Challenges with Executing Strategy in the Public Sector

Recent research conducted by George Washington University, Center for Excellence in Public Leadership and LBL Strategies points to this conclusion: The #1 reason strategy fails in the public sector is

lack of leadership in executing the plan. In April 2019, several public and private sector organizations serving the public sector at the federal, state and local levels reached out to 5000 individuals working in the public sector to query them on the root causes of implementation challenges in government agencies. Of those queried, 126 public sector leaders and managers responded to the survey, which translated into a 2.5% response rate with approximately 60% of responses coming from functional managers working in local government.  

Lack of leadership and poor communication were most frequently ranked as primary reasons for implementation failure. When leaders fail to lead, measure performance and communicate effectively, culture erodes and implementation suffers. All leaders must communicate, communicate and communicate. It begins with leaders and managers taking responsibility to share their personal understanding, commitment and long-term view to others within the organization.

To gain this level of clarity, leaders must first understand the force-field of political and non-political influences impacting implementation, including structural and cultural considerations. These considerations include short political cycles, human self-interests, stakeholder expectations, lacking required skill sets and the resulting impacts of these influences on administrative and funding cycles.

For a complete overview of our findings please download our research report, click here.

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Randall Rollinson/President, LBL Strategies

President, LBL Strategies