Strategic Alignment: The Ultimate Guide
90% of executives fail to meet their goals.
That’s the startling conclusion of research from the Economist Intelligence Unit. Strategic alignment is how you make sure that you are in the 10% who are succeeding.
Let’s be clear. Having a strategy is not enough. In fact, research suggests that having a strategy has no real effect on the performance of your business. It’s aligning your activities to your strategies that makes the difference. So, if you’re admiring the new infographic from your consultant, and about to tick-off strategy from your list then sorry – you’re just starting the process, not ending it. It’s now time to operationalise it, and that means strategic alignment.
We’re going to dig deep into strategic alignment, but feel free to jump to any section that interests you:
Understanding Strategic Alignment
- What is Strategic Alignment
- The Importance of Strategic Alignment
- The Benefits of Strategic Alignment of Projects
- Infograph: 3 Reasons to Align Projects with Strategy
What is Strategic Alignment
In the modern business landscape, companies are constantly challenged with evolving customer demands, technological advancements, and competitive pressures. To thrive in such a dynamic environment, it's imperative for organizations to ensure that their goals, initiatives, resources, and operations are in sync with their overarching strategy. This synchronization, known as 'Strategic Alignment,' is critical for enhancing organizational performance and achieving long-term success.
Strategic alignment entails aligning the daily activities, projects, and objectives of an organization with its mission, vision, and strategy. It bridges the gap between strategy formulation and execution by ensuring that all elements of the organization are working towards a common set of objectives. In this article, we will delve into what strategic alignment really is, and explore how it can be integrated into the planning process to build a high-impact strategy.
Cultural Alignment for Sustained Success
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
Put bluntly, none of this matters if the attitude of the people is at odds with the strategy. You cannot have an innovation strategy and a fear-of-failure culture, just as you cannot have strategy geared to customer service if you treat you front-line like a cost center. In this context strategic alignment means recognizing the reality of how people feel is as important as any process.
If you think this is just fluffy nice-to-have window dressing, why not take a look at Microsoft’s share price, then watch Satya Nadella talk about purpose culture and growth mindset. Also have a look at Carol Dweck’s book on Mindset. The key is that strategic alignment is built on leadership and culture.
As we explore this topic, we'll treat strategic alignment as a verb; a doing word with recommended steps to execute. If you ‘achieve’ strategic alignment, it can become a noun – a thing that gives your organization an edge, and it is this cultural dimension that makes it virtually impossible to copy.
Just consider Toyota. Their manufacturing processes have been admired by business schools for decades (I recall studying them ‘back in the day’) but their market cap remains market leading. The reason? The depth of the strategic alignment inherent in their unwavering commitment to continuous improvement (Organizational Identity, Corporate Strategy, and Habits of Attention: A Case Study of Toyota).
This alignment not only reinforces their operational efficiency but also gives them a strategic advantage, as it is deeply ingrained in their culture. You can copy the benchmarking, the focus on efficiency, the relentless improvements of ‘Kaizen’, the Just In Time supply chain…. but not the strategic alignment that holds it all together.
The Importance of Strategic Alignment
There has, over the last few decades, been a lot of academic research into the effects of strategic alignment on organizational performance. There are some really powerful conclusions:
- One study found that the level of strategic alignment of an organization explains up to 80% of the difference in performance between organizations. This is a quite startling result.
- Another study found that 51% of the difference in organizations’ performance can be explained by strategic alignment and another 38% can be explained by the level of consensus / buy-in. So alignment is important, but so is buy-in and support - together they explained around 90% of the variation in operational results of organizations.
- A third study shows that 18% of the difference between the overall performance of organizations is explained by the level of strategic alignment between their business goals and the activities undertaken by the IT department. So, aligning your IT investments to support your strategy really is important.
We could go on - there are many studies into the impact of strategic alignment - but the message is clear. Strategic alignment matters because it is very strongly linked to improved business results.
