As a growth strategist and operations advisor, one of the most common roadblocks to Alignment that I observe relates to the lack of communication and information sharing across an organization. Far too many entities fall into the trap of limiting forward-seeking conversations about growth and the organization’s strategic plan to the C-Suite or senior management team. Such an approach is close-minded, fundamentally flawed, and contradictory to everything critical to the Alignment of teams.
There is no value in developing a well-researched growth strategy if those who will be relied upon for daily execution don’t understand the mission and vision behind what they will be asked to do (especially if sacrifices need to be made by those individuals). In the words of Tony Blair, “Leaders lead…but in the end, it is the people who deliver”. If management/ownership wants to achieve its short-term and long-term growth goals, they must ensure those being counted on to implement the tactics have buy-in regarding the “why”, ‘how” and “what”.
To be clear, I am not implying that every member of an organization should be involved in senior executive meetings about possibly dismissing a COO who isn’t achieving his/her directives. What I am asserting is this: Chances are that a properly aligned organization would have proactively permeated its message of culture, mission, vision, values, and commitment to expansion and excellence across all levels of the team, and few stakeholders would be likely surprised by the news on the day that misaligned COO was replaced.
Growth – and more importantly, Sustainable Growth – only happens when every stakeholder in an organization has a clear understanding of the mission, the vision, and how they add value to the process. It isn’t a question of “do you share the information” with the organization; the only questions are “to what level” and “when”? They key is to share the core elements of the strategy, the execution plan and measures of success with messaging and detail appropriate to the individual’s level of engagement and control.
The following strategic map helps summarize the messaging and interaction themes that leaders should be utilizing to help improve communication, information sharing and organizational Alignment. EVERY stakeholder in your organization fits into one of these four categories. Is your management team engaging accordingly?