Verne Harnish notes in his book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits that the difference between organizational vision and organizational alignment as drivers toward success is a whopping 99%. He demonstrates that vision = 1%, while team alignment = 99% yet few organizations put as much effort into creating organizational alignment as they do creating their vision statements, BHAG, 3 year strategic plan and more. The truth is aligning your organization around your strategic plan enables your team to execute against its goals and scale up the company.
Think about the power of that assertion for a moment. Why is it that organizational alignment (or organisational alignment) is exponentially more important to success than vision? The importance of organizational alignment can't be understated - but how do you achieve it? How can I increase the level of organizational alignment in my company culture? What type of work structure allows you to achieve increasingly better business performance? You need to get into a Rhythm of 3 Year Strategic Planning, Annual Planning, Quarterly Execution Planning, and Weekly Team Meetings. Teams work more effectively when they know their role in the company plan, so make sure you communicate that effectively and often to ensure complete strategic alignment across your organizational structure.
Organizational Alignment Summary
- Organizational alignment is the bedrock of successful strategy execution.
- Organizations that fail to achieve organizational alignment will never realize their true potential.
- Aligning your organization around your strategic plans enables your team to execute towards its goals and scales up the company.
- Organizational alignment is a skill that you can work on to improve.
Most strategic goals and results involve a holistic view of the organization and are “touched” by multiple if not all, departments - not just the executive team. At its core, every strategic priority is cross-functional and requires input from multiple departments, and they all must be aligned. As a result, organizational alignment is essential so that every individual of the company can recognize the interdependencies around any strategic work that takes place. This reduces wasted time and rework due to ineffective goal communication.
Too often, organizations spend most of their time trying to get their executive team aligned but don't place as much emphasis on the many teams that are involved in executing against the plan. Recognizing that everything done at a group and individual level impacts another group and individual is critical to achieving organizational alignment. It is essential to achieving organizational goals and successful strategy execution. Organizational alignment is the cornerstone of maximum goal attainment and drives business results.
Organizational Alignment Tips
So, what are some things that you can do to promote organizational alignment within your company? How do you create an aligned organization? How do you transform your corporate culture so that you can execute your business strategy?
1. Share both long-term (like BHAG) and short-term goals and objectives (priorities) with the organization. Be transparent about who you are and where you want to go. Be as transparent as possible. Workers today want to know the why, not just the what.
2. Develop a system for keeping everyone on the same page. To do this, ensure that you start with the executive team to establish:
- Quarterly Rocks (what we are going to focus on when)
- KPIs and Data (how we are going to measure our progress and results)
- Rhythm and cadence (the frequency and habit of meeting to review, discuss, and solve)
3. Drive this thinking and these habits down to the very front lines of your organization, as it isn't enough to have an aligned leadership team.
- Ensure everyone in the company knows the focus for the next quarter, the following year, and the long-term strategy.
- Ensure everyone can connect with one or two larger priorities (group/company) and create actionable activities supporting those more significant priorities.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate to keep everyone on the same page at all times.
- Create and maintain a culture of team accountability. You can even take our free team accountability assessment to see what skills you need to work on in your organization.
At Rhythm Systems, we work to help clients achieve organizational alignment (company alignment) through the execution of these habits to reach longer-term goals. We also love to hear from our readers, so feel free to post any challenges or share your alignment success story! If you're looking for additional tips on maintaining organizational alignment in a virtual world, read our new blog post on the subject and let us know if you have any further suggestions.
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Photo credit: iStock by Getty Images
Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images