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Monday, April 16, 2007

The Importance of Organizational Alignment

There are many simple analogies that can be used to define alignment within an organization.

Alignment can be thought of as "everyone being on the same page" or "rowing in the same direction" or "singing from the same song sheet."

Simply put, alignment is about three basic ideas:

  1. Defining and communicating (cascading) strategy throughout the organization
  2. Establishing clear organizational accountability (both team leader and team member)
  3. Managing initiatives and projects against the goals and strategy

BOTTOMLINE: In Six Disciplines for Excellence, Discipline III. Align Systems is all about the toughest discipline of all. Although critical, deciding what's important and setting goals that lead the organization are not where most organizations fail. Remember, 90% of effectively formulated strategies fail due to execution. It's after goals are set that companies run into one of their most challenging foes - their own systems and processes. Businesses are made up of processes, policies, technologies, measures and people - all of which need to be aligned with the companies goals. The term "alignment" means "close cooperation." So aligning systems means getting all of the components of the business working in close cooperation to meet the goals of the company.

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