A new study confirms that while executives believe delivering on strategic plans is important, their organizations are falling short—often because of poor C-suite engagement.

The research findings from the Project Management Institute (PMI) today are included in a report, Why Good Strategies Fail: Lessons for the C-Suite. The report, developed with The Economist Intelligence Unit, examines the gap between strategy development and strategy implementation at global organizations.

While 88 percent of executives surveyed believe delivering on strategic initiatives will be “essential” or “very important” for their organizations’ competitiveness over the next three years, other findings reveal that:

  • 61 percent of survey respondents acknowledge that their firms struggle to bridge the gap between strategy formulation and day-to-day implementation
  • 51 percent of survey respondents say the leading reason for the success of strategic initiatives is leadership buy-in and support
  • 45 percent say the biggest barrier to successful strategy implementation is that the organization lacks “change management” skills.

According the report, 44 percent of strategic initiatives did not succeed in the last three years.

In the study, a strategic initiative is defined as “a project, portfolio of projects, other discrete program or series of actions undertaken to implement or continue the execution of a strategy, or that is otherwise essential for the successful implementation or execution of a strategy.”

The largest percentage of respondents—15 percent—come from the financial services

Fifty-two percent of respondents are C-level executives; the rest are from senior management.

PMI is a not-for-profit membership association for the project management profession.

Source: Project Management Institute