Are Your Teams Working Against You?
How To Quickly Spot Organizational Misalignment
Is your organization in alignment? Are departments working in sync or are they working against each other?
When your car’s steering is out of alignment, it is easy to drift off-course. The same thing can happen in your business. You are trying to steer the company in one direction, when other forces (often internal forces), are steering you another way. Unfortunately, it is not always as easy to identify organizational alignment.
Here’s a quick and easy test to help find out if your company is out of sync. I often use this exercise in my strategic planning workshops. Here’s how it works:
- At your next management team meeting: ask participants to write down what they believe to be the top 5 items from their to-do lists on post-it notes.
- Then, across the top of your meeting room white board, write down the most important company goals and objectives for the year.
- Next, ask participants how many of their top 5 to do items actually will help the company achieve its objectives and stick their post-it notes up on the board under the matching objective.
Surprisingly, more often than not, several of the teams’ top 5 items aren’t in alignment with the company’s primary objectives. That means your top managers may be working very hard and very well at things that won’t help achieve your most important goals.
In some cases, this exercise has helped uncovered major misalignments. For instance, in an extreme case, a marketing team investing considerable time, talent and treasure in a trade show whose attendees did not match the target sales profile.
[Note: this is not meant to be used a micro management tool nor is it intended to single out or embarrass an individual -- it is just a simple gauge that indicates potential organizational misalignment.]
There’s much to gain from this simple approach. For instance:
- It is another opportunity to communicate your vision and remind your team of the company’s goals and objectives.
- This is also another tool for them to use with their teams to ensure that everyone across the organization is on the same page.
- It creates an opportunity for different department leaders to communicate and collaborate.
- If there is misalignment, this is a quick way to get you started on some course corrections.
Give it a try and let me know what you learn.