How can we keep our business strategy aligned?

One of the biggest challenges companies must confront, particularly the largest ones, is to keep the contribution of human capital connected to the organization’s global strategy. This alignment is crucial when talking about creating the best experience possible for consumers, since professional teams in a company sometimes tend to fall into a dynamic of focusing on the most immediate tasks rather than on long-term objectives, which may be detrimental to the accomplishment of the company’s goals.

It may happen that staff members are perfectly connected with the guidelines and procedures established by their organization’s management model, identifying short-term duties properly, but disregarding long-term objectives.

If this divergence between “urgent” and “important” –a phenomenon inherent to human beings, not exclusive to business environments- becomes chronic, its negative impact can be difficult to revert. Avoiding this is one of the biggest challenges in organizational leadership. On the other hand, there are studies that have proven that when individuals understand and are excited with the direction their company is heading towards, growth potential and profit margins are above average.

To create and maintain this strategic alignment, diverse actions can be taken. For instance, Shep Hyken, one of the most internationally renowned gurus in the field of customer service, suggests to hire adequate people through a system that not only considers the knowledge and skills of the applicants, but also allows to evaluate personality profiles in order to choose the most suitable one for the vacant position. There are currently several software tools that make HR managers’ work easier.

Another step suggested by Hyken is to incorporate a phrase or “mantra” into corporate culture that captures the essence of what the company is and wants to achieve. It must be carefully chosen so that its assimilation is effective and a bond between employee and customer is created.

Alignment demands starting as soon as possible the conversations required by a certain strategy, in which goals are set in a transparent, concise manner, avoiding an excess of technical jargon. Also, the role and responsibility of each member of the team must be clearly identified. By doing so, a greater inner acceptance of organizational goals and increased engagement on the part of employees is inspired.

In addition, constant update on information regarding procedures and guidelines oriented to the strategy is required, as well as accountability. The version of the documents used must be the same for everybody, thus avoiding distorted messages due to third-party interference.

It is also advisable to use adequate metrics so that the team’s behaviour and results can be compared to the ones set initially and, if necessary, corrective measures can be taken.

Finally, it mustn’t be forgotten that the role of HR department during the process of keeping the business strategy aligned is one of crucial importance. Its members must not allow daily urgencies to hinder management based on a strategic business vision, one which takes into account major goals of the company and market environment, to be accomplished.

Sources: Shep Hyken, The Lean Management Enterprise y Sandler Training