Focus on Organizational Alignment, continued

From the observations of many managers we have learned that organizational alignment is linked to people’s perceptions.

That is why communication is a key success factor in the implementation of any organizational strategy.

Things to watch for

Technology Executive Gary Clarke reminds us to keep thing simple, and cautions us about pre-existing biases:

“In the past I have framed the “big picture” as simply as possible. I then meet with each manager, and if need be, with each person to link the big picture to their activities. I always use a whiteboard to help create a visual map.

I make certain that each manager can articulate the big picture. You can expect that each person’s version of the big picture will vary to meet either their bias, or limitation in comprehension.”

To better understand some of these biases CEO Eugene Rembor adds:

“There are people who can’t see colors while many others can. There are people who have no night-vision and there are people who simply will never see the big picture. I guess you have to accept it as a fact of live – otherwise every single employee would be a director, VP or CEO because they could see and comprehend the big picture.”

Program Manager Robert Jakobson offers the following suggestion for dealing with individuals who may have trouble seeing the big picture:

“Keep in mind, not everyone needs or wants to see the big picture to contribute to it. In fact many, find that a big picture distracts them from focusing on the element of the picture they’ve defined as their contributing portion. For these people – insure they understand their area of focus, and that it does in fact connect. So even if they don’t “see” the big picture they see how they connect to it.”

Communicating the big picture effectively

Business Developent expert James Potter suggests:

“Learn to paint really well, explain, draw, talk, telephone, engage and explain it again.

Show them the big picture, get them to draw it for you, get them to understand every action has a reaction and the potential chain of events that unfolds.”

Finally, be sure to communicate the big picture to your staff in a positive and memorable way. Web Development firm Owner Eileen Bonfiglio used the following exercise:

“The most successful and memorable meeting I held on this topic was a breakfast meeting in where I brought donuts. I asked everyone to focus on the center and tell me what was lacking or missing, tons of responses. I then asked them to look at the whole donut and tell me what they saw. They got it and remember it to this day – keep your eye on the donut, not the hole.”

Focus on Organizational Alignment

Alignment with the overall corporate strategy depends on a solid understanding of the big picture.

And this understanding starts with the leadership working toward organizational alignment. To put it succinctly, Florida Certified General Contractor Mark Ernest says “Understand it yourself.”

Management Consultant Octavio Ballesta expands on this thought adding:

“Be sure that you have a comprehensive and accurate knowledge from the corporate “big picture”, that includes corporate Mission, Vision and Strategy; corporate goals envisioned in the strategy; projects that are being developed to meet the strategy and relevant metrics to measure effectiveness of corporate strategy.”

The Big Picture Is About Them

Next comes communicating your view of the big picture to staff. VP of Marketing Rajesh Mehta believes communication of the company’s goals is a task of empowering your staff to make them a reality.

Part of empowering staff is to help them realize their own role in the big picture. Leadership Development Consultant Drew Bishop contributes this comment:

“When working to help staff pay attention to the bigger issues, it is important for them to understand how the big picture impacts them, personally, and, more importantly, how what they do impacts the big picture.”

When should you communicate the big picture? The approach by Energy Expert Ray Miller is one of constant open communication: “I communicate it all the time. Hold nothing back.”

How much and how deep you want to go in your communication depends on the situation and the person or group you are talking to. Terry Seamon suggests that at minimum you and your managers ought to communicate

 

  • How the business is doing
  • Where the business is heading
  • The opportunities the business has
  • The challenges the business faces

According to Ballesta, you should plan meetings where you include as much detail as appropriate:

“When the progress of the corporate strategy can objectively measured do not hesitate in sharing the financial performance, operational improvements, technologic enhancements and market positioning achievements that are derived from proper strategy execution. Sharing this information will helpful to align to your staff around the practices that should be followed to achieve the corporate goals in the future.

Schedule periodic meetings with your staff to explain about other business cases where having executed similar corporate strategies signified outstanding financial outcomes; an improvement in the market positioning; a better business agility; operational excellence and/or innovation based culture.”