Game Changer Alignment is defined as “The linkages between the mission, vision, brand value, and the integration of the people, processes and technology to achieve it.” It includes the dynamics and influence that each part has on the other and how this can impact the overall value of the organization.
Figure 1 – Game Changer Alignment
Requirements for Success
Using the analogy of constructing a bridge, a large bridge can be an amazing work of artistry that doesn’t seem possible to execute when originally conceived. It is possible, however, if everyone executes the plans precisely. Once the bridge is complete and automobiles are crossing it by the billions, it seems like such a simplistic concept and just part of the way travel occurs.
The plans for the bridge were very complex, but when completed, everyone can use it and easily find their way across. An organization must adopt this mentality if it wants to align its people, process and technology. This pragmatic approach is based on the idea that if a front line person looks at the corporation, and has not been privy to all of the hundreds of hours that go into the thought process, they will still understand the organization’s function; just like the cars were able to use the bridge. The alignment process should not require an ongoing drain on the company's resources. Alignment should become as natural as travelling across a completed bridge.
Figure 2 – Alignment Model
The goal of alignment is to match an organization's culture, values and customers with the elements of strategy. Alignment involves combining a lot of ideas and plans that are always found in some state of completion within organizations today. Some organizations are more complete than others, and these companies will have an easier time with alignment. However, a larger number of organization than you may expect are in some state of disjointed alignment. Their situation is such that if the plan were built out as the “Organizational Bridge,” it would not sustain the weight of even some of the smallest electric cars that we see on the road today, and would frequently have holes through which the cars would drop. This does not mean that each of the individual pieces isn’t strong, it is just that they don't fit together as a fully integrated unit. The ability of the individual pieces to execute the plan will determine its efficiency. It is important to have each piece of the organizational plan understood by all of the individuals in the company to the appropriate level of their role. In order for individuals to understand their importance, they must identify where they fit in that overall plan. Individuals must understand that the organization's leadership and management have a plan in place, and that they strengthen the organization by the contributions they make.
The best way to achieve a larger goal like the one in the alignment model (Figure 2) is to break it into smaller pieces as illustrated in Figure 3.
Figure 3 – 5 Alignment Pieces
Piece 1 – Mission: The mission statement should be a statement for which every individual can become passionate. It should provide compelling reasoning for why individuals would want to work for the organization.
Piece 2 – Vision: The vision should paint a picture of what the organization will look like in the future. The most effective timeframe for companies both big and small is three to five years. The vision development requires team involvement and adoption. It is the first proactive step toward alignment with the mission. The vision statement is going to be the focus of all future strategic activities. It is crucial for the vision to be clear and focused. It should clearly answer the question, “If we become this vision, will we be living the mission?”
Piece 3 – Strategy: The strategic plan is the next natural progression from your vision. It takes your mission statement and vision from a plaque to a plan of action. It should provide corporate commitment, individual accountability and details for execution. When you complete the strategic plan, you should be able to make a linkage from the top of your plan to the bottom and from the bottom of your plan back to the top. This needs to occur so that all individuals understand how their roles actually can have an effect on the achievement of the vision. It is very important that the winning strategy you create is one the entire organization believes in, and one everyone is willing to work hard to execute.
Piece 4 – Metrics: It is important to include an equalized mix of targets to which people are held accountable. The ability to show that each of the vision elements in Figure 3 have targets and are taken into consideration is very important. It proves the organization’s commitment to the success of employees and customers, as well as the organization’s financials. So frequently individuals only hear about the financials; this is misleading and creates an inaccurate depiction of all the work that goes into the organization’s success.
Piece 5 – Brand: It is paramount for organizations to realize that everyone is part of the brand. Brand value is not just the job of the marketing and sales professionals; it should be the duty of everyone in the organization. The brand must be integrated into the organization’s strategic plan and serve as a cornerstone for the achievement of the vision and the mission.
Figure 4 – Alignment Deliverables
The alignment deliverables listed in Figure 4 are seen repeatedly. The alignment deliverables allow for everyone in the organization to be accountable to working toward delivering business value, instead of just a select few. It makes providing ideas and focusing on what is next a natural part of each and every person’s role.
Business strategist and founder of IMPACTinsights.