Align this (in your transition)

This blog, within my Transition Management series of blogs, will deal with the alignment of the 5 basic building blocks of an organization.

I’ve learned that for an organization to function properly, 6 elements are required and they must be in alignment.  If the elements are not in harmony, a resulting imbalance could occur, impeding, if not crippling the business.  You can not make quality music if one of the strings of your violin is out-of-tune.

Of the 6 elements, I will not cover Mission & Goals as these are defined by the business owner.  Instead, I will contain myself to the 5 elements you can influence.

Realigning the organization is much like a family vacation:

Mission and Goals First you select the vacation destination
Strategy Map your route
Structure Determine whether you’ll fly or drive
Systems and Processes What do you need to take along
Skills Decide who will drive

The 5 Elements

  1. Strategy is the primary approach the organization uses to reach its goals and to succeed with its mission.  Does the company a) have a strategy statement and b) does it support the company’s Missions and Goals?  My experience is that most people dismiss the strategy statement (if one even exists) and instead try to focus on “just get the job done”. But without a strategy statement, what do you link your job to?  Does your job matter?
  2. Structure is the logical business units, that is, who works where and how is work coordinated between the departments or units.  At this point in your transition, you should be documenting your own org chart (with your own notes) as the company’s official org chart may not resemble reality.
  3. Processes/Systems: Process are repeatable tasks used to deliver value to the business. Systems, be it a computer application or factory equipment, should support the processes.  What processes and systems add value to the organization and which do not?
  4. Skill sets are the human capabilities that exist in the various departments (build this into your org chart).  Do the human resources fit into the culture?
  5. Culture: The unwritten rules guiding the above elements.  Refer to my culture blog here for additional information.

If / when you identify misalignments, be sure not to fall into the trap of implementing quick fixes to resolve complex misalignments.  For example, adopting a corporate CRM where one does not exist, is a cultural change for the organisation – benefits are not fully realized if it is solely used by the Sales team.  Every client facing person needs to adopt the CRM into their daily work routines.  This cultural change will be the hardest to implement.  Review my previous blog on this topic.

Also, you cannot resolve misalignments with structures that look good in Powerpoint, but are too complex to implement, let alone follow.  Staff are simple creatures (if you’re one of my (ex)staff reading this, I wasn’t referring to you – you were/are the exception).  Be cognizant of your team’s ability to absorb strategic changes.  Keep it simple.  Make incremental changes where ever possible.

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