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Strategy Alignment

Business performance is about keeping your employees and business aligned which means:  

 

  1. Getting every employee headed in the same direction with shared purpose

  2. Integrating the resources and business processes/systems to achieve that purpose

 

We help our clients achieve alignment by enabling the construction of the systems, measures and processes necessary to become aligned and to stay aligned through our People-Service-Profit approach. We focus on your employees and their ability to deliver a consistent customer service. Profit is what you get if you do the first two things well.

 

Our approach can be applied to an entire organisation or to any of its parts. We have seen managers and supervisors at all hierarchical levels use the power of alignment to unleash the energy that comes from balance, focus and the commitment of employees to accomplish alignment.

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Performance (growth and profitability) are the result of alignment between employees, customers, strategy and processes

  • Management must keep employees focused and centred around (a few) key performance objectives

  • Alignment allows a business - all at the same time - to:

o     Rapidly deploy a coherent strategy

o     Be totally customer focused

o     Develop world class people

o     Continuously improve business processes/systems

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Alignment gives the power to get and stay competitive by bringing together previously unconnected parts of a business into an interrelated, easily comprehensive, model

 

Alignment gives the power to create a business culture of shared purpose

Alignment is achieved by integrating core business factors, overall direction, leadership and culture, alignment gives the power to achieve consistent, defined levels of performance

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Alignment gives managers the skills to:

  • Connect their employees’ behaviours to the business mission turning intentions into actions

  • Link teams and processes to the changing needs of customers

  • Shape business strategy with real time information from customers

  • Create a culture of performance in which these elements all work together seamlessly​

What Are the Steps to Alignment? 

1.

Vision

2.

Strategies

3.

Develop Trust

4.

Objectives

5.

Four Voices

6.

* Five Big Questions

7.

Strategy Implementation

8.

Rewiev, Review, Rewiev

9.

Improve Processes

10.

Employees

Decide your soft (external) and hard (internal) vison. This answers, ‘Where are we headed?’ and ‘What’s our business goal?’ Add in your values here (behaviours all employees must demonstrate use to be successful).

 

Aligned companies ensure there is a shared vison and values as this is the glue that binds employees together.

Management decide broad brush strategies that typically includes: 

  1. Marketing and Sales (market share, customer satisfaction, product range, sales revenue)

  2. R&D/Innovation (new products, better processes, use of technology)

  3. Productivity (optimum use of resources, focus on core activities)

  4. Physical and financial resources (business locations, finance, supplies)

  5. Profitability (level of profit/EBITDA, rates of return on investment) 

  6. Management (management structure, promotion, training)

  7. Employees (organisational structure, employee relations and communications)

  8. Public responsibility (compliance with laws, social and ethical behaviour)

Trust develops when managers communicate their strategy and:

  • Explain the assumptions/reasons/benefits behind their chosen strategy

  • Describe the likely scenarios the emerge from their (strategy) assumptions

  • Explain the criteria for selecting their strategy

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Now deploy the 8 strategies (in 2 above) throughout the organisation. 

Aligning activities/objectives (balanced scorecard measures) with strategies and the purpose of the business invigorates employees and delivers the purpose of the business. Each department and then each employee now decides their by identifying =/- 10 (balanced scorecard) critical success indicators, stretch goals and activities/tactics to implement the strategy.

Stretch objectives are best determined by management listening intently to four ‘voices’: 

  1. The Voice of the Customer* (actionable data from customers detailing their needs/wants)

  2. The Voice of the Organisation (clear understanding of organisational mission, values, performance measures and senior management knowledge of the business)

  3. The Voice of the Environment (competition, regulation, technology)

  4. The Voice of the Employee (include employees in the planning process - after all they deliver the strategy)

 

* Can management answer these 5 BIG questions?

  1. What do our customers care about most?

  2. What opportunities do we have to delight our customers?

  3. How well are we satisfying our customers right now in terms of what they care about?

  4. What are the ‘best-of-the-best’ companies doing to delight their customers?

  5. How does the way we operate now make us “difficult to do business with?”

 

Organise staff meetings to explain the strategy. Managers should then ask each employee these three questions and document the results. Use the feedback and share with others and the basis for process and training improvements:

  1. “What is the strategy as you heard it?”

  2. “Why is it personally important to you?”

  3. “How do we need to work differently to deliver it?”

 

Managers now ask employees the following questions:

“What steps are you taking to promote communication and cooperation cross functions?”

“What progress have you made in reaching your balance scorecard stretch goals?”

“What are the greatest obstacles in your way?”

”What information are you gathering from (external/internal) customers?”

“Do their comments conflict with the assumptions of your objectives/our strategy?”

“What do you need from me (other management) to accomplish your goals?”

  • Identify key strategic work processes and systems

  • Continuously redesign those that need improvement (using brown paper exercises)

  • Measure and monitor results

  • Train staff to use the organisation’s processes/systems

  • Train senior management to implement this alignment philosophy and how to adapt to rapidly changing environments (or market conditions)

  • Train staff in organisational values (behaviours) to deliver consistent levels of service

  • Identify business and individual employee competencies necessary to achieve the strategy

  • Identify current competency levels of all staff

  • Design and employ plans to ‘close competency gaps’

  • Design and align reward and recognition systems with business goals and desired competencies

  • Measure and monitor results

Everything starts and ends with people.
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