Well-Aligned Leadership Strategies Help You Avoid High Costs of Organizational Misalignment
Imagine driving down the highway when you notice your car pulling to the left making it difficult to drive in a straight line. You think to yourself I’ve got new tires and I just checked to make sure they were properly inflated. So, what’s going on? The answer is pretty obvious: your car is out of alignment.
Just like your car, your organization can be out of alignment too which can lead to: (1) being pulled off course, (2) excessive wear and tear, and (3) potentially costly repairs. The first step in avoiding these costly and dangerous outcomes is to recognize the signs of misalignment in your organization early and then take preventative actions.
Being Pulled Off Course
Think back to the last time you were involved in a project that got off track and ended up taking twice as long as it was supposed to. Being pulled off course like this can often be traced back to a lack of clarity and agreement on the objectives when the project began. This can happen when strategic objectives are not clearly communicated, when they are not specific enough, or when there is disagreement on what the precise measures for success are. When this happens, there can be a lot of wasted time and energy, a lot of false starts, and a great deal of frustration.
Wear and Tear
Slow responsiveness to a changing market and customer demands, high employee turn-over, and slow project implementation can all be signs that your organization is overburdened and exhausted. Frequently this happens when too much time and energy is spent on the wrong things. The wear and tear on your organization can be reduced if you take the time to ensure that you are communicating clear strategic objectives on the front end. Also because clarity and focused effort are vitally important to your success, helping employees determine how their efforts align with the company goals can prevent or reduce wear and tear and reenergize your organization.
Potentially Costly Repairs
When your organization is pulled in different directions, it costs you in terms of ineffective and inefficient execution, as well as a decline in employee morale. In financial terms, it costs you dollars due to disengaged employees, re-work, and wasted time and resources. There is an old saying, “If you don’t have the time and resources to do a job right the first time, you certainly don’t have the time and resources to fix the job when something goes wrong.”
Alignment helps each employee at every level fully understand how his or her actions impact the department, other departments and the organization as a whole. While organizational alignment requires an investment of time, money and energy up front, the investment is worth it.
Ways You Can Ensure Greater Alignment in Your Organization
To create alignment in your organization, you need to invest time, effort (and in some cases money) up-front. You must clarify strategic objectives and measurements for success and build productive relationships that will enable the organization to consistently take action towards meeting its goals.
To increase your overall organizational alignment, incorporate the following leadership strategies and principles.
Raise your awareness of how well your employees’ needs are being met. Is there alignment between what motivates, encourages, and rewards employees and what you are providing for them. Make sure you are continually talking to your employees to determine changes.
Take the pulse of your organization’s culture. Do the values and norms of your organization align with, support, and encourage behaviors needed to execute your strategy?
Adapt to the changes in the market place, the economy, and with your competition. Frequently examine your strategies and make sure they are nimble and flexible enough to maintain alignment between them and the changes going on around you.
Throughout your organization take action by engaging in frequent discussions to solicit employees’ opinions about the organization’s strategy and goals. Ensure that everyone sees how their roles and responsibilities support alignment with the overall organizational objectives. Help your employees to identify areas where they are spending time money or effort that are not well-aligned with overall organizational objectives.
Finally, be on the lookout for signs of organizational misalignment and devote the necessary time to make adjustments to get you back on track.
Executing the above strategies will ensure that your organization’s travel is straight and true. Like taking your car into the mechanic, these are vitally important in keeping you safe and on-track and getting you where you need to go.