The Key Steps to Align Strategy and People

The Key Steps to Align Strategy and People
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The Ability to Align Strategy and People Sets Leaders Apart
Organizational strategies must go through your people and your culture to be successfully implemented.  The better you and your people are aligned and working in synchrony, the more likely you will succeed.  Our organizational alignment research found that the ability to align strategy and people creates 58% more revenue growth, 72% greater profitability, and 17 times higher employee engagement.

The goal is to have each individual employee from the C-suite to the frontline perform their job with the skills, abilities, and behaviors that are in accordance with the overall strategic plan. That means actively involving, mobilizing, and supporting every stakeholder to pull in the same direction in a way that makes sense to the people and the business.

Organizational Alignment Is Worth It
Our organizational culture assessment data tells us that employees and leaders yearn for things to make sense at the individual, team, and organizational levels.  Why? Because when how work gets done (the culture) is misaligned with priorities (the strategy) or the necessary skills required to get the work done (the talent), work is frustrating, demotivating, and inefficient.

The Key Steps to Align Strategy and People
The good news is that organizational alignment is possible.  It starts with senior team alignment and actively cascades across individuals and teams.

  1. Design a Clear and Compelling Strategy
    First, you need to co-create a clear, believable, and implementable strategy with the entire executive team at a well-design strategy retreat. Ideally the strategy can be communicated on a one-page strategy map so that all key stakeholders can review, provide feedback, and make it their own.You will know you are ready to move forward when the strategy is clear, believable, and implementable enough for all executive team members to 100% commit to making it happen.

    Do you need to stress test your strategy?

  2. Actively Involve Key Stakeholders
    Many companies handle this step poorly. They falsely believe that strategy communications from leadership will automatically create employee support and commitment. You can’t implement even a well-designed strategy without people’s support.Communication does not change the hearts and minds of employees at work. In fact, Gartner found that what leaders communicate about strategy and culture only has a 1% impact on employees.  You can’t just announce plans and assume compliance. Employees deserve to understand the rationale behind the new strategy and where they fit in.

    If you want to create strategy and change advocates, actively involve stakeholders in challenging and finalizing the strategies and plans that affect them and their teams. That does not mean that you are giving employees carte blanche; it does mean that you are asking for honest and transparent input about what would need to happen for people to get aligned with the strategies and plans for success.  It also means that you are open and willing to incorporate the feedback in a way that makes sense.

    Do you have a proven strategy cascade process to engage your key stakeholders in your strategy for success?

  3. Take Action, Learn, and Adjust
    While the first steps to strategic action have an outsized impact on success, our leadership simulation assessment data tells that not enough leaders are focused on the first 90-days of strategy execution. The initial decisions and actions about how, where, and when to deploy resources and what actions to take can make or break a strategy.Leaders’ decisions and actions guide others toward priorities. The key is to keep a close eye on strategy confusion and misalignment warning signs such as a lack of collaboration between teams, weak accountability, or ineffective decision making.

    Is your strategy being consistently implemented across the organization?

The Bottom Line
The stronger the alignment between strategy and people, the more likely you can beat the odds and succeed in reaching your strategic goals. By creating a coherent business strategy, including stakeholders in the design and carefully monitoring the strategy execution phase, you can mobilize your work force to ever higher business performance and strategy success.

To learn more about how to align strategy and people for peak performance, download A Purposeful and Aligned Organizational Culture – Your DNA for Strategy Success

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