Nine Common Obstacles That Derail Growth

As you approach the end of the first quarter of 2011, your growth plan and marketing activities are well underway. How will you keep them fresh and relevant?

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As you approach the end of the first quarter of 2011, your growth
plan and marketing activities are well underway. How will you keep
them fresh and relevant?


Launching and implementing your growth plan entails risks. Plans often
expose underlying conflicts within the organization. It may disrupt the
status quo, the ways decisions are made, and strain the most
established relationships among key players. How can you prevent
current operating norms and B.S. (Belief Systems) from dictating,
derailing, or delaying your growth plan?

The first step is to understand the main causes of plan derailment.
Here are the most 9 common ones that I have observed over the past two

  1. Lack of communication–The plan doesn’t get communicated to employees or allies who keep on working in the dark.
  2. Mired in the day-to-day–Managers consumed by daily operating
    problems lose sight of long-term goals. Today’s technical outage,
    employee resignation, or client emergency will happen. The question is:
    how well are you structured to delegate some of these emergencies to
    others who can handle them?
  3. Out of the ordinary — The plan is treated as something separate and removed from the management process.
  4. People perceive vision, mission and value statements as fluff. How did that limiting belief become part of your company culture?
  5. The plan is reviewed too infrequently to stay relevant. If you
    are relying on one annual retreat to review your plan, you might as
    well not have one. It has already become obsolete.
  6. Conducting business as usual after a live planning meeting. How
    often have you seen teams leave a planning session and quietly comment
    about “getting back to normal again?”
  7. Failing to make the tough choices. A solid, well thought out plan
    will reveal deficiencies in your team, your marketing plan, your
    funding, or your capacity. Are you ready to fill those gaps and relieve
    people who are a poor fit in the new organization? Or, do you tend to
    hope they will leave on their own accord? Will you need to meet with
    your banker and request a higher line of credit? These are challenges
    you must confront, not ignore.
  8. Lacking a scoreboard: Are you measuring what’s easy, or what is important?
  9. Neglecting to benchmark your company against the competition.
    Remember that your biggest competitors may include Inertia, Inc. and
    Not Invented Here.

You can overcome these common planning mishaps.


For best
results, regularly share the strategic plan with other stakeholders
like investors, customers, alliance partners, etc. An “open book”
approach will likely generate more helpful ideas and suggestions about
the future of your business. In our next post, I will show you a process
to guide the reviews and turbo-charge your teams.

[Photo courtesy of]

Copyright 2011, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.


Lisa Nirell is the Chief Energy Officer of EnergizeGrowth®. She
helps companies grow customer mind share and market share. Since 1983, Lisa has worked with Trend Micro,
Zappos, BMC Software, Microsoft, IBM, and hundreds of entrepreneurs in
nine countries. Lisa is also an award-winning expert speaker, business
columnist and the author of “EnergizeGrowth® NOW: The Marketing Guide
to a Wealthy Company.” To download your five complimentary educational
bonuses and sample chapter, visit and register for EnergizeNews.


About the author

Lisa Nirell helps courageous CEOs and CMOs accelerate growth and innovation. She’s also the Chief Energy Officer of EnergizeGrowth® and the founder of Marketing Leaders of DC™ and Atlanta


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