If you’re reading this in the Business Transformation Office, then you have the opportunity to drive strategic alignment as an end-to-end exercise. But there is huge opportunity elsewhere. In the PMO you can prioritize far better if you apply a lens of strategic alignment. If you manage an IT portfolio or Analytics backlog, then aligning your work to strategy is the key to stakeholder engagement.
How can this much value be tied to strategic alignment? The reason is that the benefits are multi-dimensional. Let’s learn more next.
Podcast: Strategic Alignment Matters
Strategic alignment can boost your project’s success rate. In this podcast, we guide you through understanding strategic alignment, choosing the right projects, gaining stakeholder commitment, and optimizing resource allocation. Don’t miss the opportunity to elevate your project management skills.
Webinar: Why Strategic Alignment Matters to Your Organization, Your Portfolio and Your Career
For a more comprehensive understanding of strategic alignment, you might be interested in our webinar recorded for the PMO Trends Online Conference. This webinar provides an in-depth look at how Strategic Alignment can profoundly impact your organization, your team, and your career:
The Benefits of Strategic Alignment of Projects
This might sound like a lot effort… but it’s tiny compared to the benefits to be gained.
- Project success rates: In this post we look at the impact of strategic alignment on project success rates and the data on this is clear. Projects that are aligned to strategy are 57% more likely to deliver their business benefit. They are also 50% more likely to finish on time and 45% more likely to stay within budget. We found these stats so compelling we went ahead and made you an infographic below. You're welcome.
- Focus on value creation: Projects that are aligned with strategy deliver clear and quantifiable benefits to your organization. Those that are not aligned to strategy may deliver some financial benefit (they’d better!) but they don’t really help you achieve real value growth in the business. By killing off low-value projects and focusing resources on high-value ones, you will, naturally enough, deliver more value.
- Stronger executive sponsorship: The lack of executive sponsorship is a regular complaint when it comes to delivering projects. But let me ask you this... why do your execs not engage with a project? The answer’s simple; they don’t engage because the project simply isn’t important enough. It’s not strategically aligned. Align your projects to the strategic goals of your execs and they are likely to be far more engaged.
- Eliminate waste: We’ve all seen them - projects that just shouldn’t be there. Pet projects get jammed through, or projects that exist because they were important at some point in the past. Well, aligning projects to strategy means those projects go away… and according to the PMI, a typical portfolio has a whopping 20% of projects that are so badly aligned that they should be stopped. Imagine what you could do if you eliminate that 20% of waste (see this video for the answer...!)
- Secure the PMO: According to ESI, 72% of PMOs are being called into question by their executives. Why? Because they are not seen to add value…. But if you see the benefits listed in points 1 - 4, you will be seen to be adding heaps of value. Don’t just survive, THRIVE!
- Clearer resource allocation decisions: Now we’re getting a little more tactical. One benefit of picking projects that are aligned with strategy is that you have to quantify which projects add more (or less) value. This resolves one of the PMO (and resource “owner”) biggest problems; how to allocate resources. With clarity over which projects are most important, those resourcing decisions become a lot easier and a lot less political. No more “Loudest voice wins!”
- Stronger benefits realization: How can you realize benefits that you don’t understand? Going through the process of aligning your projects with strategy means that you have to be clear about what you’re trying to achieve and that, naturally, helps you achieve it. As that great sage, Yogi Berra, said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else!”
- Project team motivation: And if you know where you’re going, you can use this in your kick-off planning to work out what you need to do to deliver the results. Instead of being focused on delivering a rather dry list of features, brief your team on what you’re trying to achieve, work backwards from there to “what needs to get done” and to “what key milestones and decisions are needed” and watch your project team really soar!
Infograph: 3 Reasons to Align Projects with Strategy
How to Achieve Strategic Alignment
- Strategic Alignment: The DNA of a Successful Planning Process
- Strategic Alignment Healthcheck: Knowing Your Start Point
- Operational Blueprint: How to Get a Brilliant Strategic Alignment Plan
- Embarking on the Journey: Next Steps for Successful Strategic Alignment
Convinced your organization could benefit from strategic alignment, but not sure where to start? There’s A LOT of material out there, but let’s start with the basics.
