Why Great Launches Fail: Overcoming the Post-Announcement Slump


Ever wonder why some projects fizzle out after a promising start? Learn why sustaining momentum is crucial and how you can master the art of execution beyond the launch.

“I’m So Excited to Announce…”

When was the last time you launched a new campaign or began a new initiative? 

Announcing is fun. The buildup and preparation are full of excitement. However, I’ve found that most leaders spend way more time and energy preparing to launch something new than implementing what’s new.  

Example: Like A Wedding

Have you ever planned a wedding?

My daughter recently got married. Yes, we love her new husband!

There is a lot that goes into planning a wedding. I was relatively clueless. From the dress to the venue to the food to the guest list — there’s a lot to coordinate, consider, and pay for. Especially pay for.

Since I am ordained, I was able to marry them. As we discussed the wedding ceremony and considered all the arrangements, I was again reminded that most people plan infinitely more for getting married than being married.

Have you noticed this, too? People spend so much time, energy, effort, and money getting married. Yet, most couples are woefully unprepared to be married.

Leading All The Way Through Execution

Leaders tend to treat new ideas (campaigns, product launches, innovations, etc.) much like couples treat weddings. We often spend countless days, or perhaps years, preparing for events, campaigns, or product launches. We plan, budget, and project. We design launch events and campaign plans. We engage in beta tests and focus groups.

And we launch.

And then move on.

It’s akin to preparing more for the wedding than the marriage. Leaders love new things. We love creating and innovating. All this work is like wedding planning. We love to focus on what’s next.

However, when the planning turns into implementation, too many leaders take their eye off the product, system, or strategy, instead looking forward to what’s next.

There are times when execution can be turned over to managers, but rarely is it healthy for leadership to remove their attention from what was launched in totality.

A Church Example

I work with lots of great ministry and marketplace leaders. The launch and move-on phenomena is prevalent in both spaces. But it seems especially true in the church.

Take capital campaigns. Churches often ask members to contribute above and beyond regular giving to fund specific needs, like a building expansion of children’s experience. Planning for the campaign is tedious and essential. A well-designed campaign is a prerequisite for success.

Unfortunately, like a wedding, many pastors plan to launch the campaign while failing to prepare the ongoing strategy to implement and maintain energy for the campaign.

For instance, let’s say you have a three-year giving campaign. What do you expect will happen if, after the launch, you never mentioned it again? Do you expect that people will remain excited over the next three years if you’re no longer enthusiastic? Of course not.

Planning to Launch and Implement Well

Successful leaders work hard during the planning phases and refuse to slow down after launch. Leaders set the pace and tone for the team (or organization). Staff members take their cue from what they see in you.

If your focus is on launch, they’ll follow your lead. But if you offer as much excitement about the execution as the launch, so will your team.

To ensure you’re leading holistically, ask yourself:

  1. How do we plan to launch this effort?
  2. What specifically will we do during the first week and month following the launch to maintain focus?
  3. What will we do during the first six months to create energy?
  4. What should we consider doing if and when energy wanes?
  5. How can we build celebration into the ongoing execution?
  6. How can we reward staff who continually work on the implementation?

Planning to execute is as important as preparing to launch. Remember, a successful launch is only measured years after the launch.

Launching a Church? 

This article may help: Strategies to Launch a Healthy Church