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Using Organizational Alignment to Create Perfect Employees

Torben Rick recognizes that organizational alignment is no easy task. In a post for Meliorate, Rick defines it as the engineering of compatibility between strategic and cultural paths, citing culture as a pivotal differentiating factor that makes each business unique in its own right. Strategy, he says, can always be copied.

Step #1: Define the Culture

To start, the business must get at its underlying cultural problems. Cultural problems can only be revealed by building an awareness of culture, so step #1 is to define what the corporate culture is or isn’t doing for the business. Rick recommends going beyond satisfaction surveys to measure the full complexity of a company’s culture. Get your hands dirty. Examine departments, levels, divisions, etc. until the whole picture is revealed.

Step #2: Communicate the Strategy

Once you fully understand the business’s culture, it’s time to wield targeted communication to win over that culture. Involve business leaders by asking them to interact with staff. Once the strategy is effectively communicated to key members or departments, cascade it (vertically and horizontally) until it pervades the organization. And don’t stop at talking. Feedback must be followed up with prioritization. For instance, group identification of major strengths and weaknesses might involve healthy team discussions about what needs to change.

Step #3: Reinforce the Cultural / Strategic Alignment

Lastly, link each project or business process to the core strategy you are promoting. In fact, any non-strategic initiatives that are identified should be abandoned altogether. In a similar sense, employees must comprehend how their daily efforts support the overall business strategy. To achieve this, try using performance guidelines or asking for individualized goal plans. Giving the staff a chance to share ideas for improvement also promotes the kind of involvement that inspires strategic alignment. At the end of the process, use feedback and prioritization routines to monitor the overall progress of the alignment. Sounds easy enough, right?

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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