Strategic Alignment: The DNA of a Successful Planning Process
Strategic Alignment starts as a verb – a doing word. It’s not a distinct step in a process, but rather a way of working that flows throughout an effective strategic planning process.
Vision & Mission: Defining the direction of an organization is a leadership task, not a devolved activity. There needs to be a shared sense of purpose that bonds people together, not a series of disconnected perspectives from different teams.
However, listening is critical. Find the stories and relatable human perspective that can help shape the identity of the organization. Don’t brainstorm a strategy in isolation.
Strategic Analysis: Data gathering is another exercise in active listening. Ask your analysts what they see, don’t just dictate the data you want them to show you. Likewise, the voice of the customer. The biggest pitfall here is an aversion to anything negative. If you find yourself censoring and manipulating ‘the story’ to look better than it is, your strategy will not be aligned, as it won’t reflect the reality in which it has to be executed. It simply serves to re-enforce the gap between leadership and the front-line.
Been there, seen it, fudged it.
Goal Setting: For a strategy to work it must be actionable. That means broad ambitious missions need to be structured into clear measurable strategic goals. There needs to be clarity over the way these goals cascade through the organization, both in terms of divisional accountability and portfolio structure for cross-team projects.
It's critical this alignment happens with a clear-minded approach that recognizes a couple of massive elephant traps. Status Quo bias looks for evidence that change should be minimized (it can also mean a fondness for double-denim, but that’s for another blog), while personal ambition is often prevalent in how individuals play the game when it comes to growing their influence within an organization.
This is also the start point for prioritization. An exhaustive list of goals that bears no relation to your resource constraints is setting your strategy up to fail. Identify must-haves vs. nice to haves and then be prepared to challenge individuals who may find this realignment deeply uncomfortable.
Strategy Formulation: Every strategy needs projects. These can be ‘business as usual’ initiatives to deliver improvements within a division, or big hairy goals that aim to drive transformation. Most successfully aligned strategies contain both.
Alignment in this context means linking ideation to goals. In other words, having said what matters most, go find the solutions that deliver against these objectives. But in doing so bear in mind that projects are 4x more likely to succeed if they are initiated by mid-level management.
Wow that’s a huge difference, but is it really a surprise that the people who know their stuff are most likely to delivery? Alignment means making sure they deliver what is most needed.
Action Planning: Effective strategy means making choices. This can include ‘positive’ decisions like where to invest more and picking innovations to pursue, or ‘negative’ decisions like which divisions to divest or where to stop projects that are not working. No organization can do everything brilliantly all at once, but a strategically aligned one will make its bets on the most aligned opportunities. It is these companies who win in the long term, increasing value by +40% according to this study from McKinsey.
So, again prioritization is critical. An aligned action plan means recognizing the limits of what can be achieved and shaping the backlog around the most critical deliverables. Resources are finite, so focus is key to identifying the results which will give the strategy most momentum.
At this stage, the strategy should be morphing into accountability. Decide how the work fits into the organization. How are budgets allocated? Do you need to stand up cross-team projects? What are the objectives your divisional leads need to reward aligned behavior? For a large organization this is a far from trivial process.
Strategic Execution: There are two important ways in which alignment must flow through execution.
The first is to get the delivery teams on board. If you treat them purely as ‘resource’ you will not get the best from them. Through engaging them in the ideation and evaluation of alternatives you increase the probability of buy-in, and with that you get the productivity boost associated with motivation.
The second is to consider the major ‘one-way’ decisions within your priority projects. These are the big bets you can’t get to through iterative experimentation. Think picking an airport location or selecting a vendor for a critical contract. Alignment in this context means asking the question – which choice will better support the strategy, rather than having procurement focusing purely on which one can we get cheaper?
Evaluation and Review: A well-built strategy includes a definition of value for all key activities, so its logical that the same measurement is used to judge project success. But it frequently does not.
First consider project delivery tracking. Funds are committed in expectation of getting value, yet all-too-often projects are measured based on on-time / on-budget tracking. Then consider executive remuneration. How many bonus schemes focus on value, versus ‘hard’ short-term financial KPIs?
