Advance! Strategic Alignment Process™

The Advance! Strategic Alignment Process™ (A.S.A.P.™) is our proven hands-on method to improve team performance and business results in your organization.

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Let's do a quick test. Please answer the next five questions with "yes" or "no":

  1. Can you quote the key business purpose of your business within the next ten seconds?
  2. If  the answer to the previous question is "yes": will the answer of your fellow board members be exactly the same?
  3. Are your private targets in line with the key business purpose and strategic goals of your organization?
  4. If you would ask ten employees anywhere in the organization to explain the key business purpose of your organization, would all ten of them be able to quote the key business purpose within ten seconds?
  5. Do you believe that all people in your organization work for the same purpose and goals?

In case any of the above questions was answered with "no", our A.S.A.P.™ program is something worth considering.

Why we Believe in the Simplicity of Things...

Unlike those who believe in the 'Scientific Model' (= the process scientists use to develop accurate, logical, reliable and non-arbitrary answers to tough questions) we believe in a much simpler approach to managing your organization and business.

The daily business reality is far too agile and chaotic to be caught in any scientific model; by the time the results of your careful and scientifically validated analysis are presented by your strategic planners the variables forming the basis of your model have changed or vanished, and the brutal reality has taken advantage of your careful, scientific planning approach. Now, don't get me wrong; I am not saying that structured decision making methods or tools have no value; as long as they are pragmatic and simple they are OK. But the moment they become sluggish and bureaucratic they will hamper your strategic agility and they become counterproductive. So, keep it simple, and listen to your customers and employees instead of to your bureaucracy.

Of-course many strategic planners and consultants will disagree with our ways of pointing out the simplicity of things, but we believe it makes more sense to listen to your clients and employees than to strategic planners - whose right of existence after all is to prove the complexity of things.

A brief example: I clearly remember a conversation with the co-owner of a multi billion dollar grocery retail chain in The Netherlands, who said that he has no more than a handful of managers sitting in his head office. His strategic planning operation only has a tiny staff, and when asked how he obtains critical data about customer needs and customer satisfaction he simply answered: "Like my fellow board members I spend a large chunk of my time snooping around in our retail stores. This is where I get the critical information about both customer needs and employee needs. This is all I need to know to take good strategic decisions". As long as the store managers of this retail chain fulfill the key performance indicators related to the seven brand values of the company, head office doesn't interfere with their daily business. A very simple as well as effective business model, stimulating ownership and empowerment at all levels.

Unlike in above example, one of the many reasons for organizations to rely so much on complex, scientific and metrics driven business models is that their management has become too aloof and far too distant from the actual business itself, and they have a hard time identifying themselves with the real action, and vice versa. In A.S.A.P.™ we aim at restoring the link between management and the brutal reality of the marketplace by getting every single individual in your organization involved in shaping the future, and by linking the individual targets of those individuals with the goals and the key business purpose of the organization.

The Four Simple Steps of A.S.A.P.™ 

In the A.S.A.P.™ program we follow four major but simple steps. These four steps are carried through with the full participation of your leadership, employees and customers:

Strategic Alignment

In the process of strategic alignment we deliver three results:

  1. We create a strong focus on the key purpose of your business;
  2. We reduce complexity and increase transparency in your organization;
  3. We create a culture of agility, with strong, focused leadership, and an improved sense of urgency and ownership throughout the ranks.


Step 1: (Re)defining your Key Business Purpose

Your key business purpose (= "Why are we in business?" "What is our existential purpose?") is to be made your main driver, and the main input for defining your core values (= "Which are the values and behaviors in line with our purpose?"), which provide the input for your brand promise (= "What do we promise to our customers?").

In a productive workshop environment we (re)define your business purpose, and in line with this purpose we support you in defining your core values. These core values form (a) the promise you make to your customers and (b) the foundation for the behavior and the performance of your leadership and employees. In this first step of strategic alignment we usually involve your employees, in some cases we have also involved clients.

Step 2: Aligning your Strategic Goals

Your strategic goals (= "What do we want to achieve?") are to be based on the key business purpose foundation; your strategic goals define the achievements you wish to make, and what you will deliver to your customers in line with what you promise to them.

In step 2 your strategic goals are reviewed and where neccessary redefined and aligned with your business purpose. In this process we may very well involve your customers and employees to align the strategic goals with their specific needs and expectations.

The implementation of a cross-organizational goals alignment process and the use of balanced score cards are some of the measures we take to achieve sustainable results. In the goals alignment process we make sure that the individual targets of people at all levels in your organization are supporting the key purpose and strategic goals of the organization.

Step 3: Aligning your Business Model & Organization

Of-course your business processes (= "How do we want to achieve our goals?") must be lined up with your key business purpose and your strategic goals; your organization and processes must be made ready to deliver in line with the purpose, values and behaviors you have defined.

In step 3 your organizational structure and business processes are reviewed, and where necessary redesigned and aligned with your business purpose and strategic goals. Our focus will be on pragmatic decision making proceses, personal accountability and ownership, and short clear communication lines. Also we restore the link between your management and your customers by reinforcing decision making at the lowest possible level, and reducing the bureaucratic filters between the customers and your top management. This particular part of the process is a tough one, as we most likely will have to deal with internal resistance by those same bureaucratic layers (Read more about bureaucracy and the B.U.R.T.™ effect here...)

In step 3 we reduce complexity and improve transparency, and we believe that business units must be given ownership, entrepreneurial accountability, and the freedom to operate within the framework of the key business purpose and higher goals of the organization, like in the grocery retail chain example above.

Please read more about our six leadership principles to understand how we approach the role of leadership in this.

Step 4: Aligning your People & Culture

Last but not least: your people must live these values and behaviors to make it all true, your company culture and the leadership supporting and protecting this culture need to be fully in line with the purpose, values, promises and behaviors you have defined. 

To make things true we use your redefined brand values as the framework for redefining your organizational culture. We believe that a culture can be shaped, provided that leadership consistently live the values of the organization, and lead by example. Leadership and staff are trained in how to collaborate and communicate to ensure meeting the customers' expectations. This may involve redesigning your performance assessment and appraisal systems, and making the brand values an integrated part of how your management and employees are assessed and appraised. This step may include extensive training for your leadership and teams in how to understand and live the values and principles of your organization.

And what about your customers? Of-course strategic alignment makes no sense without deeply involving your customers. How else could you define your purpose? In A.S.A.P.™ we always involve your customers, but only after analyzing and aligning your product and customer portfolios. Because it is without saying that you must always focus on the right customers.

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