Good strategic alignment consists of practices that connect organizational strategy with employee performance as fully and directly as possible. When you properly align your organizational structure, your employees act as strategic enablers of company policy, mission, and vision—all working from the same standards toward the same ends. This chapter looks at useful strategies for getting your team into alignment and keeping it there.
1. Share your goals. Only when you willingly share your goals with everyone and set up procedures to make sure people stay on track can true alignment occur. Goal-setting is no longer be limited to the C-suite. When your strategic priorities trickle down, work with your team to determine how best to get there.
2. Clear the air. People mistrust or distrust the ambiguous—so be crystal clear about what your team members should be accomplishing in their daily activities. When you communicate your expectations, you’re more likely to get what you want, and everyone becomes more productive and effective.
3. Remove obstacles to alignment. Make every effort to clear bottlenecks, break down information silos, cut redundancy, limit confusion, and otherwise maximize productivity.
4. Work toward coherence. Maximal alignment requires a high level of coherence, made up of the proper measures of communication, education, and oversight.
5. React as the situation requires. Let front-line employees take the ball and carry it forward when the solution is obvious to them. This is especially necessary when the rate of change doesn’t allow time for classic goal trickledown from the top.
Needless to say, one size does not fit all. How much of each ingredient you should add to your “alignment recipe” depends on the nature and size of your organization and the performance management tools available to you. Determining the right amounts requires careful testing, undertaken with a clear-eyed willingness to learn.
In the game of business, we keep score with dollars. Profit represents the real-world manifestation of the combination of drive, focus, and efficiency we call productivity. That means ensuring that your team members stay busy at what matters and in ways that move everyone toward the prize.