You know, I’ve likely said it over and over, but one of the recurring challenges that most companies and organizations face is their lack of strategic performance. They may be performing just fine, but they are no closer to their long term vision than they were at the start of the quarter, year, or, even, week.

Over and over, I talk with CEOs and executives at non-profits, for-profits, and all manner of organization in between about why their strategy is failing and what they can do about it.

Typically, we can boil down the challenge to 3 simple areas.

So, let’s work through those 3 areas and let’s see if your organization’s strategy is failing because of these common mistakes:

1. Mistake one: Your strategy focuses on the HOW you do your work and not the end results:

In too many cases, all of the strategy is focused on talking about how you do your job and your work. That is low level stuff, turning your unique selling proposition into a commodity.

You have to stop that.

Do you really want to be the penny stock of your field?

To start solving this, ask yourself…

Am I talking to much about the how we do what we do?

Are we focused too much on implementation and activities?


Are we focusing on outcomes?



If you are talking about activities, that’s commodity conversations and likely your strategy is struggling because you have put yourself in the position where you are in a race to the bottom and price is always going to be a consideration because why pay you $2 to do a marketing or design project when I can pay this other person $1?

2. Are you targeting the real buyers and the places that can really use your value?

I’m not playing coy here when I say, not all meetings are valuable and not all prospects are created equal.

The same can be said for anything we do in business.

But one of the real drags on strategies is when you find yourself in a situation where you aren’t really targeting your efforts at the right organizations or people.

I’m sure if you have been doing any of this for any length of time, you recognize the problem that lots of people want to talk with you, but not all of them have money.

If you are in business and you spend a lot of time working on prospects that have no way to use your value, pay for your value, or recognize your value, pretty quickly you will be out of business.

So to stop this, you need to really focus in on these questions:

  • Who can use our value?
  • Who can buy and pay for this value?
  • Am I speaking with these people and organizations consistently? Or, are we spending a lot of time talking with people that can only say “no?”

3. Is your messaging hitting its mark?

This is often the most simple to fix and the most challenging to get people to wrap their heads around.

The challenging part comes in that there are so many so called social media gurus and ninjas and experts out there that all repeat the same crappy advice that they stole from some forum or website that was designed to help them sell “effortlessly” or market with no testing.

At the core of your marketing program are 3 questions, which should also provide the spine of your strategy:

* What tangible and intangible value do we provide our clients?

* Who is our customer? Meaning can they use and buy the value we create!

* How do we reach these customers?

The how question is really essential to making sure that your messaging hits its mark.


Because you have so much advice telling you that you absolutely have to use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or any number of other tools to get your message to your audience.

The truth is that you DON’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING!

What you do have to do to is what makes sense for your particular audience, for your buyers.

That’s going to change depending on what type of buyer you are targeting.

Are you looking for executive level buyers in the IT industry?

Is Pinterest going to help you reach them quickly and effectively in a manner that lets you have the right conversations?

Is your product or service a mass market item?

How will that change your messaging and marketing?

The key concept is that you need to really understand who your buyers are and the best tools and activities to reach them and not to rely on someone that tells you that you have to do something one way…because that is always a lie.

At the core, these are the challenges that crop up over and over in most strategies.

Is this something you see at play in your organization? Let me know in the comments.

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