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Striving Towards Strategic Alignment

Alignment within an organization can often be a daunting task. With the shear magnitude of many companies, it can be difficult to keep all people within the organization "singing off of the same song sheet". Organizations often become stuck in the mud or even start migrating in the opposite direction when the vision from the top is not translated down through the organization. The ultimate goal is to have each employee in the organization striving toward the vision within their functional area of expertise. How can this be done?

Develop a clear goal
An organization performs best when there is a clear objective. The objective or mission should be driven from the top but, this doesn't mean it is developed in a vacuum. It is extremely important to involve key decision makers from various parts of the business that can give an accurate picture of the talents, experience, and motivations of the organization as a whole.

In order to drive towards a mission, there needs to be a clear sense of what the organization excels at. The Core Competency is essentially defining what the organization does well, or better than the competition. Once this has been defined, the following three statements can be formed to provide a specific direction to the core competency:

Translate the strategy through the organization
This is typically where most companies shelve their strategic plan. They develop their mission, vision and values statements and promote them around the organization and expect the organization to behave/perform accordingly. Communicating these statements is not a bad thing by any means, but there is often a disconnect between the vision from the top and the marching orders disseminated throughout the organization. This can leave management frustrated and can eventually lead the organization into a habit of disconnected decision-making.

Once a core competency is defined and mission, vision and values are determined for the organization its time to develop key strategies or Timeless Strategic Directions for each of the functional areas of the business. Timeless Strategic Directions (TSD's), are a set of broadly defined targets that the organization must achieve in order to succeed with its mission, vision and values. TSD's provide the link between strategy and specific work plans performed in the organizational functions to execute the strategy. A TSD takes the form of a written statement defining key initiatives that must be performed to be successful and continuously align the actions of the organization with its strategy. Work plans are stated objectives with defined outcomes, targeted completion dates and assigned accountability.

Alignment can only be achieved through a clear understanding of Core Competency, well defined Mission, Vision and Values where by certain Timeless Strategic Directions are maintained through well-defined objectives and work plans that are executed on a timely manner.

How Genoa can help
The main reason companies strive toward strategic alignment is to have all people within the organization working toward the same objective. When everyone is aligned and working toward the same goal, sales improve, target markets are hit, investors gain confidence and the organization benefits from success

Many times organizations know that they are out of alignment, yet struggle with what to do. There can be a lot of value gained from having an outside eye to help leadership assess alignment and help to develop a clear roadmap for success. As articulated from one of our clients; “Our Board presentation of the plan last Friday went very well. Some Board Members said it was one of the clearest and most well put together plans to follow that they had seen.”

Genoa has been influential in aligning organizations for more than 10 years. Genoa can provide value quickly and effectively by assisting management, boards and owners. If you would like more information on strategic planning and our alignment diagnostic, visit our services page.

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