Organizational Alignment: Good News and Bad News

Organizational Alignment: Good News and Bad News

By: Jim Gitney   |     March 24, 2012

I was talking to several CEOs the other day about the challenges of today’s business climate and the parts of our businesses where we can continue to realize productivity gains. We all agreed that opportunities existed throughout our businesses to improve productivity, but quickly honed in on a discussion around how well our employees were aligned with our Vision, Mission, Values and Corporate Objectives. Everyone squirmed for a moment thinking about organizational alignment and organizational development, before admitting that they really didn’t know if every one of their employees were on the same page with them. We started talking about how well our employees embodied the kind of winning behaviors we wanted them to represent, the kind of focus we wanted them to have on improving the business, and the accountability they had for doing so.

We talked about the ineffectiveness of macro financial reports to properly give us this insight, although we agreed that if the numbers were working, the organization must be well… Right? After further thought on that, we realized that if everyone could perform to a higher level the numbers would be much better. As we discussed this further, we started talking about the methods each of us used to encourage our employees to live the company’s values and focus on its objectives. We talked about all the standard stuff each one of us used like:

  • Email communications
  • Town Hall meetings
  • Coffee with the boss
  • One on one sessions
  • Training exercises and team building
  • Yearly appraisals

The list got quite extensive as we continued pouring out our examples of leadership activities we all undertake to communicate to our employees and get as much organizational alignment as possible. I was taking notes and had a full page of tactics before we stopped. As we looked over the list, they opined on how much work doing all this was, especially for those of us who have remote locations or contract employees. When running operations for Sunbeam, I used to spend 4 weeks a quarter traveling to our facilities in Mexico and the US doing ops reviews and using these techniques to keep everyone focused on our strategic objectives. We all agreed that while each of the items on our list had merit, at best we could only influence a small portion of the organization. We had to rely on our managers to do these things as well, but they admitted there was a lot of inconsistency in how managers lead their people. They asked about the best practices I had seen that were capable of implementing a consistent approach keeping the entire organization aligned to their cultural and strategic objectives.

I started talking about a new system I had just implemented in several client locations called Cascade. This system allows CEO’s to institutionalize cultural objectives and measure performance against strategic objectives throughout the entire organization. I showed them a quick shot of the dashboards that were available with this product, such as the one below.

Wow!, was one of the responses from the group huddled around the table. “Just imagine how good the numbers would be if everyone was aligned and focused on the company’s strategic objectives.” Cascade screen shots One of them looked at me funny and said, “Before I get too excited, what’s the cost?”. Very reasonable with a low per seat monthly cost. This product easily provides a 100% ROI when integrated into a company’s performance management system.

A couple of them told me that they use other systems to align their organizations to cultural and strategic objectives but that those efforts were waning. We talked further about the sustainability of these types of systems and I asked them if they had done an audit of their performance management approach to find out how their process compared to best practices others used. They were intrigued and asked me if I would do one for them. Sure, was my response. More about our performance management assessment can be found here.

They asked how they could see more, and I let them know that I, or one of my consultants, could take them through the whole system if they were willing to invest about 30 minutes of their time on a WebEx. Four of them scheduled WebExes on the spot. Finding out more is as simple as going here, sending us a note at, or calling (909) 949-9083.

About Group50 Consulting:
Formed 12 years ago by former senior operating executives. Group50 Consulting works with companies to align their organization to strategic objectives, integrate them throughout the company and optimize the end result. Our sweet spot is Manufacturing and Distribution companies from mid-cap to Fortune 50. We provides our clients with expert resources to help them shape their strategies, grow their business and significantly improve their operating performance: top and bottom line. Give Jim Gitney a call at 909-949-9083 to find out how we can help your team “Accelerate the performance of your entire business and consistently achieve your strategic objectives”

This entry was posted in Organizational Development, Strategic Execution, on March 24, 2012

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