A professional American football team has one primary goal: to win the Super Bowl Championship. In order to get there, every player on the team has to share the same dream and understand his role in earning the Super Bowl title. A team with players who are united in their goal has a better chance at succeeding because the players know exactly what needs to be done to win: defensive players must stop the opposing team from moving the ball down the field, and offensive players must strategically pass the football into the in-zone. However, if either the defense or the offense doesn’t execute properly (or if any player isn’t fully committed to the goal), the chances of winning the Super Bowl title are significantly reduced.
Just like a Super Bowl-worthy football team, a company must have cohesive goals to achieve success. In the world of business, this concept is referred to as “strategic alignment.”
What is Strategic Alignment?
Strategic alignment is a business process that brings together the actions of various departments and staff for the purpose of uniting planned objectives. Every business should have stated goals that can be more easily achieved through comprehensive strategic alignment. By ensuring that all departments and employees are working together to meet the company’s goals, everything from workplace practices to customer relationships can benefit.
As a roadmap for achieving your company’s goals and purpose, strategic alignment also helps businesses of all sizes define what’s most important to them. Becoming strategically aligned requires careful planning, a willingness to regularly reassess and readjust, and a staff that’s empowered to take accountability and do their part in ensuring that the company’s objectives are met.
Benefits of Strategic Alignment
A business without strategic alignment tends to waste considerable resources implementing initiatives that aren’t timely or truly beneficial to the company. Similarly, without a clearly defined strategy (one that employees at the operational level can understand and explain), your company will fail to build trust, hope, and cohesion throughout the organization. However, through the strategic-alignment process, you can establish an environment that increases morale and encourages employees to give their best to the company. Establishing strategic alignment will benefit your business by enabling you to
- Capitalize on opportunities to focus energy in the right places and at the right times.
- Eliminate redundancies and conflicting priorities in the workplace.
- Boost cohesion, coordination, and communication among team members.
- Establish structure and purpose for employees.
- Encourage employees to be accountable for the company’s success.
- Better support the needs of the company in a rapidly changing business industry.
How to Start the Strategic-Alignment Process
Strategic alignment is absolutely critical when it comes to reaching company goals. In fact, studies have found that companies that align the implementation of tactical projects with the company’s strategy successfully complete the projects 90 percent of the time, whereas companies lacking that strategic alignment are only able to successfully complete their projects 34 percent of the time.
In order to successfully establish strategic alignment, prioritization and visibility into projects is key. Similarly, the more you know about the projects that are being undertaken, the easier it will be to implement a successful strategic-alignment process. As many managers can attest, getting your company aligned is easier said than done. There are, however, a few steps you can take to better prepare your company for an effective alignment process:
- Take time to map out key strategies and repeatedly clarify these strategies with every member of your team.
- Use alignment scorecards to ensure that all projects proactively contribute to the company’s purpose, strategy, and goals.
- Prioritize record-keeping by consistently gathering data from every team, and distribute usable live, real-time data to employees whenever possible.
Why Your Company Needs Alignment
It’s no secret that strategically aligned companies are more successful at obtaining goals and promoting purpose. Strategic alignment facilitates visibility and transparency into the inner workings of your company. But studies show that alignment also aids in boosting nimbleness, efficiency, and morale throughout all levels of the workplace. Furthermore, integrating strategic alignment enables your company to be better at capitalizing on opportunities, closing deals, and increasing revenue, all while improving resource optimization and making a positive impact on company culture. Lastly, companies with alignment strategies are proven to be better places to work than organizations that lack cohesion.