What is rise of Strategic Alignment?


What is rise of Strategic Alignment?
What is rise of Strategic Alignment?
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Overview:

Organizations around the world are challenged to adapt to the changing business environment at a breakneck pace. Consequently, having team members who understand and are in alignment with the business’ principal strategy is increasingly more important. In order to stay competitive, organizations must devise viable, creative strategies for business success and growth.

Organizations with a strategic plan are more likely to achieve long-term sustained growth and profitability. The plan should reflect and encompass the three essential building blocks of a successful business: people, product and processes. And for corporate strategy to do its job, an organization must maintain strategic alignment throughout every level of the business.

What is Alignment?

Alignment means everyone has a line of sight to the enterprise strategy and knows how they fit and why they matter in the overall strategic picture.  Alignment means every member of the organization is synchronized and can make decisions, take action, and allocate resources and energy that is consistent with the strategy.

What is Strategic Alignment?

Strategic alignment happens by design and is often the missing ingredient for your success. According to “strategic alignment is the prudent arrangement of the various internal and external elements of an organization—from its business strategy to its organizational structure—to best support the achievement of its long-term goals and purpose.”By analysing and aligning various elements of your organization, you can best ensure your long-term success. High-performing organizations are often the most aligned, engaged, prepared, and change-ready.

Definition:

Strategic alignment is the strength of the links “between an organisation’s overall goals and the goals of each of the units that contribute to the success of those overall goals” (Andolsen, 2007). The concept is closely related to strategic fit, which exists when the network of internal performance drivers is consistent and aligned with the firm’s desired customer and financial outcomes (Kaplan & Norton, 2006).

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Strategic alignment is a fundamental business concept that determines the competitiveness of an organisation. The concept explains how organisations can better achieve strategic alignment to increase growth and profitability – even in the toughest markets and economic climates.

Importance of Strategic Alignment?

The focus should be on “implementation excellence” for a moment. Think about the people that make up your organization across business units, departments, and teams. They’re your most important asset and need reassurance that they’re a priority. Implementing any strategy begins by educating, involving, and aligning the people responsible for executing it. People will be more connected to something they are a part of and believe in.

Alignment begins when senior executives share or cascade the enterprise strategy throughout the organization and engage functional leaders, team leaders, and individuals to help them identify and develop their own goals, plans, and actions.  We like to call it the organization’s GPA.

  • Goals
  • Plans
  • Actions

Organizations that are strategically aligned operate more efficiently and achieve better outcomes because people and teams develop action plans that are focused on achieving common goals and objectives.  Without strategic alignment, people become confused about their priorities, make fewer effective decisions, and likely engage in more conflict.    This eventually leads to fatigue and causes people to lose their passion and the motivation to do their best work.  People want to be connected to something they believe in.  Strategic alignment helps strengthen engagement by

  • informing people who develop products and services.
  • providing direction for sales and marketing.
  • helping people on the operation side of the business develop the best practices and allocate resources.

Benefits of Strategically Aligned:

Lacking strategic alignment, well-meaning managers may spend countless hours pursuing initiatives that, while they may be good ideas, aren’t the right things to focus on at the time. Even worse, if the strategy of the organization is unclear to employees at the operational level, they may lose faith in the vision, mission, and value proposition of the organization. This loss of connection can squelch their morale and willingness to offer their best to the company, which not only hurts the company culture—it hurts the bottom line. By ensuring that there is strategic alignment in your organization, you can be certain that limited resources won’t go to waste:

  • Focus energy in the right areas at the right times.
  • Reduce or abolish workplace redundancies.
  • Eliminate conflicting priorities.
  • Increase team-member coordination, communication, and buy-in.
  • Clarify the capabilities and competitive advantages of the organization.
  • Provide structure and clarity of purpose for employees.
  • Empower all team members to shape the future of the organization.
  • Support market manoeuvrability, a must in a rapidly changing global economy.
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Three Key Components of Strategic Alignment:

Strategic alignment refers to how well process management links to organizational objectives and is comprised of three key components:  

  1. Alignment includes the integration with business and organizational strategies, as well as integration between the business on their process management strategy and approach.
  2. Execution refers to the standardized approach of conducting process initiatives (typically using project management methodologies).  
  3. Strategy is a plan to achieve a specific end-state, goal, or objective.

Strategy and process management activities should be integrated and form a symbiotic relationship. The focus of process management depends on current strategy, and process management activities and measures help decision makers track progress toward goals and determine where to make strategic changes. 

Historically, organizations have struggled with this tenet. Over the years process teams report challenges in:  

  • engaging leadership in the value of process work—which makes it difficult to integrate with the strategic planning process—and,  
  • aligning process efforts to organization strategies—sometimes due to a lack of clarity or understanding of the process’ role in strategy execution.

Conclusion:

Strategy is often thought of as something that only top-tier executives can influence, and while it may be true that “top-down” strategy is most common, we maintain that individuals throughout the organization must both understand the organization’s strategy and create an ancillary strategy for themselves—a supplemental strategy that directly impacts their respective areas of responsibility and strengthens the core of the business. When carefully crafted, these supporting strategies are designed expressly to create added value within different divisions of the business while simultaneously upholding and supporting the corporate strategy driving the company forward.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What are three methods for achieving strategic alignment?

  • Get Leaders Aligned on The Strategic Priorities.
  • Actively Involve Key Stakeholders.
  • Reinforce What Matters Most.

How many types of alignment are there?

There are 4 types of text alignments which are left-aligned, center-aligned, right-aligned, and justified.

Why strategic alignment is important?

When your team understands the big picture, it becomes a natural motivation factor. Therefore, strategic alignment helps keep teams motivated by making your strategy clear to them and showing them how it ties to the big picture. It helps eliminate conflicting priorities, so everyone can be on the same page.

How do you do strategic alignment?

Steps to Create Strategic Alignment in the Absence of Organizational Goals:

  1. Start With the Company’s Mission and Vision.
  2. Gather Input from Key Stakeholders.
  3. Check for Understanding.
  4. Create the Strategic Plan.
  5. Share, Implement, Evaluate and Report on Progress.
  6. Stay Flexible, and Realign as Needed.

What is strategic alignment and integration?

Strategic alignment refers to how well process management links to organizational objectives and is comprised of three key components: Alignment includes the integration with business and organizational strategies, as well as integration between the business on their process management strategy and approach.

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