20 Leadership Actions to Improve Company Direction and Purpose

20 Leadership Actions to Improve Company Direction and Purpose
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Best Practices to Improve Company Direction and Purpose
It is difficult to lead people effectively if they are unclear or misaligned with where they are headed and why getting there matters.  Clear direction sets the foundation for individuals and teams to make good decisions, collaborate across functions, and act cohesively to move the business strategy forward.  A compelling reason creates enough meaning for people to want to make it happen.

The ability to improve company direction and purpose is also at the heart of creating organizational alignment where the three pillars of an organization (strategy, culture, and talent) come together to create higher individual, team, and organizational performance. The good news is that alignment and purpose are worth it.

Our organizational alignment research found that aligned companies grow revenue 58% faster, drive 72% greater profitability, satisfy customers 3.2-to-1, and engage employees 16.8-to-1. And according to recent McKinsey research, 82% of employees believe it’s important for their company to have a meaningful purpose to drive strategy, engagement, and decision making.

Top Leadership Actions to Improve Company Direction and Purpose
The best leaders get the theory, but many stumble when they try to figure out what specific actions to take to improve company direction and purpose on the path to organizational alignment.  It’s no wonder — the number of possible leadership actions and the ways in which to go about implementing and measuring their impact can be daunting.

Here are twenty suggested leadership actions (in no particular order) from clients that you can take to improve company direction and purpose.  The true value is in the art of pacing and contextualizing them in a way that makes sense for your unique strategy, culture, and situation.  Read through them and star those that could be a good fit for what you want to establish as your company direction and purpose.

  1. Ask leaders to create a 1-page team charter for their team that aligns with the overall Company Mission, Vision, and Corporate Values so that there is a clear line of sight for how each person contributes to overall success.
  2. Take your Strategic Vision beyond the communication stage by defining specifically how it impacts decisions, behaviors, and performance expectations.
  3. Interview key customers and identify five strategic priorities that help connect internal actions to the most important customer wants and needs.
  4. Hold employee town hall meetings to purposefully challenge “What is being done,” “Why it is being done,” and “How it is being done” — the goal is to clarify and change things to increase strategic clarity and buy-in.
  5. Hold CEO-led strategy workshops, bringing all managers together to discuss and understand each division’s strategy and goals, and how they align to support the company vision and strategy.
  6. Create “strategic thinking” councils to engage staff in dialogue about institutional priorities, future opportunities, and barriers to success.
  7. Rank all current initiatives based upon their alignment with the company’s direction and purpose and then rationalize them accordingly.
  8. Assess your organizational culture and create a set of clear behavioral objectives that reinforces how work needs to get done to support the strategy.
  9. Increase the transparency, frequency, and methods of evaluating and communicating key performance metrics and KPIs across all levels of the organization.
  10. Cascade SMART goals across all levels of the organization.
  11. Create predetermined, proportionate, and meaningful rewards for teams and individuals based on measurable contributions to goals.
  12. Adopt a performance management process that includes meaningful feedback and dialogue about progress towards desired individual and team goals and behaviors.
  13. Adopt several “big picture” goals that promote cross-functional collaboration to achieve.
  14. Open meetings with progress updates on team goals to keep them top-of-mind and relevant.
  15. Start important meetings with a reminder of the Vision of the Company and why it is important.
  16. Hold intensive 2-day “leadership summits” to gain understanding and buy-in to the vision and corporate values, with the expectation that leaders at all levels communicate the vision and values frequently and consistently.
  17. Use social media and internal communication vehicles to highlight examples of the company authentically demonstrating the company mission, vision, and values.
  18. Make the mission and vision key components of your employee hiring and onboarding processes.
  19. Have the CEO conduct “roadshows” to get out and create more clarity and excitement about the vision, including stories of success and progress.
  20. Link discussions about the strategy and goals directly back to the vision, to create line-of-sight between the near- and long-term priorities.

The Bottom Line
Company direction and purpose matter. Select from the list those suggestions that most closely represent what would work in your situation and then adapt them specifically to your needs.

To learn more about if your strategy is set up for success, download 7 Proven Ways to Stress Test Your Strategy to see where you stand.

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