There’s no surefire strategy for corporate success. Or is there?
To find an answer to this question, let’s examine the actions of an executive named Art, who stepped into the role of regional vice president of sales at a global medical device manufacturer. His new assigned territory had traditionally been the firm’s lowest performer. Art examined both the region and the company to determine why performance lagged. When he looked at the region through the lens of organizational alignment, Art recognized what no one else had noticed.
Art found a lot of holes in the medical device manufacturer’s processes and culture that prevented the firm from fulfilling its vision to provide quality products that improve people’s lives. By applying leadership skills and relying on the strategy of organizational alignment, Art was able to turn his poorly performing region into the manufacturer’s leading sales region in the country. He subsequently worked with the company’s other regions to achieve similar change by aligning sales reps and support staff with the company’s mission and vision.
Organizational alignment is more than just being on the same page with respect to a company’s task management overall procedures. It heightens performance through the strength of harmony between strategy, structure and culture. When these all elements come together, the result is an organization that functions incredibly efficiently.
At its heart, organizational alignment is about establishing a full understanding throughout the firm of the company’s mission, vision and strategic plan. Staff needs to be connected to the reason that the organization exists. When employees know not only what needs to be accomplished, but also the purpose behind what the organization is trying to accomplish, they will lean in and bring their best selves to the work.
Coordinate effort to move straight and fast
Aligned organizations are like sculling teams, in which rowers coordinate their strength and movement. When all scullers put an oar in the water at the same time and use the same amount of force as their teammates, and when the entire team works in cadence with the coxswain, the boat moves straight and fast. Conversely, even a slight misalignment within an organization — meaning a small percent difference in the force of oars — is the difference between winning and losing.
The strategy for corporate success is to achieve the essence of alignment: high performing teams, connected to mission and vision, and executing upon them in a tight, coordinated manner.
But some might argue that their business is nothing like the straight and smooth stretch of water that sculling teams glide across. Instead, it’s more like river rapids, requiring the team to navigate fast currents, eddies and large boulders to keep the boat from flipping.
Yet sculling teams make the same precision moves as the rafters rowing through churning rapids: they prepare, examine the course, understand the mission and vision, and fully grasp the role that each team member plays. And they communicate with one another about any unexpected adjustments they need to make. Thanks to their training and their alignment to mission and vision, they not only are able to avoid pitfalls, but also manage the risk in any situation and take advantage of opportunities that others may not see.
Remember that sales exec, Art? That was me. I went on to found Orgametrics, using my experience with the medical device manufacturer and other companies to develop an organizational alignment strategy based on the understanding that alignment to mission and vision through data-driven techniques is critical to increasing performance.
Mission and vision are the common denominators that all departments can use to work together collaboratively, communicate effectively and efficiently beat the competition at the finish line.