Can’t we all just get aligned? Yes, and here’s how to do it

Getting everyone in your company on the same page is critical to success.

Without this alignment, it feels like swimming against a riptide, and in fact, if you don’t get this alignment, it can be as fatal as a riptide.

It seems pretty simple – tell everyone what they need to do and they’ll do it. Isn’t that aligning everyone? What is so hard about this?

There are several reasons for this disconnect.

For starters, as your company grows and you add people, it gets more complex. And the complexity becomes exponential as you grow. It is not one-for-one.

Communication becomes the No. 1 breakdown in the company.

As the leader, you need to control the story, or someone else’s story will take hold. More likely, multiple stories.

Next, the leadership team does not agree on the direction of the company and how it will get here.

The path to this alignment is through discussion and debate among the leadership team, devising a plan that everyone has a stake in developing. This is the role of strategic planning.

The third reason for a lack of alignment is the plan is not written down in a clear, concise manner that everyone understands.

If the strategy is complex and difficult to understand, it’s probably wrong and has little chance to be implemented. People will just check out.

BETTER SUCCESS RATE

Does writing it down really matter?

According to a 2011 study by Gail Matthews of Dominican University in California, a company that has clearly articulated, written goals is 50 percent more likely to achieve those goals.

If your plan to grow the company is only in your head, then you can be certain everyone else also has their version of how to grow in their head, as well.

It’s no wonder companies without a written strategic plan struggle with alignment and growth.

REPETITION, REPETITION

Finally, as the leader, you need to repeat yourself often in order to create the alignment and to get people back on the rails when they veer off.

When you get to the point where your leadership team is mocking you as you talk about the company’s vision, core values, core purpose, three-year key strategic moves, etc., then you know you’re on the right track.

One of your primary jobs as the leader is to create clarity and achieve the company’s vision through your people.

MEASURING RESULTS

Tying this together is a methodology to monitor progress.

What gets measured gets done. To win, you need to know the score and what the score needs to be.

The most effective way is with a consistent rhythm of meetings to review progress toward defined targets, make adjustments based on what is learned in execution, and maintain focus and team alignment.

ENSURE EVERYONE KNOWS

After these meetings, the leaders need to cascade the communication to its teams and direct reports.

Then everyone will be tied into the strategy and its successful execution.

And it’s not a once-and-done activity. It is an iterative process of think, plan, act, learn.

REACTING-ONLY WILL FAIL

Jim Collins, renowned consultant and author of numerous business books including “Good to Great,” says, “A company without a written vision and plan to achieve it has no chance of creating their future. They can only react to it.”

Given that most family business owners have 90 percent of their wealth tied up in their business, that is a lot to risk to fate.

It only makes sense to implement this into your business. Not only will it produce results today, such as growth, improved profitability and cash, it will drive business value for tomorrow.

 

Tom Garrity is managing partner of Compass Point Consulting LLC in Hanover Township, Northampton County. He is a certified coach with Gazelles International and a certified exit planning adviser with the Exit Planning Institute. Compass Point provides growth and business transition consulting to small- and medium-sized businesses. He can be reached at 610-336-0514 or tgarrity@compasspt.com.

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