"A mere 7% of employees today fully understand their company's business strategies and what's expected of them in order to help achieve company goals." - Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, "The Strategy-Focused Organization," Harvard Business School Press
I am sure by the time this note gets published, we would have completed the organization wide goal setting and appraisal exercise. Through the humongous effort at all levels, we have been successful in achieving impeccable alignment of goals right across the organization both vertically as well as horizontally. For a highly engaged, performance-focused work culture, organization-centric goal management is the key, where all individual goals are aligned to the organizational goals. I congratulate all of us for taking this right first step to strongly challenge my opening quote, which stands falsified by us as an organization. I would not talk here about why an organization should be aligned as it is a no brainer. We all know it, have heard it many times over and even agree to it. However, I would definitely like to share some facts and my own perspective to show you the power of what you have just accomplished: -
1) Agility – In today’s fast changing world, one of the key success parameters for any organization is its agility, its capability to stay a step ahead of competition. High - performing organizations are better than peers in quickly and continuously turning their vision into viable strategies that in turn guide superior operational planning. Quoting a McKinsey report, “when people understand the direction that their company is taking, the company’s earnings margin is twice as likely to be above the median”, such is the financial impact of agility when the organizational goals are aligned.Continue reading...
2) Reduced cost of miscommunication – In case of organizations, which are better aligned, the chances of miscommunication are drastically reduced, thereby further making the organization agile and successful. As per a study by Cognisco, the cost of errors due to organizational miscommunication globally is approximately $ 37 billion per year. This is also popularly called as “the cost of misunderstanding”. This is a cost definitely worth avoiding and that is where again, goal alignment plays a key role.
3) 3+3 = 9 or maybe even 27 – Research shows that when the departments in a company are well aligned, multiplier effect kicks in. The net output then, is not a summation of strengths of individual departments, but can be a product and better still, a power function as a best case scenario. This takes the complementing to next level, which is “exponenting”. A simple case in point is perfect alignment of HR and IT acting as an enabler, ensuring that the appraisal process is a seamless experience for the employees.
4) Surviving the hard times – One of the obvious impacts of technology is highly integrated global financial markets. We have enough evidence on how one country’s economic turmoil can impact businesses everywhere. In tough times, only a highly aligned organization will survive. I will tell you why. In tough times, the number of programs/initiatives being driven will be less. Failing in execution of key strategies/programs further adds to the problems and can even be fatal for the organization. Hence, the more familiar an organization is to alignment, the readier it will be to sail through difficult times.
5) Forecasting the future – We often wonder what the future of education would be? What if I tell you that the goal alignment being done today has the capability to forecast and define the future. The reason is that the degree of alignment differentiates between a market leader and a follower. As a market leader, you define the trends and shape the future of the industry. In other words, forecast the future of not just the organization but also the industry.
So what next? At this point, I would like to quote Fred Smith, Chairman of Federal Express, who has repeatedly said, "Alignment is the essence of management."
Now that the goals are set and aligned, continuous review and sincere monitoring should be our way forward. The monthly review mechanism has also been designed to enable this. There might be some course correction needed midway but the basics remain the same. The goals for all of us would still be aligned.
With that I wish you happy and successful achievement of your goals and a great HR year ahead.