Create Organizational Alignment AND Keep Your Sanity
Think of today’s most successful organizations. While they likely have multiple commonalities, one thing stands out: All of today’s most successful organizations are exceptionally well-aligned. What does it mean to be aligned as an organization? To create alignment, everything at your organization—your strategy, team, product, capabilities, processes, and so on—should be aligned in support of the organization’s core purpose and goals. Organizational alignment is essential for a company to achieve success and see favorable results.
While many leaders strive to become better aligned as an organization, realize that achieving alignment can be a lot easier said than done. How do leading organizations become so well-aligned? An organization doesn’t become aligned overnight. However, by focusing on making improvements in a few key areas, you can be well on your way to the alignment you’re looking for—without going crazy trying to make it happen. Follow the helpful hints below to achieve organizational alignment and stay sane during the process.
Share the Strategy (and the Results)
From day one, your employees should know the company’s purpose, goals, and objectives. By sharing (and regularly reinforcing) your organizational strategy, you can ensure that all team members are on the same page and striving to reach the same goals. You should not only share your strategy, but also the results. How is the company performing? Are you meeting your business goals or on track to meet them?
A survey revealed that 76 percent of employees don’t trust bosses who fail to share company data.
Regular reporting of company performance opens up the lines of communication and helps employees feel more involved. It’s also a good idea to communicate these results across multiple mediums—in all-staff presentations, meetings with department managers, regular email reports, and more.
Strong Leadership Leads the Way
Like so many other things in life, organizational alignment begins with great leadership. Even with the very best employees on board, a company with poor leadership is doomed to fail. A study revealed that at top-performing organizations, up to 93% feel leaders are highly effective at prioritizing the most important issues the organization is facing; whereas in low-performing companies the number drops to only 62%. The strongest leaders have (and execute) a clear company vision that they can easily communicate to employees. You shouldn’t count on junior and mid-level employees, to carry the full weight. Instead, you should take a top-to-bottom approach, meaning your efforts should start with the big picture. By effectively communicating the bigger picture to your team and conveying how they are helping bring that vision to life, you can empower workers and (re)spark their enthusiasm. It’s important that leaders not only communicate their overall vision, but also ensure that the vision and strategy carry over into the work employees are doing on a daily basis.
Open the Lines of Communication
It’s no secret that most organizations struggle with communication in one way or another. Not surprisingly poor communication has many negative effects on organizations—especially when it comes to alignment. New research shows a clear communication breakdown in the workplace.
While 80 percent of managers feel they’re being transparent with their direct reports, only 55 percent of employees agree. However, being transparent is key when it comes to earning the trust of your employees and improving your organization’s communication.
To engage your team and work toward better alignment, there should be open communication across the board, regardless of an employee’s seniority level.. You can improve communication by encouraging managers to have regular team meetings and 1:1s with their direct reports. Provide managers with talking points to ensure a clear and consistent message is relayed to all employees. You should also hold frequent all-hand meetings with open Q&A sessions to offer employees an open forum to ask questions and share concerns. Slack, HipChat and other communication tools also present the opportunity for leaders to jump into conversations with employees and solicit feedback personally.
In order for a company to see more favorable results, it’s mission-critical that everything (and everyone) is aligned and working toward the larger business objective. While creating organizational alignment can certainly be challenging, it’s an essential part of bringing your company’s strategy to life. Strong communication, leadership, and strategic vision are key to achieving the organizational alignment that so many leaders seek.
What steps are you taking to create alignment at your organization?