Why worry about alignment? What does an aligned company look like? Think about these questions.
- Is your company fully in tune with its customer base?
- Are your internal processes delivering your value proposition with quality and speed?
- Are your people fully engaged in running the processes at optimum capacity?
- Are your top executives fully engaged in addressing the future needs of your customers?
- Are your top executives spending the majority of their time addressing the future?
These are some of the key elements of an aligned organization. How can you get there? Here are five steps to help you achieve alignment in your company or organization.
Step One – Develop a Clear, Unified Vision and Strategy
When the vision of a company is clear and unified, people will make their best effort to contribute to its achievement. When a creative strategy is in place, you have a roadmap to vision. With these two you have a solid foundation for alignment, the energy to move forward, and the inspiration for everyone to find a part to play.
Step Two – A Frame of Reference for Strategy Execution
Why is strategy execution a challenge for most organizations? There can be many reasons but here are a few of the most common: There are too many strategic initiatives. The initiatives don’t match up with the budget. People don’t understand the strategy.
To make it possible to turn your vision into reality, establish a frame of reference. The framework we recommend is the ‘alignment map’. Draw a diagram with the vision in the center. Link your key performance indicators (KPIs) to the vision on one side and the strategic initiatives on the other. When this map is constructed, it can serve as a powerful instrument for aligning your organization, and a mechanism for strategy execution. These concepts have been developed in our book, Total Alignment.
Step Three – Establish Accountability through Individual Scorecards
Most business scorecards consolidate important financial information for the KPIs of a company. But establishing accountability requires a different kind of scorecard – one for each person. The individual scorecard should show the roles of direct impact, horizontal influence and management influence for each KPI from the alignment map as well as the assigned strategic initiatives that build your company’s future. A well-defined scorecard provides a clear and measurable focus for the job and a line of sight to vision and strategy.
Step Four – Sustain Alignment through Feedback Information
Managers need information to do their jobs. They need feedback on their own performance and information on the performance of the people they manage. Accurate and timely feedback enables managers to adjust course for themselves and for their people. Without feedback information, how can they stay aligned? How can they manage?
Step Five – Sustain Alignment through Management and Leadership
Management is improved when individual scorecards are in place and when feedback information is provided to each person. But, to sustain alignment, a leadership process is needed.
Leaders can sustain alignment by inspiring collaboration among people who tend to be focused on their own agendas and work within their silos. Leaders have the opportunity to help their team become more aware of cross-functional needs. Leadership involves breaking the silos. It requires empowering the workforce to make their own decisions. It involves helping people develop their capacity and compensating them for their real contribution.
These five steps are key to establishing and sustaining alignment in your company. They will help you transform your organizational culture over time. You will progress towards total alignment and will see the great results continue year after year. To learn more about implementing these five steps, go to our website, www.totalalignment.com.