The common theme here is that value is far harder to measure, so organizations just… don’t, and in doing so lose a critical lever of strategic alignment. There is a solution, Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), which we’ll talk about below.
Strategic Alignment HealthCheck: Knowing Your Start Point
“If I wanted to get there, I wouldn’t start from here.”
This is a punchline to a very old joke but seems as true today as ever. For all the wonderful models about alignment, the biggest challenge is to reconcile the neat theory to the messy reality that is your organization.
Firstly, it’s worth recognizing that no two organizations are the same, so anyone selling a miracle solution is probably being a little over-optimistic.
Secondly, let’s keep this simple, and focus on three questions:
What strategy (are we aligning to). It sounds blindingly obvious, but you’d be surprised how many teams are operating on their own slightly wrong understanding of the strategy. Or maybe an IT team are trying to use the corporate strategy and ignoring the divisional plans elsewhere. And of course, there are folks how have no explicit strategy so they kind of make one up based on stuff execs seem to care about.
The point is simple – have an unambiguous strategy documented as your north star, and make sure someone senior signs it off. Aligning to a moving target is like playing pin the tail on the donkey with the blindfold on (you, not the donkey...)
- Find the burning platform. We’ve said this a few times now; don’t try and do everything right away. Pick the project, portfolio or division where strategic alignment is most needed. Apply focus to create momentum, to build engagement. Fitting it all together can follow.
- Align with or challenge the process? A key choice in terms of execution will be to fit into a process or to attempt a full ‘rip and replace’. Clearly the former is easier if the process is flexible enough to change. What you don’t want to do is fudge this by adding in a new process and keeping the old one, as nothing annoys people more than task duplication (apart from roadworks obviously).
Operational Blueprint: How to Get a Brilliant Strategic Alignment Plan
This rather depends on where you sit within an organization, but there are some key themes which you should reflect upon whether you’re the CEO, the PMO or a Divisional Leader. We could come up with loads of these, but here are our top tips:
- Get a plan: Strategic alignment could be applied to so much that there is a risk that you create ‘opportunity paralysis’ where your program of change simply becomes too complex to get started. Pick a win, land it. Repeat. Momentum is key.
- Champion sponsor involvement: Having an effective sponsor is a key indicator for project success. When building the investment case, it means having a senior stakeholder who’ll be accountable for the benefits, and the alignment it is projected to deliver. During delivery they also need to track that value remains on plan so there are no nasty surprises later.
- Treat resources strategically: Alignment means putting your money where your mouth is. Or rather putting your resources where your priorities are. Talking a big game then leaving finance to allocate an extra 2% budget to everyone will not deliver alignment. Embracing agile budgeting practices can provide the flexibility to reallocate funds and ensure that financial resources are aligned with strategic initiatives in a dynamic and responsive manner.
- Allow time: Alignment takes effort; to structure the strategy, systematically work through prioritization, to involve people…. This is why leadership commitment is critical. After all picking projects based on seniority or just saying yes to everything is much faster (although wastes a lot more time). If you do need to go fast read our 8 week deployment guide here.
- Invest in doing it right: Unless your organization is small, this process is going to be complex. So, you’ll need more than a spreadsheet and a can-do attitude. This support can be consultancy, tooling… or both, but don’t expect (effective) transformation to happen for ‘free’. Excel is the wrong tool for this job.
- Build a growth mindset: Getting everyone to focus on delivering ‘the strategy’ ultimately means changing how we do things round here. People have to be responsive to change and willing to collaborate. Being ready to accept that failure is also important; if your project no longer aligns to strategy then stop it.
- Align more than resources: We talk a lot about strategic planning, and processes, but at its best strategic alignment should permeate into all decisions, not just resource allocation. Deciding on HR policy? Which option aligns best to strategy. Designing a new product? Which option aligns best to strategy… we could go on (but won’t).
