Organizational alignment has become both a buzz term and a “to-strive-for” business ideal. The definition of what it is varies across the web. Just a few versions that turned up after I did a quick Google search include:
Process of harnessing the creative and productive energies of all members of your organization in contribution toward the achievement of organizational goals.”—James Heaton, Tronvig Group.
Linking of organizational goals with the employees’ personal goals.”—BusinessDictionary.com
The practice of putting everyone in the company on the same page.”—Dana Sparks, eHow
To me, they all make sense and capture the essence of what it means to be aligned as a company. Organizational alignment involves unifying the ambitions and efforts of individuals with unique sets of strengths, skills, aspirations, and motivational triggers to achieve business success. It requires embracing individualism while focusing on common goals.
Although it’s not always easy, it can be done! As a business owner, I’ve discovered organizational alignment relies on paying constant attention to the following three things:
1. Communication with team members
Communicating with employees has always been a priority at CorpNet. And it requires a culture of give and take, and ebb and flow. As a leader at your company, sharing your company’s goals with employees isn’t enough. You also have to communicate the roles of individuals and departments clearly so that they align with your company’s objectives.
I’ve always found that transparency, clear expectations, and consistent follow up help my staff do their jobs more independently and move forward with confidence to achieve initiatives. I’ve also found that listening is as important—if not more so—than talking. By learning about your team members’ career goals, professional development needs, and ideas, you can unearth valuable insight about what motivates the individuals within your company.
2. The right resources
Without the resources they need to do their work successfully, team members will lose self-confidence and falter in their efforts. And that’s not all—they might also lose the motivation to work toward the goals of your organization.
I learned early on in my career as a business owner that there is no substitute for providing the right tools, training, and resources to employees. By setting up every individual in our organizations for success, we set up our businesses for success.
If you’re wondering how to determine what resources your team members need to do their jobs to the best of their abilities, refer to my first point: communication. Ask your employees about what support they need to hone their skills and deepen their knowledge.
3. Openness to innovation
Giving my team members a voice to share their creative suggestions and ideas has been a win-win for our business. Employees feel empowered and valued, and our company has gained efficiencies as a result of their thoughtful innovation.
When you give employees “skin in the game” by encouraging them to voice their thoughts about ways to improve how your business is run, they work harder and with a higher degree of commitment.