Internal Strategic Alignment of Your Corporate Objectives

 

Customer cultivation and retention. Employee motivation, empowerment and buy-in. Customer and employee loyalty. Open book management. Don't manage, lead and then get out of the way. All wonderful stuff, but how do you do it? At first glance, it appears to be equivalent to explaining the meaning of life. Truthfully, it isn't quite that complex. In the words of Jack Welch, "People always overestimate how complex business is. This isn't rocket science."

How do you go about accomplishing great things for your company?

Three premises:

1. Every company can be broken into three segments. The visionary/leadership/CEO and Executive Team segment, referred to as the Enterprise/Supra-System is at the top of the pyramid. Below that comes the Business/System segment consisting of managers who implement and manage systems and processes. Finally, at the base of the pyramid is the Practice/Sub-System where your worker-bees/technicians perform the day to day activities that need to be done in order for your business to live and breath.

2. All segments need direction and aim. Should the Enterprise fail to provide the Practice/Sub-System with an aim, it will create its own. What's more, its aim may or may not have anything to do with the aim of the Enterprise. The same holds true for the Business/System segment. Without aim and direction, it too will create its own.

3. All businesses are comprised of systems and processes. The late Ray Kroc realized that extraordinary systems, operated by ordinary people, produce extraordinary results. In reverse, a team of "A" players in a poorly run system will produce sub-par results. The system will eventually discourage and frustrate your "A" players resulting in failure. It is the system that matters.

Summation: Each segment of a company must be informed of what the company's "Big Picture" is. Each segment must know what is expected of them. All three segments must be linked by an extraordinary system with each segment consisting of processes that comprise the system.

How do you get there?

First of all by being truthful and honest. You must be brave enough to discern your own realities, discover genuine solutions and achieve actual disclosure. You must be willing to take a good hard look at yourself, your company, your people and your processes.

Next, accept the fact that none of us is as smart as all of us. Two minds are better than one and 12 minds are far superior to 2. Your people have a great deal to contribute. Involve them. Encourage and accept their input. Allow them to be brutally honest and truthful - with you, each other and themselves.

Finally, develop a strategic plan. Not a flowery, pie-in-the-sky plan, but a real strategic plan. One that states in honest, truthful, realistic, achievable and measurable terms, your purpose for existing, your vision and mission statements, and the company's corporate-wide objectives, strategies and tactics. A strategic plan that is exciting, believable, understandable, inspirational, motivational and achievable. If you've already been through a strategic planning drill, ask yourself, "Is our mission statement a piece of superfluous jargon, or is it something you and everyone in your company can sink their teeth into?" Based on many of the vision and mission statements published to date, there appears to be far more fluff than substance.

Why?

Because to do it right is an arduous, challenging, emotionally charged, disciplined, revealing, and time consuming task that most people would rather avoid doing. Forced to do it because it is the fashionable thing to do, most choose to short-cut the process and are pleased to come away with any kind of mission statement that sounds and looks great, in spite of the fact that it can't hold water and nobody understands it. Should you doubt that, just read any ten vision and mission statements, including your own company's and ask yourself, "what does this mean?"

Once you have determined your purpose and written honest, achievable and measurable vision and mission statements, you must next establish objectives to support them. To support the objectives you need to determine your strategies. The strategies are supported by tactics. When you are through celebrating and congratulating one another on the fine job you've done and the Enterprise/Supra-System knows exactly where the company is headed and how it is going to get there another reality will set in. Those segments below the Enterprise/Supra-System have no knowledge of your vision and mission and were never asked for their input. In addition, those in the Practice/Sub-System have probably heard about your strategy session on the grapevine and saw the whole thing as a waste of money. "Just a bunch of guys in suits lighting candles, holding hands and making a wish." How then, do you make them part of the plan?

Inform, involve and inspire.

Inform them all of what it is you are setting out to do before you do it. Let them know that their input will be valuable to the overall success of the plan. Upon completion of the Enterprise portion of the plan, let the rest of the company know what you've accomplished and produced. Create dialogue, don't dictate. Involve them, don't force feed. Work with the Business/System segment to start their own purpose, vision and mission statements, objectives, strategies and tactics, all in support of those of the Enterprise. At the same time, the managers within the business segment must inform and involve the Practice/Sub-System and make them aware of what the Business segment is doing and the direction it is headed. Once the purpose, vision and mission statements have been written, the objectives, strategies and tactics have been established, the torch is then passed to the Sub-System/Practice segment of the company to complete its own strategy session. Accomplishing this final phase of the strategic alignment requires dedication, commitment, direction, assistance, encouragement and support from the managers. Only with help from the Business/System can the Practice/Sub-System complete its purpose, vision and mission statements, objectives, strategies and tactics in support of those of the rest of the company. From the top down and the bottom up, everyone in the company will know and understand where the company is headed. Everyone from the bottom to the top will know what they have to do together, to achieve the company wide goals. Everyone throughout the company is informed, involved and inspired. Everyone has contributed and everyone has been validated. Most importantly, everyone is now pulling on the same rope in the same direction.

The Benefits

Informed, involved and inspired employees are loyal employees. They want to contribute to their plan. They want their plan to succeed. They want their company to succeed. They are willing to stay longer and do more. They want to do more for their customers. They miss fewer days of work. And if you think your customers won't notice the difference, you have another think coming. Happy employees make for happy customers. Happy customers stay longer, buy more, complain less, demand less and prove more profitable year after year. The same holds true for your vendors. They too will see and feel a difference and they too will want to do more for your company. It is wonderfully infectious.

 

The Law of the Jungle
Now this is the law of the Jungle-
as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper,
but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk,
the law runneth forward and back ­
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf,
and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack."

-Rudyard Kipling

 

Do You Kaizen?

Who Could Have Predicted It?

Living in an "Alice in Wonderland" World


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