There are many possibilities, but the key is to prioritize. You can’t align everything straight away, but every day spent being too busy to resolve this is time your competition may be using to progress their alignment.
Embarking on the Journey: Next steps for Successful Strategic Alignment
Delivering strategic alignment is not like putting in a new accounting system, with nicely curated magic quadrant of tools waiting for your cash, and a clear set of deployment tasks. It’s much more like a journey up a (large) mountain which can be approached from a number of different directions. Here are the ones we like best:
- Strategic planning challenge: Get in the consultancies to help you re-build your strategy. We partner with IBM in this space, but your CEO will doubtlessly have a trusted advisor of their own.
- Governance challenge: Strategic alignment can be approached via a governance lens, with a series of tools available to address the component parts of the challenge. Our partners at Deepteam offer excellent support in this process, and you can watch our webinar with them here.
- PMO best practice challenge: Perhaps you’re a superhero PMO ready to take on this challenge yourself? For this route we highly recommend Laura Barnard’s coaching support to equip you for success.
- Decision Science challenge: At TransparentChoice we’ve built a branch of decision science called AHP into software to enable our clients to solve strategic alignment. We’ll talk more about this next.
How to deliver Strategic Alignment
- Overview of AHP-led Strategic Alignment
- Engage the leadership team
- Define the Strategic Goals
- Weight the Strategic Goals
- Measure Strategic Alignment
- Prioritize for Effective Execution
Overview of AHP-led Strategic Alignment
Let's start with the basics: there are five steps to delivering strategic alignment with AHP:
- Engage the Leadership Team to be clear about what it is you're aligning to
- Define Strategic Goals which connect your prioritization process to your strategy
- Weight Strategic Goals with a Pairwise review, and do this as a team sport for the C-Suite
- Measure the Strategic Alignment, of potential projects using subject matter experts
- Prioritize for Effective Execution, so strategy is now directing resources
We've prepared this short video to introduce how it all works, and we'll then dive into the detail below.
Engaging the Leadership Team
Firstly we need to make sure the leadership team is on board with using the Analytic Hierarchy Process. This isn't something that a crazy British vendor just make it up – it’s been developed over 50 years of academic and real-world use. Check out this research into decision making (specifically into multi-criteria decision making which is what we’re dealing with here) to learn more.
It's key that that they commit, as you'll need their time, influence and budget to make this happen.
Defining Strategic Goals
Defining strategic goals involves pinpointing the broad, measurable objectives of your organization, and distinguishing them from specific projects or outdated KPIs. Analyze your strategy plan or major ongoing projects to identify overarching goals that are linked to tangible actions.
For instance, a high-level goal like 'Reduce Environmental Impact' can be broken down into measurable sub-goals like 'reducing energy consumption' or 'switching to renewable power sources'. It's essential to communicate with key stakeholders to ensure that the drafted goals resonate with them and to attain collective agreement.
Weighting Strategic Goals
After identifying strategic goals, it's necessary to establish their relative importance by assigning weights. Since not all goals have equal significance and stakeholders might have varied perspectives, it’s critical to achieve alignment.
This can be done through a pairwise review process, wherein stakeholders assess the relative importance of two goals at a time. This approach is effective because humans excel at making relative judgments and it facilitates more specific discussions, leveraging the collective expertise. This structured approach to defining and weighting goals will provide a robust foundation for organizational alignment.
Measuring Strategic Alignment
The first thing we need to do is figure out what we are going to measure. Thinking back to our Strategic Planning process this means Strategy Formulation. Coming up with things to do. These can be programs, initiatives, projects or even business as usual activities. We’ll call them alternatives for now.
The point is that you have a list with each alternative (roughly) costed, and that you’re prepared to drop any of them if they’re not aligned to strategy.
Measuring strategic alignment is not simply a check box task. Asking a simple yes/no question, “Does X align with strategy?” is one of the most common mistakes people make when trying to achieve strategic alignment. Why? Well, because everyone will say “yes”.
Really what we’re interested in is the contribution X makes to your various strategic goals. Only then will you be able to work out which alternatives are best aligned to those strategic goals.
