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94994429In Rapid Realignment, George Labovitz and Victor Rosansky chart the path to optimal organizational performance by integrating key processes, staff, customers, and strategies to serve the primary purpose of an enterprise—increasing stakeholder value. Alignment is the result of this integration, and organizations that achieve it succeed by focusing their people and resources on providing optimal customer satisfaction. In aligned organizations, employees at every level understand the business’s goals and strategies and know how their efforts advance them. Their clear understanding of customer needs enables the constant improvement of products and services that win and maintain customer loyalty. This adjustment, or rapid realignment, is a necessity in a global economy in which swiftly changing conditions and demands can pose serious challenges to an organization’s survival.

According to Labovitz and Rosansky:

  • To support an organization’s primary purpose, its staff, strategy, customers, and processes must be aligned. This alignment requires clear communication, complete understanding of its objectives, and the commitment of all involved in the process. When external forces or events cause misalignment and reduces effectiveness, rapid realignment is essential to ensure continued success.
  • The alignment framework is made up of four elements — strategy, people, processes, and customers. Strategies will change as requirements change, and when they do they must be rapidly deployed. Core processes that serve customers must continually undergo improvement.
  • Vertical alignment is achieved when employees can articulate the organization’s strategy and explain how their work supports it. This understanding is what boosts the deployment of new strategies.
  • Horizontal alignment is achieved when the communication barriers that separate employees from customers are removed. This means that employees understand customer needs and are committed to improving service.
  • Every organization must have a Main Thing — a meaningful description of what it wants to accomplish. It must be a common and unifying concept to which every unit can make a contribution.
  • Social media is an excellent means for fostering trust and bringing people together to advance both the Main Thing and management’s plans for achieving it. It facilitates employee communication with management and enables employees to ask questions that get answers.
  • To effectively change their cultures, organizations must determine the behaviors that will best implement their strategies and meet customer needs, as well as ensure that attitudes and values are aligned with their Main Things.
  • To effectively change behaviors, new strategies must be explained repeatedly. Employees must be able to comprehend how their participation will ensure the strategies’ success and how their contributions will be valued.

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Related book summaries in the BBS library: Wiki ManagementHBR Guide to Getting the Right Work DoneBusiness at the Speed of Now

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