Organizational Alignment – How Leaders Keep Their Business Growing

Organizational Alignment Growth Curve

What does it take to create and sustain high growth?

It takes organizational alignment…alignment of strategy, culture and talent…just like the three cartoon characters above pulling together to keep that arrow pointing onward and upward.

While most businesses strive for highly profitable growth, aligning all the critical factors to achieve that growth is a challenge for many leaders.  But organizational alignment is worth it.  Based upon research of 410 companies across eight industries, highly aligned companies grow 58% faster and are 72% more profitable while significantly outperforming their unaligned peers in terms of customer and employee retention and engagement.

Business Strategy

First let’s talk strategy. An effective business strategy provides direction, purpose and inspiration.  It defines where to play and outlines the critical few actions required to win by answering 7 key questions:

  1. How will you grow?
  2. How are you defining success and failure?
  3. What is your organization’s core purpose and direction? Is it inspiring?
  4. Is your strategy well understood by your employees?
  5. Do they believe that it will set them and the company up to succeed?
  6. Is your ideal target customer clearly defined and agreed to by all key stakeholders?
  7. Are your offerings unmistakably differentiated from the competition?

In addition to having a clear, implementable and believable business strategy, most high growth companies also have a potent and consistent brand that creates a meaningful connection with a desirable niche market.   They do not make the mistake of trying to be all things to all people.  They focus on what they do best, where they should win and with whom.

High Performing Corporate Culture

Once your business strategy is clear enough to act, you need to think about what kind of corporate culture you need to create to best execute your strategy.

We define culture as how things truly get done in an organization. It can be measured by understanding the way people think, behave and work. Organizational cultures exist by design or by default. And, regardless of their origin, some strong cultures help companies perform (e.g. Southwest Airlines) and some strong cultures hurt performance (e.g. Enron). One thing is certain-as a leader, if you do not understand, shape and align your culture and strategy, you will not perform at your peak. Our organizational alignment research found that cultural factors account for almost 40% of the difference between high and low growth companies.

For example, if innovative and cutting-edge offerings will be crucial to your growth plan, you need to encourage a climate where open communication, creative thinking, off-the-wall ideas and collaborative teams thrive. On the other hand, if your strategy depends upon a tried-and-true product that already has solid name recognition, you want a more “traditional” culture with a supportive structure of processes that ensure you are able to maintain market position, strengthen your brand and yet be able to adapt and scale to changing market conditions.   It is not about right and wrong.  It is all about creating the right organizational culture for your unique business strategy.

Differentiated Talent

Once you have designed your high performance culture to set you up to best execute your business strategy, it is time to find the top talent that will get you where you want to go. We define talent as the workforce that leaders must build and manage to create a unique advantage their competitors cannot replicate. One good indicator of success is observing that people who are a good cultural fit are most likely to be high performers.

Now you see where we’re headed. All three factors need to be aligned. You need the culture that will attract, engage and retain the talent that resonates with and is committed to your strategy. If even one of these three pillars is weak, your company’s health and performance is at risk.

Be intentional about your aspirations for your company’s future. It will take hard work, clear thinking, commitment, and a talented team that is engaged with their culture in a way that supports the overall strategy. Keep that growth arrow on the upswing!

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Emily Couey
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We partnered with LSA to pilot a customized behavioral interviewing program to help ensure that we continue to hire the best and brightest as we continue to rapidly scale. LSA’s ability to understand our business and our unique culture combined with their desire to ensure that the best practices framework truly fits our performance environment and is highly adopted by our people is a real blessing. Most other firms want to just ‘give you training.’ Not LSA, they are focused on helping me hit our hiring forecasts and attract A players.

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Our company engaged LSA to do a specialized “train the trainer” program, and the consultant’s performance outdid our exceptionally high standards for such a program. Very crucial to the success of this program was the work done upfront to discuss our needs and to interview key members of our organization so that the program specifically met our goals. Our facilitators continue to comment on the success of the program. Thanks also for the follow-up.

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LSA’s Employee Engagement Consulting and Survey work has provided critical visibility into: how well our people are holding up under the general economic environment, as well as, the specific challenges that face biotechnology companies in their efforts to discover and develop new medicines; their level of alignment and commitment to XOMA’s Vision and mission critical strategies; how leadership practices and management systems support an environment that engender commitment, and the specific actions that our leaders can take to improve on areas that are important to our people. I highly recommend LSA’s employee engagement solutions.

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I’ve been associated with LSA for the last 8 years and have found them to be an extremely professional, well managed full service training organization. Since working with LSA, I’ve participated in a number of solutions ranging from Performance Management to Assertiveness Training – I’ve found that the quality of the resources is superior. They are well prepared and have definitely done a considerable amount of pre-work in order to customize our culture and business into the total learning experience – making it most beneficial for our employees.

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“We turned to LSA to help us custom design and deliver a leadership and management development curriculum to help drive performance. They have done an excellent job diagnosing the business situation, designing an approach that fits our culture, and delivering a first class solution.”

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LSA provided top notch solutions right when and how we needed them. They exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and cost standpoint. I recommend them to anyone looking for a true business partner in the Learning and Development arena. The breadth and depth of their expertise has helped us hit tight deadlines across multiple projects.

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I’ve partnered with LSA Global at two companies now, and I consider them a valuable and trusted training and consulting resource. They recommended just the right solution to address our management development needs and have wonderful facilitators that match YuMe’s culture and style of our management team. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions with a valuable learning and development partner.

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We consider LSA Global our outsourced learning and development partner. We worked closely with LSA to customize a management development program to meet our growing business needs. I would highly recommend LSA to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions.

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The Next Generation Management Development courses have helped me communicate more effectively with my peers and teammates. By utilizing effective communication techniques such as clarifying and confirming, and asking open ended questions, I have been able to clarify and understand information in situations where I would have otherwise asked limited questions and made false assumptions.

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Here’s a token of my appreciation for ALL your efforts. I’m offering my most sincere appreciation, and it extends to all the folks who made our customized management development programs possible.

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I continue to be impressed by the level of leadership development and management expertise and quality of advice and facilitation that LSA has to offer. What a smart and client-centric group of great people who really know how to help leaders attract, engage, develop and retain top talent.

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For our go to training outsourcing partner, LSA provides exactly what we want. As always, they deliver outstanding work!

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