You’re always thinking of ways to improve your business. You know that strategy is important, and you’ve already thought about strategic planning. Now you’re wondering about strategic alignment. But do you know which steps to take?
Read on to find out how you can make the most of your business campaigns.
What Is It?
You can think of strategic alignment as the sequel to your strategic planning session. You have your plan in hand, and you have goals for the future. The question is how do you achieve those goals? Strategic alignment is the next step towards making yourvision for the future areality.
Aligning a business strategically involves bringing your staff and divisions in line with your planned objectives. During strategic planning, you might realize that some of your divisions are out of sync with the goals of the business. Perhaps some staff members need to take on new roles in order for the business to achieve its objectives. The alignment process helps you put those pieces into place.
Rationalizing the Business
Alignment or realignment of a business is sometimes necessary, especially for businesses that have experienced rapid growth. Small businesses are often at risk for growing in an illogical and haphazard way. You may add jobs or departments without much thought—you simply know you need someone to fill a role, or you need a department to handle this new process or procedure. For larger businesses, there may be older divisions or departments that are no longer relevant.
Alignment allows the business to look at its operations, and its people, in order to figure out where they fit. A telecom company might know that pagers and beepers are dead, but do its staff members possess the knowledge and skills for other technologies? If there’s overlap between one division and another, you might consider rolling them together—for example, your HR department might have significant overlap with legal. Does it make sense for them to work together?
Another thing that happens to businesses as they grow over time is that different people take on different roles. Perhaps your upper level management have ill-defined roles because they were asked to wear many hats while the business rapidly expanded. Maybe certain entry and mid-level jobs have descriptions that are too restrictive, which means that your employees can’t learn new skills and grow.
The alignment process also allows you to redefine employee roles. In doing so, you give everyone a better idea of what they’re supposed to be doing and how they contribute to the company’s growth. This can help engage your employees; workers who have a better idea of how their work contributes to the company are often more motivated and productive.
Saving Time and Money
Strategic alignment helps businesses save time and money—it’s that simple. Many businesses have divisions that are old, outdated, or no longer profitable. They may have 2 or 3 divisions that have overlapping functions, but could be more efficient if they were merged into a single unit with shared resources. The alignment process allows your business to look at these sorts of things and determine where changes can be made.
The same is true of employee roles. You may have 2 or 3 roles that are very similar, with lots of overlap between them. Is it possible that the roles could be merged? Perhaps one role could be expanded in a different direction that allows you to explore new markets, technologies, or ideas.
For example, many marketing departments now have employees who work solely with social media. But are they crossing over with other employees? Do you need one employee manning your Twitter account while another explores newer social media channels that could help your business grow? Strategic alignment allows you to consider all of these elements.