If you think your top leaders know your strategic priorities, think again

By Kate Lee

Alignment is a catalyst for speed and a cornerstone for accelerated growth. Is your leadership team aligned?

The CEO of a large technology company was delighted when the results of the annual employee engagement survey showed that 97% of senior leaders surveyed said they clearly understood the company’s priorities and how their work contributed to corporate objectives. However, her delight turned to shock – and likely some other emotions – when researchers dug deeper.

Researchers asked the same senior leaders who participated in the survey to list company’s strategic priorities. Using a machine-learning algorithm and human coders to classify their answers, researchers assessed how well the responses aligned with the company’s official strategic priorities, which had not changed over the past two years. 28% of those surveyed were able to list three of the company’s five strategic priorities. 33% of the leaders responsible for implementing the company’s strategy could not list even one.

If you think the misalignment found in the technology is unique to that company – think again. Leadership IQ surveyed 21,008 employees and found that the majority of employees feel that their leader’s vision for the future is not aligned with the organization’s – 29% of employees said that their leader’s vision for the future always seems to be aligned with the organization’s, while 16% said their leader’s vision for the future is never or rarely aligned with the organization’s.

Why does this matter?

Organizational alignment is a catalyst for speed and a cornerstone for accelerated growthHighly aligned organizations grow revenue 58% faster and are 72% more profitable than unaligned organizations. Highly aligned organizations also significantly outperform their unaligned peers in customer retention, satisfying customers, effectively leading, and engaging employees.

When an organization is aligned, there is a shared understanding of purpose and of the strategies, goals, and tactics that will make the organization successful. Organizational alignment energizes the organization, enables people to take action, and empowers people to work towards a shared goal. Further, when there is alignment, people not only have the autonomy to make decisions by themselves, but they also trust each other to make the right decisions.

What can you do?

Over 40 years of working with extraordinary leaders, we have developed a process that drives organizational alignment and enables organizations to move from strategy to execution and uncover the pivot points for true business growth and transformation. Strategy and Leadership Team Alignment uses tactical planning and strategic thinking to align the leadership team around the organization’s vision, strategic priorities, critical issues, operational plans, and key leadership behaviors/values.

Strategy and Leadership Team Alignment includes a series of one-on-one meetings and workshops designed to identify barriers to alignment, foster communication, increase engagement, increase trust, drive better decision-making, improve operating discipline, promote individual leadership development, and build the capabilities of high-performing teams.

The process is iterative and engenders collective ownership within the Leadership Team and across the organization because of our unique broad organizational cascade process. This accelerates execution, enhances employee engagement, and drives performance and profitability.

Let’s look at an example. A client, a North American arm of a global services company, engaged Brimstone to spur organic growth. Brimstone took the leadership team through the Strategy and Leadership Team Alignment process and then brought together Business Acceleration Teams. By aligning the leadership team and the organization, the teams were able to focus on critical issues and strategic priorities. The outcome – the company closed over $35 million in new business, identified ways to save over $1 million in annual working capital costs, and went from having low employee engagement to earning a spot in Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. In addition, through the process, all project team members enhanced their skills and deepened their engagement, while developing long-lasting internal networks for sharing ideas and generating new business across the organization.

Align your organization

Do your top leaders know your strategic priorities? Is your leadership team aligned? Before you jump to “yes,” take the time to check to see if your leadership team truly is aligned. 

Strategic Leadership Team Alignment


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