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Key alignment challenges & How to measure whether your alignment is improving.

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This #weeklyNRG is slightly longer than normal.

You might want to listen as a podcast instead:

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elephant heard walking in a line analogy to aligned team

Continuing our month exploring Alignment in business. I thought this week we would look at the 2 key points; the challenges face by many in trying to achieve alignment and then how you measure whether your alignment is improving.

Achieving alignment within a company can be a complex and challenging endeavour.

What are the challenges to improving alignment in your business? Here are 10 areas that might be causing you some concern.

1. Diverse Stakeholder Interests. Different stakeholders, such as employees, management, shareholders, and customers, often have varying interests and priorities, making it challenging to align everyone's goals and expectations. Remember to raise the discussion to a higher level to find common group.

2. Communication Gaps. Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings and misalignment. Effective communication across all levels of the organisation is crucial.

3. Cultural Differences. In organisations with diverse teams, varying company cultures

can hinder alignment efforts. Celebrate the differences and utilize them to benefit your thinking around alignment.

4. Silos and Departmental Barriers. Departments or teams that work in isolation can resist aligning their efforts with the broader organisational goals. Working on the benefits of collaboration can be of great use here.

5. Resistance to Change. Employees and even leadership may resist changes required to achieve alignment, fearing disruption or job insecurity. Explain the growth imperative and the Kubler Ross Change Curve to positively manage the changing situation. Help the individuals take some control of the situation for greater effectiveness and keep your communication flowing.

6. Lack of Clear Objectives. If the company's vision, mission, values and goals are unclear or constantly changing, achieving alignment becomes a moving target. Remember as a leader it is our role to keep reminding people of the Vision, Mission, Values and Goals again and again and again. Conversation is better than lecturing. Asking individuals to explain what the vision, mission and values means to them is more impactful than presenting and telling.

7. Inadequate Leadership. Effective leadership is essential for setting the vision and direction, as well as motivating and guiding employees towards alignment. Enough said.

8. Inconsistent Priorities and Competing Priorities. Employees often juggle multiple tasks and may struggle to prioritize alignment efforts over day-to-day responsibilities.. Shifting priorities and ad-hoc decision-making can hinder long-term alignment efforts. As a leader it is our responsibility to make sure focus on the right things for success remains in place. Goals and values are key to helping the teams understand how to behave and makes it easier for them to make decisions.

9. External Factors. Economic, market, and regulatory changes can impact a company's ability to stay aligned with its strategic objectives. Constantly reviewing the business landscape and working out how to navigate through the waters is a key leadership task. Getting your teams to be connected to the external factors bringing market intelligence into the business will give a competitive advantage.

And finally leading us onto the second part of this #weeklyNRG

10. Inadequate Performance Metrics. If there are no clear and measurable performance metrics in place, it can be challenging to assess alignment or make improvements. Yet again another benefit of measuring activity.

How do you measure your performance?

This is a question I often get asked. We all know how measurement is essential to gauge whether the company's various components are working together effectively to achieve its goals.. How can you do that? Here are some areas to look at and tools for measuring alignment.

1. Strategic KPIs.

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Measure progress toward strategic goals and objectives. These could include revenue growth, market share, customer retention, or other metrics specific to your industry and business strategy.

  • Balanced Scorecard. Use a balanced scorecard framework to measure alignment across different aspects of the business, such as financial, customer, internal processes, and learning and growth perspectives.

2. Employee Engagement, Behaviour and Satisfaction.

  • Employee Surveys. Regularly collect feedback from employees to gauge their understanding of the company's mission and vision and their alignment with it.

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS). This can measure employee loyalty and enthusiasm for the company's mission, which is often reflective of alignment.

  • Behavioural Assessments. Evaluate whether employees' behaviour and decision-making align with the company's core values and culture.

  • Participation and Effectiveness. Measure the engagement and impact of alignment workshops and training programs for employees.

3. Communication and Collaboration.

  • Frequency of Communication. Measure the frequency of communication within and between teams and departments to ensure the flow of information necessary for alignment.

  • Collaboration Metrics. Track how often teams or individuals from different areas of the business collaborate on projects or initiatives.

4. Customer Feedback.

  • Customer Satisfaction Scores (e.g., NPS or CSAT or Reviews ). Happy customers are often the result of aligned business processes, as it indicates that the company is delivering on its promises.

5. Financial Alignment.

  • Budget vs. Actual. Compare budgeted financial performance to actual financial results to ensure alignment with financial goals.

6. Project and Initiative Alignment.

  • Project Status Reports. Regularly review the status of key projects and initiatives to ensure they are on track and in alignment with strategic objectives.

8. Market and Competitor Analysis.

  • Market Share. Measure your company's market share compared to competitors, which can indicate alignment with market demand and customer preferences.

9. Feedback Loops.

  • Establish mechanisms for continuous feedback and improvement, such as regular meetings, retrospectives, and post-project evaluations.

Measuring alignment is an ongoing process that involves a combination of quantitative and qualitative assessments. It's important to establish clear benchmarks, set goals for improvement, and regularly review the data to make adjustments as necessary. Ultimately, the specific metrics and methods you use to measure alignment should align with your company's strategic goals and priorities.

One final thought. Focusing on short-term gains at the expense of long-term strategy can hinder alignment with a company's larger goals so think of the longer term’s goals and priorities. Next time in our final instalment exploring alignment we are going to look at some tools and strategies to help improve that balance of long term vs short term alignment in business. Including some best practices for businesses like yours. Until then, have a great week.



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