Any organization is established to achieve a mission/objective based on a vision. It might be a relatively simple mission like making just a bit of extra money, but it’s still a mission nonetheless.
The thing is, without a proper organizational alignment where all team members and different teams work together, aligned in achieving this objective, achieving this mission can be difficult if not downright impossible.
When, for example, your team’s alignment is not properly aligned with your organization’s mission and objectives, you simply won’t be optimal in achieving these goals.
Here, we will discuss the concept of organizational alignment, and how you can improve your team’s alignment to help achieve the organization’s goals and missions.
Without further ado, let us begin.
What Is Organizational Alignment?
Organizational alignment, in a nutshell, is the process of aligning the company’s vision—how the company defines success— and the team’s, leaders’, and individual team members’ performance in driving business results.
In practice, organizational alignment is about improving clarity in communication between team members and between departments, building more effective and efficient teamwork in the process. Organizational alignment ensures that every team member is on the same page (properly aligned) when pursuing both short-term and long-term business processes, workflow, and objectives.
When the organizational structure is properly aligned with the organization’s strategy, the organization is now much more optimized in pursuing its objectives.
Organization alignment can be achieved via well-structured strategic planning, careful management, but especially, transparent and cohesive communication processes. Improving organizational alignment can help organizations both in achieving short-term, urgent results and long-term objectives.
Different Approaches to Organizational Alignment
While there are actually many different approaches/methods we can use to implement organizational alignment, there are three most popular techniques to consider:
Transformative Storytelling Method
The idea behind this technique is that by telling a compelling story, we can inspire our team members, build momentum, and improve their morale. In practice, the team leader must communicate a clear and compelling story to motivate team members and build commitments to improve alignment.
Businesses that use town hall-style meetings can benefit a lot from using this technique, as well as businesses with leaders that are strong in oratorical capabilities and/or a strong communicator.
Bottom-Up Individual Strategic Approach
In this method, the basic principle is to encourage each individual employee to perform at their full potential by setting transformative, employee-specific strategic objectives. The manager/leader custom-tailor each individual objective so that by the end, all of these objectives are properly aligned to contribute to the organization’s big mission.
When performed correctly, this method can help create an optimized team that is cohesively aligned to achieve the objective. Especially useful for businesses that have implemented bottom-up or circular management approaches.
Kotter’s Alignment Model
This method was invented by the Harvard Business School professor Dr. John Paul Kotter, which involves eight key steps for achieving organizational alignment:
- Step 1: creating urgency. Communicate with your team about the need to change and the urgency of why achieving alignment is important
- Step 2: form a powerful coalition. Get key team members and stakeholders to commit to achieving alignment and champion the idea of alignment
- Step 3: create a vision. Leaders must create and communicate a clear vision so team members can see how alignment can impact the organization and their individual needs.
- Step 4: communicate the vision. Communicate this vision via leadership talks in meetings, video presentations, and individual communications.
- Step 5: removing obstacles. Identify and work to remove barriers to achieving organizational alignment.
- Step 6: create short-term wins. Define short-term milestones so when they are achieved, they can act as tangible evidence of progress.
- Step 7: build on the change. Keep maintaining momentum.
- Step 8: anchor the changes. Recognize key members that helped create the organizational alignment and anchor the transformation by establishing a new company culture.
This Kotter’s method, as opposed to the previous method, is best when implemented in organizations with a top-down management style.
How You Can Achieve Organizational Alignment
1. Use The Right Technology
Using the right technology can either make or break your initiatives for organizational alignment.
As we’ve mentioned, communication is a very important factor in whether we can successfully build a cohesive team. Free online meeting software like FreeConference can be very effective to help teams conduct virtual meetings to inspire team members, share files to improve transparency and accountability and conduct high-quality video conferencing to allow leaders and team members to effectively communicate ideas and visions.
Other tools like a proper analytics tool where everyone can view key growth metrics are also very important so every team member can see progress towards the big objective.
In short, strategically use technology as a bridge between employees to achieve alignment.
2. Understand The Needs of The Team
Every team in any organization has its unique needs and obstacles in achieving collaboration and alignment.
If you can properly identify these needs and accommodate them, you can now align them with organizational missions and objectives. Only after these needs are taken care of that you will see each team progresses towards these agreed objectives.
Also, every team member has their own unique needs and goals, it’s also important for leaders to provide them with the right task while also making the required resources available.
3. Clear and Transparent Communication
It’s very important to re-emphasize again that you won’t achieve organizational alignment without maintaining optimal and clear communication on all possible channels.
Make sure everyone understands the goals, priorities, and initiatives that they will need to pursue. It’s very important for leaders to be able to provide team members with a clear road map on how the team members should work together to reach organizational alignment.
Organizational alignment, in short, is a technique to ensure that every aspect of your business supports your strategic objectives, and the key to achieving it is clear and effective communication on all fronts. This is why investing in the right communication technology is very important if you really want to achieve alignment. By encouraging transparent and effective communications, everyone in each team can clearly understand their role and responsibilities in the organization’s bigger mission, and how they can contribute to success.
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