Because Alignment Matters
Alignment is achieved when the company purpose and strategic direction is the focus of the work activities of managers and employees at all levels. When direction is clear, understood, and bought into by everyone, business results are improved and sustained. Alignment is the shortest distance between strategic direction and business results. Alignment is a process to communicate the company’s purpose and strategic direction to all employees and other stakeholders. Alignment is a basic requirement for companies who want to achieve better than average business results. To achieve alignment, leadership must reach consensus on the purpose and direction of the company and provide clear messaging that can be translated by the organization into action. Alignment is the key requirement for a company to get managers and employees engaged directly in the achievement of its vision and purpose. Employees become engaged and are more productive when they understand what is expected of them and that they are working for a common cause. Alignment must be supported by a system to measure progress to be effective. The measurement system translates business level objectives into individual objectives and assigns metrics to each employee. Targets are established, performance is measured, changes are made, and the company moves forward. One example of not being aligned, is a former client who advertised their product as being available off the shelf yet did not measure or understand ability to fill orders. The company was filling orders at a low level which created large back-orders and poor customer satisfaction. Improving and aligning the order fulfillment rate to their commitment of product availability solved the problem and resulted in increased revenue and improved customer satisfaction. An additional benefit of alignment is that management can make effective decisions to deploy capital, such as plant and equipment, information technology and resources and programs employees need to improve performance such as skills training, all in support of achieving company strategic direction. Finally, highly aligned organizations create a reward and recognition system that links the performance of managers and employees directly to the achievement of strategic objectives. Managers and employees are accountable, recognized and rewarded. A company with a system of alignment with effective deployment, measurement and reward and recognition has a clear and market proven competitive advantage.