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Why 70% of CEOs Fail

By January 16, 2012May 1st, 2013No Comments

The real problem isn’t the high-level strategy. It’s bad execution!

Guest post by Wayne Kurzen, Certified Growth Coach

Fortune Magazine says 70% of CEOs fail because they don’t take action. The real problem isn’t the high-level strategy.  It’s bad execution!

Your strategy becomes public knowledge rather quickly – the deal breaker is in how well you execute!  Southwest Airlines is the only airline that has made money every year for the past 27 years. Everyone knows its strategy, yet no company has successfully copied its execution.

How do you know it you have an Execution problem?

  1. Increasing Revenue is not accompanied by increasing Profit.
  2. Dealing with the same internal problem(s) over and over.
  3. Not consistently delivering the same quality (including delivery time) product/service.
  4. Taking too much time to make and/or distribute your product/service.
  5. Everyone is pointing the finger at some other entity to try to deflect liability and blame.
  6. Too many boring meetings.
  7. Slow decision-making – not enough relevant and accurate feedback.

In my previous article, I introduced the Four Decision areas critical to business fast growth. These Decisions are People, Strategy, Execution and Cash.  Let’s take a brief look at the Decision that most effects Profit – EXECUTION.

Would you like to know your strengths and weakness regarding Execution? Take a look at this Execution Checklist used by 20,000 companies worldwide.

So what is the secret to overcoming Execution problems?  Well, it really goes back to Decision #1, PEOPLE.  But let’s say you have the right people in the right seats and you know you have a great strategy.

“The reality in most organizations is that execution too often turns into talking about execution. It becomes talking instead of doing. You must build a unified organization that is quick, bold and knows how to execute.” Tom Peters, author In Search of Excellence

Execution requires a plan, discipline, systems, accountability, and commitment.  Here are some tools and actions I have found that make execution consistently happen:

  • Awareness of where you are now – try the Gazelles 10 Habits Execution Checklist.
  • A 90-day action plan with 3-5 goals supporting your Strategic Goals – complete with action steps, who is responsible, and when each is to be completed.
  • Commitment of resources – giving your team both the responsibility and the authority to execute.
  • Measuring the right Key Performance Indicators and knowing what they mean.
  • Documented processes.  If it isn’t written – it is not a process.
  • Knowing the difference between a problem and a “tension” – you solve problems, but manage “tensions”.
  • Constant attention to your supply chain – your vendors are your customers too.
  • Keeping your team “Synchronized”—a well-run, meaningful Daily Huddle (10-12 minutes).


Wayne Kurzen the founder of “The Kurzen Group”, has over 30 years of sales, marketing, management and leadership experience. He is known for putting the fun and profit back into business by providing new ideas, proven strategies and customized solutions for growing businesses and executives who want to increase their revenue and get bigger and better results from their team.

Wayne personally started an importing business that he grew to Home Depot supplier in just 2 years. As a business coach, he has won four national level coaching awards for marketing, client results, and rookie coach of the year.

Wayne is a former military and airline pilot, certified Gazelles International Coach, a member of the Atlanta-based Entrepreneur Advisors, and an inspirational presenter.