A Complete Guide to Strategic Alignment (Plus Why It Matters)

Updated June 24, 2022

Aligning goals is an important part of a successful business. Strategic alignment is a useful tool for managers, supervisors and business development professionals to implement into their current practices and methods. Understanding the elements of strategic alignment can help you increase collaboration, optimize resources and make informed decisions in the workplace. In this article, we define strategic alignment, discuss its importance and offer a list of steps to help you achieve strategic alignment.

Related: What Is Business Alignment?

What is strategic alignment?

Strategic alignment is the process of planning and implementing practices to ensure an organization's strategies support its general objectives. A strategically aligned business comprises operations, methods and prescribed practices that work in unison to achieve long-term company goals. In a strategically aligned organization, all departments, projects, decisions and functions contribute to the fulfillment of the organization's mission, vision and objectives.

Related: How To Write a Strategic Plan: A Guide To Strategic Planning

Why is strategic alignment important for a business?

Strategic alignment is important for the success of businesses because it allows organizations to:

Achieve organizational unity

Strategic alignment can help improve collaboration within an organization. When all members of an organization work collaboratively toward a common goal, efficiency, productivity and consistency may improve. Organizational unity can also help employees feel more connected, increasing their work satisfaction.

Effectively use resources

Organizations that focus on strategic alignment may be able to more effectively use their resources. For example, employees may be more likely to optimize their resources if they understand the practices and priorities that contribute to the fulfillment of company goals. They may also use their time more efficiently in a strategically aligned organization because they can make informed decisions about which tasks best serve company goals and focus their efforts accordingly.

Related: Ultimate Guide To Strategic Planning

Generate accurate reports

Accurate reporting is an important part of measuring success. In a strategically aligned organization, members often give regular status updates and progress reports on their contributions toward company goals. These reports often include the current methods of achieving goals and the success of individual efforts. This valuable data can help businesses make educated decisions about their practices and make changes as necessary. It can also help managers and supervisors assist employees who need direction or guidance earlier in their processes, avoiding larger issues in the future.

Improve planning

Strategic alignment can help organizations make more informed choices when planning methods and projects. Understanding company goals can be useful when creating organization-wide plans because it allows decision-makers to focus on steps, practices and short-term deliverables that contribute to long-term success and fulfillment of organizational goals.

Make adjustments

Strategic alignment often allows for flexibility and adjustments to practices. Adaptability is an important aspect of successful businesses because it allows them to respond to changes in the market and among their target audience without compromising productivity or efficiency. The constant measuring of success and accurate reporting of strategically aligned organizations can improve their agility when responding to changes and updating practices.

Related: Leveraging Strategic Decision-Making To Reach Your Company's Goals

How to achieve strategic alignment

Consider the following steps to achieve strategic alignment in your workplace:

1. Understand your goals

Before creating a plan for strategic alignment, it's important to understand the long-term goals and objectives of your organization. To do this, consider gathering all documentation about the company's vision, mission, current strategy and goals. Once you fully understand the data from these documents, consider meeting with company leaders to discuss the accuracy of the information. These meetings can also help you make updates to company goals and discuss company priorities with important decision-makers and stakeholders.

2. Organize and circulate objectives

Once you fully understand updated company goals, it may be helpful to organize these objectives into a single document. That way, you can easily circulate long-term objectives and missions throughout each department of your organization. Clearly describe company goals and be specific as possible to ensure all employees can understand. You may publish the updated document in an accessible place for employees to review or send it to each member of staff via email. It may also be beneficial to schedule a meeting to discuss the goals and ensure that everyone understands the content of the document.

3. Encourage employee participation

It's important to encourage employee participation when planning strategic alignment. After ensuring that all employees understand company goals, it may be helpful to ask for their feedback and ideas. Employees may provide ideas and innovative techniques for achieving organization goals and could contribute to developing methods and practices that best align with company missions. Consider using the combination of employee feedback and clearly defined company goals to create the foundation of prescribed practices and protocols of strategic alignment.

4. Define roles

Using employee feedback and company objectives, you may assign roles and specific tasks to members of the staff that both optimize their unique skills and expertise and contribute to the fulfillment of organization objectives. This may maximize the benefits of your practices by applying the strengths of individuals to your methods of alignment. Employees may benefit from this technique by working in capacities that best suit their talents and preferences, resulting in greater satisfaction and productivity.

5. Link individual performance to company goals

Emphasizing the connection between individual performance and company goals is an important part of achieving strategic alignment. Communicate with your team about the importance of timely and quality deliverables and how they contribute to the success of company goals. When defining roles and creating short-term goals for employees, ensure they align with the long-term goals of the organization.

It's also important to reward and recognize excellence and contribution to company success. Consider acknowledging teams, departments and individuals when their accomplishments contribute to strategic alignment by providing company parties, monetary rewards or public praise.

6. Measure success

Measuring the success of your alignment is a valuable way to ensure the efficacy of your methods. Consider implementing weekly or monthly reports to receive individual and departmental updates. This data can help you determine your progress toward strategic alignment and make any adjustments to your efforts to improve.

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