The Impact of Company-wide Goal Alignment
When we assess organizational cultures, we find that higher levels of leadership team alignment and employee involvement combined with elevated levels of meaning and purpose drive increased performance and retention. Sadly, most research surveys show that only 44% of the workforce understand how what they do contributes to the overall vision of the company. When employees do in fact believe that their individual goals align with and drive toward the strategic vision of the organization, they are as much as 3.5 times more likely to be meaningfully engaged in their work.
Three Steps to Create Company-wide Organizational Goal Alignment
The key question, then, is how can management help employees gain a clear line of sight between what they do on a daily basis to what the company aims to achieve? In other words, how can you get employees aligned with what matters most?
- Get Fully Aligned at the Top
Goal alignment starts with a creating leadership team alignment in terms of strategic components like the:
– Organizational vision
– Company mission
– Corporate values
– Target clients
– Unique value proposition
– Optimizing strategies
– Action plans for success
Top Leaders must be 100% aligned on not only the strategic priorities to get to where they want to be but also on the strategic context and assumptions that leaders must navigate along the way.
We know from our organizational alignment research that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing companies. When strategies are unclear or unbelievable, plans never fully make it across the finish line in a way that makes sense. The lack of leadership team alignment is a performance and a morale killer.
You will know you are aligned enough when the top leadership team can clearly articulate the strategy in their own words and their actions help, not hinder, strategic progress.
- Provide Enough Flexibility for Teams to Make the Strategy Their Own
Our leadership simulation assessment data tells us that the old-school model of cascading goals and OKR’s from the top with little room for feedback and changes from individuals to influence their own goals rarely works.
Once top leaders are on the same page, strategies and assumptions must be actively cascaded throughout the organization giving managers and frontline employees an opportunity to understand, challenge, and enhance assumptions, strategies, goals, and action plans. Similar to the benefits of crowdsourcing, actively involving employees in the strategy design process, is an amazing way to innovate, solve tough problems, and generate employee buzz, buy-in, and commitment.
When empowered to do so, employees often find innovative ways to accomplish goals that are far more efficient and effective. You will know you are on the right path when employees talk about “our” goals versus “their” goals and feel that they have the resources and latitude to be successful.
Have you checked your strategy execution readiness?
- Reward Results and Behaviors
As you track progress toward goals, watch for those employees who contribute more meaningfully than others ? whether through extraordinary effort, an innovative approach, or cooperative teaming. As you recognize their achievements, others will be encouraged to follow their examples. This is how you empower employees to work toward and achieve ever higher performance and results.
You will know you are on the right path when people know they will be recognized if they contribute to the organization’s success.
The Bottom Line
When your employees understand, believe in, and support the organization’s goals, you can realize the magic of goal alignment. Don’t make the mistake of moving from strategy to action without enough alignment. It will just bite you on the back end.
To learn more about how to create company-wide goal alignment, download 7 Immediate Management Actions to Create Alignment with Goals