While most businesses understand the importance of organizational alignment, very few successfully bridge the gap created by misalignment. For instance, let’s look at Orchestra A, which is in sync. Every note, every melody, every instruction from the conductor to the musicians is directed toward producing a harmonious fusion of sound for the audience that is aligned with the composer’s vision. Each artist has an innate understanding that he/she is making individual contributions to a collective goal. Now imagine an out-of-sync Orchestra B, where individual artists are competing with each other and the notes seem to ring strangely. No prizes for guessing which orchestra bags standing ovations and awards.
Image courtesy of Don McCullough via flickr
Similarly, in a business, alignment of both internal and external stakeholders with the organization’s culture, vision, goals, processes, and outcomes is crucial for success. While the above statement seems obvious in theory, only a few businesses are able to achieve alignment.
Businesses like Hershey’s, Intuit or even family owned businesses are often able to achieve a high degree of organizational alignment. There is a deep understanding of the company’s DNA or company culture that starts with its leadership and permeates through all levels. In the case of Intuit, its culture is one lead by empowering employees at every level to innovate, think creatively and question the status quo. As a result, Intuit ranks high when it comes to employee satisfaction, profitability and overall growth. To simply put it, motivated and involved employees who align their efforts to organizational goals, positively affect the bottom line.
Here’s a look at a graph that captures employee insights about an organization’s bid process.
[image type=”thumbnail” src=”https://www.9lenses.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/organizational-alignment-1-1-1.jpg” alt=”Organizational Alignment Graph”]
Graphic 1 :A wider misalignment within an organization
The above graph shows that there is a huge disconnect in how participants feel about the bid process. Just one person felt that the criteria were well-defined and were consistently used in the process. 10 people stuck to the safe middle ground option of “Some Criteria Defined/Inconsistently Used,” and then the numbers that rolled in showed more misalignment, with 10 people opting out by providing no insight. Further analysis led to a not so surprising revelation – the only person who thought the bid process worked seamlessly was the bid manager!
Below is the image of the suggestions and comments submitted through our insight app. The general sense of dissatisfaction with the bid process is evident with a lot of reds.
[image type=”thumbnail” src=”https://www.9lenses.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/organizational-alignment-2-1-1.jpg” alt=”Organizational Alignment Graph”]
Graphic 2 :Comments reflect a clear lack of alignment
The above graphic provides a peek into the overall lack of clarity and the level of dissatisfaction among the concerned people. If this wasn’t identified, the company may have been blind to a misalignment, leading to loss of potential opportunities and even human capital.
While having a perfectly aligned organization may sound a bit idealistic, it is possible to considerably scale the gap that comes from misalignment. It starts by having an open mind and really listening to the people. The gap gradually gets narrow when decision-makers are willing to have their perceptions challenged and follow-through on valid suggestions.
See an example of a business that is on its way to better organizational alignment with its bid process and find out about methods used to scale misalignment in Organizational Alignment – Going from theory to reality :Part 2