How to Create Strategic Alignment

How to Create Strategic Alignment
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Defining Strategic Alignment
If you think of corporate strategy as “what” you are trying to achieve, then “how to create strategic alignment” is about ensuring that your resources, investments, efforts, decisions, and actions work cohesively together toward achieving those strategic priorities. It is all about creating synergy and higher performance.

Organizational Alignment Research
We began our organizational alignment research with input across eight industries, 410 companies, and academic experts combined with our 25+ years of hands-on experience. Our objective was to understand and isolate the ingredients that mattered most in terms of short- and long-term organizational health and performance.

While we believed from experience that strategically aligned companies and teams consistently achieve higher performance, we were blown away by the research results.

Highly aligned companies grow revenue 58% faster and are 72% more profitable while outperforming unaligned companies at these rates:

  • Customer Retention 2.23-to-1
  • Customer Satisfaction 3.2-to-1
  • Leadership Effectiveness 8.71-to-1
  • Employee Engagement 16.8-to-1

Such powerful results show how important it is for companies and leadership teams to get aligned.  The first step to get organizationally aligned is to ensure that your key stakeholders believe that your strategy is clear enough, believable enough, and implementable enough for your unique situation.

How to Create Strategic Alignment in 6 Steps
Typically accomplished through expert strategy retreat facilitation, leaders:

  1. Define Strategic Drivers
    First, define and agree upon your strategic drivers – your Vision, Mission, and Corporate Values. While some leaders feel like this is “touchy feely” stuff that does not add much value, all three are critical if you want to win the hearts and minds of those responsible for executing your strategic plans.

    Vision Statement
    What we hope to become and the business we will be in tomorrow

    Mission Statement
    Your organization’s core business and fundamental purpose

    Corporate Values
    Your fundamental beliefs and decision making filters

  2. Define Ideal Target Client Profiles
    High growth companies focus on ideal target clients where they should win the majority of the time. Why?  Because ideal clients do not just buy your stuff; they passionately buy and use what you have to offer.

    They do not just need what you offer; they feel they must have what you offer.  They are not merely satisfied with what you offer; they are thrilled with what you offer and advocate on your behalf.   These attributes create repeat business, client referrals, and testimonials to help build your business.

  3. Determine Differentiation
    Whether you call this differentiation or a unique value proposition, this is about what clearly sets you apart from the pack in the eyes of your target clients.

    Companies that stand apart typically differentiate themselves in the areas of “better, faster, or cheaper.” Regardless of what you call it and how you frame it, it is worth the time and effort to determine what specifically makes you better (from your customers’ perspective) than your competition (and the other available alternatives).

  4. Define Success Metrics
    High performing companies know how to define and measure high performance — at the individual, team, and organizational levels.  People yearn for direction and focus. How you define, measure, communicate, and reward success and failure sets the stage for a high performance culture.
  5. Focus on Optimizing Strategies
    Not all strategic moves are created equal and you do not want to sacrifice strategic clarity. High performing companies pick their battles, place their big bets that matter most, and empower the entire company to define clear priorities, think boldly, and drive forward with a ruthless focus toward higher performance.
  6. List Key Goals and Actions
    Having defined the optimizing strategies, you now need to cascade strategies throughout the company. Each level in the organization needs to convert the big bets into their own set of goals and actions for the next 30, 60, and 90 days that matter most and that they are willing to commit to as a team

The Bottom Line
Strategy sets the collective direction and energy. But a great strategy can be rendered utterly useless if it is not aligned with the goals and actions that can lead your company dramatically forward. Do not waste a good strategy by not paying attention to strategic alignment.

To learn more about how to create strategic alignment, download One Page Strategy Communication Map Examples that Create Strategic Alignment

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