Three factors of organizational alignment that business owners should consider to realize their company’s full potential
If you are like most family and private business owners, you are working to realize a dream that you have for your organization. However, we often find that a variety of people and organizational challenges stand in the way of a company reaching its full potential. These issues can drain energy, drive frustrations and result in a loss of focus on a company’s ultimate goals.
While most business leaders can answer fundamental questions about their company’s ambitions (Picture of the Future), many can lack clarity in how to align their organization to them (Organizational Alignment).
Picture of the Future
Where are you heading and why?
What's your plan for getting there?
How will you measure progress and success?
What's the organization you need to achieve your goals?
What's the talent you need to accomplish your organization's goals?
What are the processes you need to accomplish your organization's goals?
For now, let’s assume you have clarity around what you want your company to achieve (Picture of the Future), and let’s take a deep dive into 3 Critical Factors of Alignment (CFAs) to help you realize this dream.
CFA #1 – Structure
Ask: “What’s the organization we need to achieve our goals?”
Structure is a system for establishing reporting relationships and areas of accountability that allow people to work together to achieve the company’s goals. The structure you need will be as unique to your company as your goals, values, and measures. Your overall strategy, environment, staff competencies, product requirements, and available resources will all dictate your needed structure.
What success looks like:
Once you’ve established your organization’s structure in line with your goals, you may find that:
- The organization’s structure enables, rather than hinders, people working together to achieve company goals
- People throughout the organization are clear about their role and how they can be successful
- People at all levels of the organization understand their scope of authority and decision-making rights
- Key processes for critical workflows have been mapped and implemented
CFA #2 - People
Ask: “What’s the talent we need to accomplish our organization’s goals?”
People are the engine that power your company’s success. Your people are also leading indicators of your company’s ability to perform at a high level. You need effective leadership and confidence that you’re matching the right people with the right missions. You need to invest in your organization’s culture, assess employee readiness accurately, and find ways to boost employee satisfaction and engagement.
What success looks like:
Once you’ve established an effective work culture, role clarity, leadership, and other people processes, you may expect to see:
- A leadership development strategy is in place to ensure the organization is developing the current and future leaders of the company
- Core values are defined and standards for organization behavior have been established and communicated
- The company culture aligns with the organization’s strategy and assists in driving the organization to execute on the company’s goals and objectives
- An effective process exists to assess the current workforce’s skills, competencies, and gap areas needing development in order to achieve current and future goals
- Criteria exists for determining if the requirements and rewards of a role match with a person’s knowledge, skills, abilities, and interests
- Drivers of employee engagement are understood, monitored, and managed
CFA #3 – Systems
Ask: “What are the processes we need to accomplish our organization’s goals?”
Instead of simply thinking about selecting people for your organization, going deeper and really thinking about how prospective employees will fit your culture and provide needed functional/technical skills is key. Once you have people on board, how are you managing their performance? How are you helping them develop? Do they know your company’s larger plan—and what their part is in it?
What success looks like:
Once you’ve established effective systems, you may see:
- Hiring and recruiting strategies are aligned with the needs and goals of the organization
- Your company invests in professional development initiatives for all levels of the organization
- Performance indicators are linked to a person’s role and align with department and company goals
- Established rewards and recognitions promote the right behaviors and positively impact employee engagement and retention
- Effective processes exist for decision making and sharing information across the organization
We know you (and your company) already have many of these ingredients to achieve goal-worthy results. You have the dreams. You have the ability to find great people. You have the raw talent and drive. You just need to put the pieces together. Then, you’ll unlock the productive flow that comes when every member of your organization is working together and ultimately reach your full potential.
About the Goering Center for Family & Private Business
Established in 1989, the Goering Center serves more than 400 member companies, making it North America’s largest university-based educational non-profit center for family and private businesses. The Center’s mission is to nurture and educate family and private businesses to drive a vibrant economy. Affiliation with the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati provides access to a vast resource of business programing and expertise. Goering Center members receive real-world insights that enlighten, strengthen and prolong family and private business success. For more information on the Center, participation and membership visit goering.uc.edu.