Leaders of companies, regardless of their size, need to have their strategies, organizational capabilities, resources, and management systems well aligned to have a chance to achieve their purpose1. Yet, studies have shown that nine out of ten organizations fail to execute their strategic vision and that 95% of their employees, on average, are unaware of or do not understand their company’s strategy.2 Why? Are we not in the era where virtually anyone can be reached and informed? And, if people were well informed, is this enough for organizations to reach their goals?
Strategic alignment means that all elements of a business – market strategy and the way the company is organized, measured and structured – are arranged deliberately to best support the fulfillment of its short and long-term purpose. Even though a company’s purpose is fairly stable, markets, company structures, products and services offered do change, demanding that executives keep an eye on this delicate alignment of the organization and constantly adjust.
What can executives do to increase their organizational alignment? How can they know when to make adjustments?
We have often heard that metrics drive behaviors. Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, said that “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”.
Do your metrics, (Yes! at all levels of the organization), reflect the success or progress towards your purpose? Metrics will drive you and your team’s day to day behaviors, and properly used will drive your strategic effort. As an executive this is a question you should ask yourself frequently. If your metrics do not reflect progress towards the company’s purpose, it is one of the strongest signs of your organization’s lack of alignment.
Evaluating your company’s organizational alignment requires focus and attention on top of day to day demands. Depending on the situation of your company, you may decide that outside support may be necessary. If that is the case, make sure that whoever you bring to help you in this important matter takes the time to clearly understand your company’s purpose to ensure the best alignment possible.
1Harvard Business Review – How Aligned is your organization? Jonathan Trevor and Barry Varcoe Feb/7/2017
2Inc. Why Companies Can't Get Aligned and How You Can. Eric Morgan. https://www.inc.com/eric-morgan/why-companies-can-t-get-aligned-and-how-you-can.html