Another common mistake people make when measuring strategic alignment is to assume that the executive team should do the measurement. For example, when selecting projects for the coming year, many organizations will wheel those projects out in front of the senior management and let the leadership team make their own determination of strategic alignment.
The VP of sales can make a good determination of how a particular project will affect customer care? Your CFO is a good judge of how much more revenue will be generated from a particular initiative? Of course not!
So how do we, in practice, measure alignment?
The answer is to leverage a solid weighted scoring system based on AHP. We’re already weighted the criteria with pairwise. Now we need to score our alternatives.
In this step, you create scales for each of your strategic goals. These scales should measure the contribution to the goal you’re interested in. For example, if entering the European market is one of your strategic goals, your scale might look like this:
What difference will this project make to our ability to enter the European market?
- 0 - No impact on European market entry
- 1 - Small impact of European market entry
- 2 - Moderate positive impact that would make a small, but definite difference
- 3 - A real difference to either the speed, size or risk of market entry
- 4 - A significant difference to either the speed, size or risk of market entry
- 5 - A game changer or “must have” for market entry in Europe
Now, it’s really hard to write a good scale “in theory” so this scale probably has flaws, but you get the idea - you’re looking to capture what the impact is on the business goal.
So now we have a beautiful scale that perfectly captures the contribution to our goals… but who should answer the question?
This depends on what you’re evaluating. Generally, the answer should be “people who are experts and who do not have a preference for one outcome or another”.
Think about project selection. If the person requesting the project is asked to score their idea against different goals, they will try to “game” the system by scoring everything higher than it should be. [A quick aside: making our scale about “contribution to a goal” has made it much harder to game the system than simply asking, “Does it contribute..” so we’re already ahead of where we were!]
This is why it’s a good idea to have an “independent expert” do the scoring where possible. If that’s not possible, you can always have an expert sign-off answers. This helps you collect more consistent and unbiased data.
Irrespective of how you chose to score projects, you will get better results if you make this a team sport. As human beings we are often… wrong. Be it down to blind spots, bias or being a bit low energy today, our judgements are prone to a phenomenon called Noise, which we explain in more detail in this blog: Noise in Decision-Making
The solution is to have 3+ people share their point of view, a simple step which reduces noise by 50%. Magic. And as a bonus it helps build alignment because you can have more people involved in the process. You can learn more from our Collaborative Decision-Making Guide.
Prioritize for Effective Execution
Now you’ve scored your alternatives, simply multiply the score and the weight for each goal to calculate a score for each alternative. The result is a 0-100 score for each alternative allowing you to see which ones are most aligned to strategy.
So, we’ve quantified strategic alignment, which means we’re ready for action planning, where we’ll introduce the constraints which will mean we only pick the most aligned alternatives. But the difference is that now we know we have the right choices, so instead of trying to cram in as many items as possible, we can confidently follow a less is more approach, and focus energy on getting our most important priorities completed before moving onto the next best project.
And there’s another score for strategic alignment vs. culture too. Because we took time to align the executive team, we’ll increase buy-in to the plan from their level, which is a huge win. But more than that, we’ve also given multiple subject matter experts the chance to score projects, so we’re building alignment throughout the organization. A spreadsheet completed from an Ivory Tower will not drive anything like this level of alignment.
Getting Started: First Steps for Strategic Alignment
- When Should I Start Strategic Alignment?
- Don’t Re-invent the Wheel
- Top Tips for the Journey
- Product Demo
When Should I Start Strategic Alignment?
Throughout this guide we’ve focused on driving strategic alignment in the context of a strategic planning process. But what if you have an existing portfolio and a strategy your CEO isn’t about to change anytime soon?
Do you wait? No, of course not. Given what’s at stake, the right time to drive strategic alignment is… now, and you can use it on your existing portfolio as well as new projects,
Consider this Strategic Fit Matrix – would you expect to find any zombies creeping around in your portfolio? It could be they started as legitimate priorities, but the benefits case has slipped over time to the point where it's simply not worth doing.
