Can Strategic Decision Making Go Wrong? Intriguing Insights

Insightful analysis on how strategic decision making can fail, offering intriguing perspectives.
Can Strategic Decision Making Go Wrong? Intriguing Insights


In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing business environment, strategic decision making plays a critical role in the success or failure of organizations. It involves making informed choices about the direction a company will take and how it will achieve its goals. Strategic decisions have long-term implications and can affect a range of aspects of a company, including its financial performance, market share, and customer satisfaction.

Given the importance of strategic decision making, it is essential to consider whether it can go wrong. Can even well-intentioned leaders make mistakes that can undermine the success of a company’s plans and operations? In this article, we will explore the question of whether strategic decision making can go wrong and provide insights into ways to avoid failure.

Reasons Why Strategic Decision Making Can Go Wrong

When companies make strategic decisions in pursuit of organizational goals, there is always a risk of failure. There are several reasons why strategic decision making can go wrong, including:

Lack of understanding the market and target customers

One of the common reasons for strategic decision failures is a lack of understanding of the market and the target customers. Companies that do not invest in understanding the ever-changing needs and preferences of their customers may make decisions that do not align with current market trends, resulting in unfavorable outcomes.

When companies experience a high level of success in a particular industry, they may become complacent and fail to keep up with changing trends. Overreliance on past success can cause decision-makers to become blindsided, leading to poor decision making and eventual failure.

Neglecting to consider external factors and competition

Companies that focus too narrowly on internal operations without considering external factors and competition are likely to make bad decisions. Neglecting external factors, such as new regulations or shifts in the market landscape, can have adverse effects on a company’s long-term growth and profitability.

Inability to effectively execute the strategy

Finally, companies may fail to execute a strategy effectively due to lack of resources, insufficient communication, or a lack of alignment among decision-makers. This inability can result in a discrepancy between the strategy and outcomes, reflecting a failure of strategic decision making.

In conclusion, making the right strategic decisions is essential for organizational growth and success. Understanding the reasons why strategic decision making can go wrong is critical to avoiding pitfalls and making informed decisions.

Case Studies of Failed Strategic Decisions

Here are three examples of well-known companies whose strategic decisions led to their downfall:

Example 1: Kodak

“We’re Kodak. We don’t have to worry about anything.” - Former Kodak CEO George Fisher

Kodak dominated the photography industry for over a century, but they ultimately failed to adapt to the digital age. In 1975, Kodak engineer Steve Sasson invented the digital camera, but Kodak executives were too focused on their film business to invest in the technology. As a result, they missed out on the digital revolution and filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

Example 2: Blockbuster

“I’ve been frankly flabbergasted by the success of Netflix.” - Former Blockbuster CEO John Antioco

Blockbuster was once the largest video rental chain in the world, but they failed to anticipate the rise of streaming services like Netflix. In 2000, Blockbuster had the opportunity to buy Netflix for $50 million, but they declined. By 2010, Blockbuster had filed for bankruptcy and Netflix had become a household name.

Example 3: Nokia

“We didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost.” - Former Nokia CEO Jorma Ollila

Nokia was once the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer, but they failed to keep up with the rapid evolution of the smartphone. In 2007, Apple launched the iPhone, which quickly became a game-changer in the mobile industry. Nokia continued to focus on their Symbian operating system, which proved to be outdated and unpopular. As a result, Nokia’s market share plummeted, and they were eventually acquired by Microsoft in 2014.

These examples showcase the importance of staying ahead of the curve and being willing to adapt to changing market trends.

Intriguing Perspectives on Strategic Decision Making

There are several intriguing perspectives that can help companies make informed and successful strategic decisions.

Incorporating Diversity of Thought in Decision Making

One way to avoid groupthink and narrow-minded decision making is to incorporate diversity of thought in the decision-making process. This means seeking input from individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. By considering a variety of viewpoints, companies can make more well-rounded and informed decisions.

Balancing Long-term and Short-term Goals

Strategic decision making often involves trade-offs between short-term gains and long-term goals. While it may be tempting to focus solely on immediate gains, companies must also consider the long-term implications of their decisions. Striking the right balance requires careful analysis of the potential risks and benefits of different options.

Adopting a Test-and-Learn Approach

One way to mitigate the risks of strategic decision making is to adopt a test-and-learn approach. This involves piloting new strategies on a small scale and evaluating the results before scaling up. By taking an iterative approach, companies can make adjustments along the way and avoid costly mistakes in the long run.

Leveraging Technology and Data to Inform Decisions

In today’s data-driven world, companies have access to more data than ever before. By leveraging technology and data analytics, companies can gain valuable insights into customer behavior, market trends, and competition. These insights can inform strategic decisions and help companies stay ahead of the curve.

Incorporating these intriguing perspectives into the decision-making process can help companies avoid common pitfalls and make more informed, successful strategic decisions.


In conclusion, strategic decision making is critical to the success of any organization. However, as we have seen, it is not foolproof and can go wrong. Lack of understanding the market and target customers, overreliance on past success, neglecting to consider external factors, and inability to effectively execute the strategy are some of the reasons why strategic decision making can go wrong.

Through the case studies of Kodak, Blockbuster, and Nokia, we have seen how failure to make the right strategic decisions can lead to the downfall of even the most successful organizations. It is therefore crucial to incorporate diversity of thought in decision making, balance long-term and short-term goals, adopt a test-and-learn approach and leverage technology and data to inform decisions.

In summary, it is essential to consider multiple perspectives and strategies to avoid failure. The landscape is always changing, and what worked in the past may not always work in the future. Therefore, organizations must stay nimble and receptive to change to make the right strategic decisions. By doing so, organizations can stay ahead of the competition and continue to thrive in an ever-evolving business environment.