How to straighten out alignment
Over the years we have become increasingly fond of the term “alignment” even though it sounds a little like one of those typical buzz words. It’s a very good concise word for trying to describe whether or not all managers are moving together in the same direction. This turns out to be a vital factor in whether or not opportunities you identify can ever be addressed and the potential performance gains realized. When organizations are not aligned they have trouble getting strategic initiatives accomplished, and general operating performance suffers because of conflicting individual and functional objectives.
However, alignment is a buzz word if you don’t define it clearly. People in organizations don’t know what it means if it’s used as some kind of strategic aspiration. Alignment needs to be broken down into meaningful sub-components that people can understand, sub-components that relate to people’s environment and their day-to-day activities.
We break down alignment into three sub-components:
- Clarity of direction (knowing where you are going)
- Integrity of the management system (managing important measurements)
- Consistency of rewards and consequences (rewarding people appropriately)
In the next few Opportunities, we will spend some time trying make the word alignment as meaningful as it is important. We’ll look at each of these component elements and discuss how they cause opportunities and how they may need to change in order to improve performance.