, Execution and Cash). In this article, we’ll dive into the top strategy mistakes CEO’s make and how you can avoid making them.

1. Planning Too Late for the Next Year

Too many leaders don’t plan until they’ve received their year-end numbers from the previous year. Not only is it too late, but it’s also important to remember that your annual planning meeting is very different from your annual general meeting (AGM). 

Your planning retreat should be held late in Q3 or early Q4. Your AGM should be held as soon as the previous year’s numbers are ready for release.

Strategy Mistake #1- planning too late

2. Not Including the Right People in the Process

Leaders either include too many — or not enough.

When you involve too many people, especially if they are too far down the organization chart, they may not be in a position to offer valuable input due to a lack of historical perspective. 

When you don’t bring enough people to the table, you run the risk of excluding key people who actually have the historical perspective necessary to add value.

Think of who the best contributors need to be, regardless of who they report to.

Strategy Mistake #2- Not including the right people

3. Facilitating the Process Yourself

You simply cannot be the facilitator and leader (and do a good job of both) at the same time. It’s humanly impossible!

Being just the facilitator puts you in a position to not offer your own input without it appearing to your people that you’re taking over the process. You can’t be objective, nor can they.

Having an experienced and well-trained facilitator who is up-to-speed with your business will then bring out the best in everyone. This facilitator can keep you in the best position to offer your input when the time is most appropriate

Strategy Mistake #3- Trying to facilitate and lead simultaneously

4. Not Engaging in Strategic Thinking Prior to Execution Planning

These two are often lumped together as one. Big mistake!

Strategic thinking, which is often not strategic enough, sets the course for the future from a higher level. You’re able to look further out into the future, taking into consideration several different potential points of impact both internal and external.

Having a clear purpose, vision, and mission is the place to start. Execution planning takes it from there and creates the points of focus. Think of it as the levers we need to pull on to achieve the overall plan.

The key is performing strategic thinking to the point where it’s obvious that execution planning needs to take over. Transitioning between these two is critical.

Start with a cleat purpose and vison

5. Not Reviewing and Revising in Real-Time

Too many strategic plans become “shelf help.” They look really good on the leader’s shelf but aren’t implemented. That doesn’t do your business any good.

One of the issues is these plans rarely get reviewed, refined, and revised. They either get forgotten, or they no longer apply to the real world, internally or externally. 

Keeping an eye on these plans (and their execution success or failure) in a tight rhythm will keep you on track while allowing for the occasional pivot when deemed necessary. 

This rhythm needs to be quarterly at the bare minimum. Companies and leaders who are very much on top of their plans and execution have their plans front and center on a weekly and monthly basis. These organizations can turn on a dime and stay dynamic, no matter what the market or competition does.

have plans front and center

Create Strategies to Meet Your Goals

To reach the level of success you and your company deserve, work with a top executive coach. You’ll benefit from a coach’s skills and experience, which can help you reach your goals and increase performance in your firm for the next year and beyond.

Don’t be one who makes these common strategy mistakes. If you aren’t clear on how to move forward with your business and keep it on the right track, schedule a free 30-minute discovery call with an executive and business coach at Champion PSI today. Whether you’re looking to scale up or shift to meet new demands in the marketplace, we work online and in-person to help you create a strategy that works — without all the common pitfalls.

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