Strategic Alignment

How to Use Strategic Alignment to Harness Your Company’s Full Power

By Andy Rice
September 24, 2021
3 minute read

This blog post was brought to you by Black Box Consulting – a talent management consulting firm comprised of expert senior-level consultants with a combination of experience in both business strategy and daily operations.

Molecules are always moving: rushing around, slamming into each other, changing directions constantly. Even an object that appears completely still contains chaos inside of it. But all of that random motion cancels itself out, leading to the stationary surface we see. 

Sometimes a company can mirror this all too closely. Employees are working away, but there’s no alignment to direct all that energy. They wind up bumping into each other, doing the same thing two different ways or even working against each other. 

There’s a lot of kinetic energy, but no net result.

Now consider voltage, and how it can be used to produce light. The electrons in a lightbulb and a wire contain a huge amount of kinetic energy, but nothing to align all that energy in the same direction. Now just add a battery to the mix, and magic happens! The electrons still run into each other, but the battery provides enough of a directed push to create net movement. 

Here’s how strategic alignment can serve as the battery that powers your movement forward.

Determine Your Corporate Direction

The first step in directing employee energy through strategic alignment is determining your direction. As a company, you must have a true north. 

First, decide what your organizational priorities are. Where do you want to be in five years? Which markets do you want to be in? Will your products or services have evolved? Setting the strategy should involve some back and forth between the CEO and business leaders representing all aspects of the business, such as operations, technology, talent, and human resources, finance, sales, and marketing.

Once the key business representatives are aligned on organizational priorities, communicate this vision across the workforce. For everyone to get where they need to be, you must be able to articulate where you want them to go. This is your corporate battery.

Align Individual Priorities with Your Strategy

When each employee works towards the same goal, your organization can achieve unstoppable momentum. Once you have the corporate strategy, each employee needs to be aligned on their role in advancing those goals. Department leaders can take those big picture priorities back to their individual teams and guide them in how to best direct their energy. 

The overall vision needs to reach each individual contributor and manager. Priorities must be aligned with specific tasks that produce forward momentum. While leadership sets the overall objectives, they do not have to lay out all the specifics about how they are to be accomplished. Remember that managers and supervisors know your employees best. Give them an opportunity to collaborate with their team members to decide how they’ll achieve their assigned priorities.

Clarify Objectives and Key Results

Priorities and goals aren’t the same thing. When a team is handed their role in achieving organizational priorities, they still need to set goals and markers of success along the way. Without clear direction, all the energy spent within a team risks being squandered because everyone is bumping into each other, just like the electrons in the wire that can’t turn on the light bulb.

Aligning organizational priorities across departments empowers each team to develop its own objectives and key results. Clearly laid out tasks, aligned with organizational priorities and having measurable results, provide team members with a roadmap outlining the path from point A to point B. Everyone can work with confidence, knowing they’re all pulling in the same direction.

Strategic alignment can ensure your company reaches its full potential as it propels itself in the right direction. Harness the power of your workforce with a shared vision and thoughtful goals that keep everyone advancing together.

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