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 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 what their role in the company plan is, so make sure that you communicate that effectively and often.
The majority of 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. Just about every strategic priority is cross functional. As a result, organizational alignment is essential so that every individual of the company be able to recognize the interdependencies that exist around any work effort that takes place. This greatly reduces wasted time and re-work due to a lack of effective goal communication.
Too often organizations spend the majority 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 both a group and individual level impacts another group and/or individual is key to achieving organizational alignment. It is key to achieving organizational goals and successful strategy execution. Organizational alignment is the cornerstone of maximum goal attainment and drives business results.
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?
Organizational Alignment Tips
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 Priorities or 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 only have an aligned leadership team.
- Make sure every person in the entire company knows what the focus is for the next quarter, the next year and long term strategy.
- Ensure that each individual is able to connect with one or two larger priorities (group / company) and create actionable activities for themselves that support those larger priorities.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate, to keep everyone on the same page at all times.
At Rhythm Systems, we work to help clients achieve organizational alignment through the execution of these habits in order 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!!
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Want more information on organizational alignment? Check out these additional resources:
The Power of Systems and People: Accountable Leaders and Teams leadership development program to improve team performance and organizational alignment.
Take Our Team Accountability Assessment to see how your team stacks up.
Learn more about accountable leaders and teams.