Organizational alignment is a topic that is becoming increasingly more critical to the success of any organization in any market. This dynamic is especially true now due to current shifts in business and consumer behavior.
Subscription services, for example, have replaced decades-old buying habits on a global scale. Business services to consumer appliances have all exploded with subscription services becoming the norm. The explosion covers a broad range of industries and products ushered in by cloud computing and new web-based software at all-time low pricing.
Organizations with strong alignment are better equipped to thrive in their external environment, even with this disruptive change, because they can lead and grow together as one cohesive team. Those with weak alignment are nearly always the first to fall apart when crisis strikes because they are unpracticed at leveraging their organization’s total capabilities.
When an organization is functioning with strong internal alignment, all of its teams move at the same speed, which creates a superior strategic velocity. The simple physics of flow on one team will always arrive faster and be able to push harder than its multi-directional competitor. Achieving alignment is a multiple of disciplines, however. There are three behaviors to develop:
Behavior 1: Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities
This first behavior may seem trite, but after three decades as a consultant for companies and nonprofits of all sizes, I assure you it is a systemic problem. This first behavior is less about someone’s title and pay grade than it is about each leader and team member understanding their organization’s true-north strategy and the ability to execute it with precision.
Behavior 2: High-Performance Leadership Team
A robust, healthy organization is enabled by its equally strong alignment when there is consistency across the organization in values, strategies, policies and practices. The driving forces that shape a positive and healthy culture begin with an aligned leadership team who understands its importance and work on it daily.
Behavior 3: Integrated Information Systems
Organizations that can easily share all types of information throughout their organization and with its customers are the best communicators. The ability to communicate quickly is a result of pre-planning and organizational preparedness. Corrective reactive shifts are typical of organizations that are weakly aligned because readiness is not something the vast majority of organizations take seriously until a crisis hits. Usually, though, it’s too late to correct whatever has changed their strategic position, creating the need to start over.
High-performance organizations move as one cohesive team, not as individuals, departments or divisions, working toward a strategically-defined goal. A fully aligned organization cannot only pursue strong growth but weather marketplace turbulence because they have taken the time to create a robust, cohesive team culture that can plan.