Or perhaps you're working on too many projects, so your heavy lifting deliverables are taking an age to get out of the door. Can you pause some minor victories to land a bigger win?
Either way the message is the same; take control of the value your portfolio is delivering through quantifying projects' strategic worth. Also don't forget that WHEN things get done matters. A regular pipeline of high-impact projects will give the PMO momentum as the business feels the dopamine hit of seeing progress. The CEO is not going to celebrate the fact that 20 projects advanced by 10% nearly as much as if 3 Quick Win projects go live.
Put another way don't be the busy fool; focus on what stakeholders really want.
There’s another huge win doing this on a live portfolio. By creating a database of scored projects you’re also starting to learn. Calling out wasteful projects is uncomfortable, but by doing so you’re far less likely to commit to more,
If you’re skeptical about this opportunity check out one of our favourite Ted Talks, where Mathew Sayed introduces the concept of Black Box Thinking. The airline industry documents its near misses and has created a discipline about learning. They now have only 1 crash for every in 8.3m take-offs. How much could learning from your not-so-high-value projects drive gains in your performance?
(clue – we think a lot)
Don’t Re-invent the Wheel
We’ve been supporting clients in their commitment to drive strategic alignment for a number of years now, so we know this works.
One major Canadian mutual’s CEO told us, “We’re having conversations we should have had years ago”. As they used the software to identify their strategic priorities, and found the first big win was to align the leadership group, getting people to have a productive debate about the relative weight of competing goals.
Another client, a large US Wholesaler, talked about shifting how IT projects got assigned so now “The PMO is working for the business with the business”. By addressing the ‘squeaky wheel’ they were able to remove a key barrier to strategic alignment.
We’re also happy to have supported a US Trade Planning Association drive alignment in shaping their strategic execution. They were able to have their executive team develop the criteria, then empower the executive team to score projects. The results? “We have changed the way our board is thinking about prioritization… identifying pet projects to save time and money.”
Top Tips for the Journey
Every Brit knows that a successful journey starts with a thermos of tea, and a decent supply of biscuits (that's cookies, if you're reading this anywhere else in the world). We definitely recommend both for your strategic alignment journey, but would add another couple of suggestions on top:
Define scope: Strategy can be a large corporate ambition, or a ring-fenced divisional plan. It doesn’t matter, the key is to be clear about what you’re doing and then do it. Likewise decide what and who you are aligning. Projects? Business As Usual? Everything?
- Get your toolkit: Don’t assume that you’ll be able to do everything in Excel. We've built a solution to make AHP work for modern organizations, like yours. See our Demo below, and decide if we can help.
- Build a plan: Landing prioritization is basically a project. It needs a timeline, resources, business case and a sponsor. Especially the sponsor.
- Get you Brave Pants ready: Strategic alignment is a big gnarly change management process. They’ll be resistance and hard work before the high fives start flowing, so be ready to show resilience to make it all happen.
Product Demo: See how to use TransparentChoice to drive alignment
In the webinar, a few key points were discussed regarding strategic alignment:
- Strategic Alignment is Essential: It's a critical aspect for organizational success, and not just about mission statements. It involves aligning various goals to move the organization towards its desired state.
- A Real-World Example: RNLI’s case study was discussed to demonstrate how software can be employed for achieving strategic alignment effectively by creating a strong framework for prioritization.
- Continuous Process: Strategic alignment should be viewed as an ongoing process, rather than a one-time event.
- Value Generation: Proper strategic alignment can generate substantial value over time, and is a cumulative investment for organizations.
- Effective Resource Allocation: Ensuring projects are aligned with strategic goals is essential for allocating resources effectively and maximizing performance.
In the webinar, there is also a demonstration of TransparentChoice software. This demo showcases how the software can be utilized to facilitate and streamline strategic alignment within an organization. TransparentChoice offers tools that aid in prioritizing projects, consulting with experts, and maintaining alignment with organizational goals.
This demonstration provides practical insights into how TransparentChoice can be a valuable asset in achieving strategic alignment effectively.
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