Are the vision and business strategy of your executive clearly understood and carried out by all members of your organization?
Is your strategy aligned with your company’s culture?
At times there is a disconnect between the goals of upper management and how day-to-day business is carried out by the body of the company. When this becomes apparent, it may be time for a leadership team strategic alignment journey.
It is possible that some of the policies or expectations of your business are causing unintended behaviors. Maybe your business has been well-established for generations and policies that were once successful no longer work because of new technology and societal changes.
There are several key areas of your business that will be analyzed in your strategic alignment journey. A sales slump or sliding growth with revenue may be your first clue that something is out of alignment, and all aspects of your organization contribute to the bottom line. A thorough journey is needed to optimize efficiency and productivity with long-term goals in mind. Starting this process of strategic alignment requires a conversation that is open to criticism, honest feedback.
Strategic Alignment Evaluation Factors
Facts for evaluation can be collected through surveys, interviews, team meetings, assessments, and through metric data. Outlined below are just three examples of the variables that are evaluated in a business’s strategic alignment journey.
1. Leadership Collaboration
Is there more contention than collaboration among team leaders? It is critical for executive team members to be on the same page with the vision and goals of the organization, KPIs and business drivers, policies, and company culture. The executive team needs to be critically evaluated first to be sure everyone involved understands the company’s direction clearly.
It is imperative that all members of upper management are invested in the vision, goals, and operational policies of the company. If any member has views that are in direct conflict or if you are merely complying with policies, something needs to change to bring those views into alignment for the success of the company.
2. KPIs and Business Drivers
Are the metrics currently being used to quantify the success of your business the best indicators of success? The best way to understand if your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are the right drivers is to ask if they are providing the performance you need. Are your overall business objectives being met? If not, it’s time to bring you KPIs into alignment with your goals.
Examples of KPIs
– Most organization’s KPIs should fall into these four categories:
– Always improving customer satisfaction
– Steadily increasing revenue
– Reducing costs without sacrificing quality
– Improving cycle-time efficiency
Business drivers are the resources and tools that lead to success in a business. For the marketing department, business drivers might be email campaigns, pay per click advertisements, and social media content. Examples of business drivers for operations could be turnaround time, customer satisfaction, and speed/accuracy of delivery. Each of the specific business drivers should be evaluated for success through data analytics.
3. Company Culture
Is there a positive company culture that fosters creativity and innovation? Do all members of the organization feel valued, and have a sense of ownership? Most businesses would agree that customer service and customer satisfaction are very important business drivers. With that thought in mind, it’s important not to forget your internal customers—your employees and associates. Culture is just as much a part of your brand as public image and customer service.
Business guru Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
The best strategies in the world mean nothing unless the culture is aligned in such a way to support them. Positive company culture sees the employee as its most valuable asset and treats them as such. A valued employee will be more resilient during tough times, and feel a stronger sense of loyalty to the culture they’re a part of.
For example, if you want your corporate culture to be one that is family-friendly, you may incorporate the following policies to reflect that value:
- Generous paid family leave
- Flexible schedules and working arrangements
- Daycare assistance
- Company-sponsored family activities
Cultures vary depending on a business’s industry, but they should support a positive atmosphere in the workplace where the employer understands the importance in investing in their most valuable resource—all of the employees. In a strategic alignment journey, your company culture will be evaluated to be sure its policies are the best practice to meet your goals.
Strategic Alignment: The Key To Long-Term Success
The purpose of strategic alignment is to improve business results. Through the process, there will be activities where teams are able to improve their collaboration skills and become more comfortable in giving and receiving constructive feedback. Teams will begin to innovatively work through specific existing challenges that are obstructing productivity.
It’s easy to ignore seemingly small problems and disregard the importance of investing in strategic alignment. Strategic alignment is a process that has proven dynamic results in the areas of profitability, creating unity and solving problems of efficiency, and enhancing individual behaviors that drive real change. If leadership teams ignore strategic alignment, they really are missing out on an opportunity for growth and progress that will achieve long term success.