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Gauge Which Activities Aren’t in Sync with Your Strategy

Geplaatst op mrt 14, 2014 in News

Take this brief assessment for feedback on how to improve strategic alignment in eight key areas.

Most organizational leaders struggle to align day-to-day activities with strategy, even though they know it’s important to do. Almost 80% of the more than 1,200 senior executives recently surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers believe that their organizations have the right strategic intent — but only 54% think they’re executing that strategy well.

Why the gap? Let’s compare two fictional companies to see what’s involved.

The first — which we’ll call Company A — focuses on translating its strategy into action as quickly as possible. Right away, the senior management team converts its PowerPoint decks into a road show that explains the strategy, develops a comprehensive implementation plan, sets up a program management office, establishes steering committees, assigns roles, and even starts restructuring. But after six months the plan starts to falter. Leaders and their teams are strapped — and competing — for resources. Distracted by pet initiatives that have little to do with the new strategy, they revert to old habits. They struggle to manage tensions between units and to realize value across them.

Company B takes a different approach. Before rewiring operations, leaders:

  • wrestle with the nuances of the strategy
  • diagnose how well the organization’s activities are currently aligned with it
  • cease any strategically unimportant activities
  • identify capabilities vital to the strategy
  • establish decision rights
  • begin modeling behaviors that support the strategy
  • gauge performance and risks with leading and lagging metrics that reflect the company’s priorities.

This whole process puts leaders in a more constructive mind-set and tends to defuse political jockeying, defensiveness, excuses, and blame.

Company A’s leaders have intellectually bought into their strategy and execution plan, but through their discipline and hard work, Company B’s leaders have built emotional commitment, as well, which will give their efforts more staying power. As Company B’s leaders turn their attention to operations, they make sure all the elements — processes, people, capital and organizational structure, and technology — are in lockstep with what the strategy demands. Leaders help engage the rest of the organization by clearly articulating people’s roles and modeling the actions required to deliver results.

That’s what alignment looks like. It’s not easy, and it never goes off without a hitch. But in the end it’s actually much more efficient than diving right into a reactive, short-term operational overhaul.

Do you work for Company A or Company B? This brief assessment will help you gauge whether misalignment is holding your organization back. 

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