Devil is in the details, and even the best strategy will turn to dust if organizational alignment, or the company’s ability to see the big picture and work towards aligned goals, is completely nonexistent. Business success is a team project, so every employee needs to be aware of the company’s core goals to execute their tasks properly and contribute to the company’s desired growth. If all team members don’t look in the same direction, the road to success will be longer than expected, and more difficult than necessary. How to effectively ensure organizational alignment within the company, especially among tech teams, which are often focused on their projects, rather than the company’s general vision? Let’s take a tour of the Organizationally Aligned Company, which is built on 5 strong pillars ensuring business prosperity regardless of the weather on the market.
1. The Product Roadmap
A product roadmap is your company’s guide to your product’s potential future and the direction in which it will go over time. It has to clearly illustrate your company’s vision, strategy, and guidelines for executing plans. By specifying goals designed to move the company towards a brighter future, it is possible to align the actions of team members and stakeholders, and consequently, avoid hours wasted on conflicting ideas. The Product Roadmap is simply the company’s guide on how to survive, thrive, and achieve or maintain a desired market position. It should encourage discussion and prepare your team for every possible scenario, improving communication with customers and stakeholders in the process. How to create your product roadmap? Decide why you are building the product, what it is set to accomplish, and what type of value it creates for its users. What is your product’s theme, or its most important strategic objectives? Define the desired outcome of each of them and map out which actions will bring you closer to the envisioned results. Just like with the roadmap, you will be able to easily track progress towards your goals, and coordinate activities across teams. The Product Roadmap provides full transparency and clarity on the company’s and product’s direction, setting a solid foundation for organizational alignment.
2. Successful Communication of Company Goals
Now that we’ve talked about The Product Roadmap, let’s explore the foundation of a successful organization: effective communication of company goals. Each department should be assigned its own goals, which contribute to the company’s general objectives, but every employee should be able to see the bigger picture and understand their role in the company. Such knowledge may drive performance, as people are often happy to see that their work matters. According to statistics, 60% of employers do not set clear goals for their new employees, which often leads to disengagement and dissatisfaction with work. It is extremely important to set clear expectations and goals for your employees, as it encourages better performance. Reportedly, engaged teams generate 21% more profits than teams, who lost their motivation to perform well. Teams without direction cannot quickly move towards the envisioned future.
3. Regular use of Objective Key Results (OKR)
OKR is an extremely popular management framework used by companies to achieve their strategic goals. It allows determining measurable results, which indicate whether the company is going in the right direction, and measure the progress that was made. Used by the world’s biggest companies, such as Google, Dropbox, and Twitter, OKR helps managers to set S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) goals, created on the base of specific key performance indicators. OKRs are executed in cycles, which typically last 3 months. If your company’s objective was to increase its profitability, your key results could be reaching a net profit margin greater than 6%. OKR is extremely important as it encourages focus, shifts team members’ attention towards the highest priorities (the most important objectives), supports organizational alignment, and builds a result-oriented work culture. Given that OKRs run in short cycles of 3, 4, or 6 months, they are easier to execute and increase employee motivation, as they are kind of ‘short-term missions’ to embark on.
4. Celebration of small and big victories
Employee recognition powers great performance. Numbers speak for themselves: 40% of employed Americans would put more effort into their work if they were recognized for it often enough. Celebrating a company’s small and big victories improves teams’ morale, which translates to better performance and higher profits. Sadly, the high number of managers forget to praise their employees, as only 51% of workers were satisfied with the recognition they received after they did well at work, and 82% of employed Americans felt underappreciated for their contribution to the company’s growth. Simple praise may go a long way as 90% of employees, whose efforts were recognized by their supervisors, reported high levels of trust in their boss. Trust can significantly impact job satisfaction, which matters for the company’s work culture and finances. Hiring a new employee is expensive and time-consuming, so employee retention is in the best interest of the majority of companies.
Luckily, employees are 5 times more likely to stay with the company if their contributions are acknowledged.
5. Strategic alignment
One of the keys to the company’s growth is strategic alignment, or simply put, the process of connecting strategic efforts of all company’s departments, teams, and individuals with the company’s strategic goals and long-term objectives. It makes it possible to cultivate accountability among team members, provide clarity, improve team communication, and eliminate conflicting priorities, which in turn significantly boosts productivity. Even the best strategy will fail even it is not properly executed by teams, which work towards the same objective: statistics say that 67% of well-formulated strategies failed due to poor execution. Align your goals and stars might align for you.
All things considered, organizational alignment is the important ingredient in the recipe for a successful, visionary business, which constantly moves closer towards its goals and turns visions into reality with S.M.A.R.T goals, engaged teams, and the use of right tools, such as Product Roadmaps. Work on your organizational alignment, and reaching quarterly goals will become easier than ever. There is no strength without unity: it is the mother of prosperity.