Organizational Alignment

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It’s critically important that all components of a business are organized to best support the fulfillment of long-term purposes

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Organizational Alignment

Organizational alignment is where the strategic vision, work processes and organizational structure and incentives are in synch and provide the enterprise the framework and work together effectively to achieve strategy execution.

There is no standard formula for a winning business organizational structure but reaching strategic alignment is critically important that all components of a business are organized, in a manner that best support the fulfillment of the business long-term purpose.

There is a simple test you can perform to start an honest conversation about strategy and organizational effectiveness where you work. Think of your company in its entirety, or perhaps select a strategically important element of it, such as a growth area upon which future success depends or its primary source of income, and consider the following two questions:

  • How well does your business strategy support the fulfillment of your company’s purpose?
  • How well does your organization support the achievement of your business strategy? “Organization,” includes all of the required capabilities, resources (including human), and management systems necessary to implement your strategy.

Your answers to both questions can be plotted on the matrix below. Each state poses a different leadership challenge.

company-alignment

Companies that score highly on both scales stand the very best chance of winning in their competitive field. Defining your mission and communication the mission statement is not sufficient to drive organizational alignment.

How to Create an Aligned Organization

There are several methods for getting all team members to understand—and enact—the company’s mission. One such model is Kotter’s 8-Step Alignment Model. Dr. John Paul Kotter, Professor of Leadership, Emeritus, at Harvard Business School, author, and founder of the management consulting firm Kotter International, created this organizational change business strategy. It outlines eight steps for creating an aligned organization:

  • Create Sense of Urgency: Discuss the need for change with employees so the urgency for it can build and feed on itself.

  • Form a Powerful Coalition: Seek out key opinion leaders from within the organization to work together to commit to changes and champion them.
  • Create a Vision for Change: Develop an articulate vision of the positive impacts of change so individuals can see the positive impact on the company and individuals.
  • Communicate the Vision: Communicate the change visions; using direct communications from management team utilizing effective communication tools to create change agents.
  • Remove Obstacles: Snowplow barriers to change and organizational alignment and empower people to execute the vision.
  • Create Short-Term Wins: Use short term accomplishments to demonstrate impact of change is having the desired impact to create enthusiasm and momentum.
  • Build on the Change: Reinforce change and continue to demonstrate positive impacts so there is no falling back on bad habits and prior behavior.
  • Anchor the Changes in Corporate Culture: Reward and recognize change agents that worked to support organizational alignment and keep the change culture values and new ideals of the organizational culture in mind when hiring new employees.

Alignment Tools

Tools to employ to accomplish eight steps above: 

  • Employee interviews to uncover organizational stress points 
  • Assess quality and fit of resources and organization structure 
  • Make recommendations to drive trust and alignment into the organization 
  • Define roles to drive Accountability & Ownership 
  • Build and communicate RACI Chart 
  • Communicate business goals
  • Establish measurements that drive and illustrate alignment  
  • Communicate and report on measures against Goals
  • Evaluate and adjust
  • Communicate, Communicate, Communicate  

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