Do you know why defensive business strategy fails?

Defending against an attack requires exercising laser-like vision on the threat and getting to the true source of vulnerability at play. Management needs to focus its efforts on leveraging the relevant strategic control points and take coordinated actions accordingly.



Defensive initiatives cannot afford to fail. The consequences can cause a ripple effect that cascades through the entire business. Growth plans get scrapped, innovation projects stop, top talent starts to exit, the company’s competitive position weakens, the firm incurs heavy financial losses, and in some cases it can even go bankrupt. Therefore, if your business needs defending against an attack, it pays to know why defensive business strategies fail to protect.



Defense initiatives fail to protect the business due to poor strategy, poor execution, or both. Exhibits 1 and 2 list the most common errors in defensive strategy and execution that cause poor business protection.


Exhibit 1. The Most Common Errors in Developing Defensive Business Strategy

  1. Conflicting views on the situation
  2. Underestimating the nature of the threat
  3. Defending with an offense
  4. Responding late
  5. Overlooking the relevant strategic control points
  6. Misconstruing the strategic end game
  7. Under-rating the competition
  8. Failing to anticipate competitive responses
  9. Not planning for a strong counter-response



Exhibit 2. The Most Common Errors in Executing Defensive Business Strategy

  1. Lack of effective leadership structure to drive the defensive strategy from the top
  2. No clear, logical approach to execution and translation into operational measures
  3. Not allocating the right resources, time, people, and management attention
  4. Poor condition across functions and departments
  5. Accountability assigned at the wrong level
  6. Inadequate performance management
  7. Slow pace, taking too long to execute
  8. Lack of strategic controls on implementation
  9. Failing to make real-time strategic adjustments as the threat unfolds




Because your business is at stake and failure is not an option, it pays to develop an objective outside view. The approach to a defensive business strategy must be thorough and precise to be effective. Adequate guidance by trained professionals can mean the difference between failure and success in defending your business.

Further Reading

Defensive Business Strategy: Why strategic control points count Defensive Business Strategy: When failure is not an option