How well your organization is aligned will have the greatest impact on your company's ability to win or lose more business. What this asserts is that the extent to which the organization consistently meets revenue targets is directly proportional to the 'degree of alignment' between the organization’s parts and its strategic priorities.
That is your ability as a company to - configure and calibrate the key aspects of marketing and sales planning and execution. Or simply put: aligning the organization for optimal revenue growth.
What exactly is alignment? Alignment means we’re all on the same page, pulling in the same direction. All levels of the organization understand the strategic plan, the critical initiatives that will help to accomplish the objectives, and their individual and/or departmental role in achieving them.
Sustaining top-line revenue growth is an ongoing challenge for most companies. It’s no secret that one of the most critical challenges facing every 21st-century organization is consistently delivering against the #1 driver of long-term company success - top-line revenue growth. Over the past decade of working with CEOs and their teams to design, improve and deliver better long-term revenue performance, I’ve seen, and continue to see, that those unable to sustain success routinely lack much of a coherent or comprehensive vision/plan that the rest of the company is aligned with. Moreover, their teams have little understanding of how it all comes together and what their roles are, and/or the sequencing events in achieving future plans. They sincerely believe that they are leading well-aligned organizations.
When it comes to alignment, perception, and reality often differ. That said, most executives think their companies are aligned. Over the past few months, they’ve put plans in place to align the organization and focus their resources to achieve maximum growth. They’ve organized a series of group and one-on-one meetings throughout the organization to communicate key initiatives, priorities, and growth expectations and get everyone on the same proverbial page. Aligned companies, with all members of the management team and every employee clear on the rationale behind the strategic plan and their own priorities and accountability to support the plan, with specific time frames articulated.
But the facts tell a different story.
85% of executive teams spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy
54% of executives say that the company’s capabilities do not reinforce one another
Two-thirds of support units are not aware of corporate strategy or aligned with their own business unit’s strategy
60% of organizations don’t link budgets to company strategy
95% of employees claim they are not aware of company strategy
It’s clear that organizations may not have their resources as well aligned as they think.
Managers would do well to ask themselves and their teams the following questions: Are we all synchronized and systematically working towards the same objective—driving healthy revenue growth?
Do we know the big picture and where we individually and collectively fit into that process? Are we clear on the critical factors that drive growth and their dependencies, and that we’ve provided proper context for daily decisions being made in support of those objectives? Will the cumulative decisions we make, individually and collectively, support us in reaching our revenue objectives?
Without alignment, it’s difficult—if not impossible—for workers in an organization to have context for the decisions they need to make every day. Alignment and context allow an organization to move confidently beyond its current state to its future desired state.
Alignment is such a simple concept; why is it so difficult to achieve? The importance of aligning the team is hard to dispute, and it seems logical and obvious. But when you consider that strategy is set by very few, maybe once or twice a year, yet the real work is done over a long stretch by many who weren’t in those strategy meetings, you start to see the issue. The workers who ultimately carry out the mission have little understanding of how that strategy was reached, and they had no input on whether they think the strategy is plausible given the reality of resources, budgets, and competition they see out in the field. The result is that most do not have the proper context for making good decisions in their daily work.
When you think of all the possible decisions that are made daily, one or two bad calls might appear to have little impact on the overall scheme of things. Most leaders may never be aware of these tactical decisions, or only find out about them when review meetings take place after the fact. But collectively, over time, decisions made outside the context of the organization’s overall direction will drive inconsistency and have a significantly negative impact, with little opportunity to recover. This can result in confusion and unnecessary chaos, ultimately reducing the odds of success while driving down productivity and draining morale