Get your Ducks in a Row – Organizational Alignment – Quack it up!
Get your ducks in a row! Get your stuff together! Shape up! Get organized! These phrases might be ringing in your ears from your parents, your boss, or significant other. But when you think about it, or maybe you don’t have to, these phrases are vague. First, you probably don’t even own any ducks. What stuff and what is stuff anyway? Shape up what? Organize what and where do I begin? In business we use the word alignment. A consultant may come in and say, “Mr. or Ms. CEO, you need to get this organization in alignment.” Again, we’re listening to vague direction. What is alignment, why do we need it, and how do you do it?
Drill Teams Don’t Waddle
Drill teams are all about precision. They are also about alignment, yes, they are in line, but they are in alignment about their purpose, their purpose of being precise, of performing and bringing celebration to their branch of service, sport team, or perhaps cheerleading squad. Concentration and focus on the performance at hand must be every member’s mindset for the timing, look, intent of the performance, or what they might be promoting. Do you want your team in lockstep?
The creatives and innovators among the readers are probably pulling their hair out by its orange and blue roots by now. Regardless of the “wild, foot loose, or innovative” nature of your culture, your organization still has, or should, have a common vision. Everyone needs to be in touch with that, here’s why and how its accomplished.
The Importance of Alignment or Having Your Ducks in a Row
When organizations fail to have alignment, silo thinking, low or no collaboration, and chaos can occur. When this happens, productivity and customer service suffer. In addition, teams, individuals, and even organizational “social” clicks can work on elements of projects that fail to support the customer, allow for open and direct communication, drive productivity, and by-pass collaboration. None of this creates success, profitability, or happy employees.
Your Why- Never Duck Out on Doing This
Every person from your executive team to your lowest paying position, to each new employee must be aware of the purpose of your organization, what it does, why you are in business, who you serve, and why. Even supplying vendors and any functions you outsource with this information, can make a positive difference in their service to you and your relationship with them. A good place to lay the foundation for this is to ask: “If my organization goes out of business tomorrow, what will it matter, will anyone care?”
Alignment Strategy – Not the Old Duck, Duck, Goose Strategy
There are many strategies that help with alignment and some executives believe that doing these strategies bring alignment. For example, having a well-defined organizational chart, holding strategic planning sessions annually, conducting brainstorming sessions, or implementing town hall sessions. These are indeed all good strategies.
However, one element can add the glue of alignment and that is during each one of the above strategies to include examining how each department is or is not in alignment with the organization’s vision, mission, and purpose. This allows every department to understand the value it and the people and teams in each department bring to the organization. Further, this helps prevent territorial non-aligning mindsets some managers develop.
The Final Quack
These seemingly simply, yet highly effective moves for improving alignment can improve employee engagement and talent management, enhance the customer experience, reduce waste, increase communication while reducing conflict and confusion, and allows for a more dynamic culture, and yes, even a more innovative one.
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