What is strategic alignment?

by Alessia Ghiandoni | Feb 09, 2022

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There are no magic wands or spells when it comes to creating or running a winning business. Despite this, leading business professionals have said that there may be a winning approach when it comes to developing a successful strategy. We are talking about strategic alignment, a term to which various definitions are associated, including “the process of aligning all stakeholders, internal and external, to achieve a unified organisational vision.” (Hertz, 2018)

Strategic alignment is also described as “determining what is most important to the organisation and then developing a blueprint to achieving the organisation’s objectives.” Others argue that strategic alignment is the process of aligning a company’s strategy with its culture. Based on the many definitions provided, it’s clear to see how important strategic alignment for ensuring that the goals and plans of each operational function are aligned to the corporate strategic plans. Effective strategic alignment requires planning, a willingness to make changes and an engaged workforce. Furthermore, it requires that management adjust and match its vision with leadership goals and organisational culture.

In this article, we’re delving deeper into the world of strategic alignment and the impact that this can have on your business.

What is a strategic alignment model?  

Strategic alignment models are visual representations of how priorities are linked and aligned vertically and horizontally throughout a company. A strategic alignment model describes essential procedures to drive and help strategic alignment in a company. It is necessary for ensuring that each activity in the organisation has the resources and competencies needed to carry out its contribution to the overall strategy.

Is the OKR framework a strategic alignment model?

In short, no. But implementing OKRs within your business can help you to achieve strategic alignment. Let us explain…

The OKR process involves:

  • Conducting regular OKR reviews
  • Setting ambitious team goals
  • High employee engagement and communication
  • Tracking progress towards the team or business goals
  • Aligning team goals with the wider company objectives

Does any of this sound familiar? It should! All of the actions you take when using OKRs naturally shift your business towards strategic alignment. Your teams will work more cohesively, you’ll minimise wasted time and resources and everyone will be moving towards the same goalpost.

The importance of strategic alignment for businesses

Here at There Be Giants, we come across organisations that are not strategically aligned all too often. And frequently they’re the ones that struggle with determining what to prioritise, make less effective decisions, and have considerably more conflicts. This eventually leads to stress and a loss of motivation within their organisation. This is why we can’t help but stress the importance of implementing a strategic alignment framework. 

Strategically aligned organisations operate more effectively and produce greater outcomes because they’ve established action plans and are focused on reaching the same goals and objectives. Companies that commit time and effort to achieve strategic alignment can gain a competitive edge, achieve more differentiation, develop unique competencies, and provide more value to their stakeholders.

Strategic alignment serves to enhance engagement by enabling every team member to support the company generating value for owners, customers, workers, and the community, as well as contributing to the winning strategy. When your team sees the big picture, it becomes a natural source of incentives. As a result, strategic alignment keeps people engaged by making your strategy transparent and demonstrating how it relates to the big picture. It contributes to the minimisation of conflicts and it promotes team cooperation, allowing everyone to be on the same page.

Organisations around the world are being forced to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment. As a result, having team members who understand and are aligned with the company’s main objective is becoming indispensable. Time-saving is another important benefit of being strategically aligned. Employees in separate departments may spend hours working on initiatives that have little to no influence on the overall success of a growing company that lacks strategic alignment. Wasting time on things that aren’t going to produce results is something you can’t afford to do in a company. Time, resources, and effort should be focused on the proper areas in a timely way.

Want to learn more about the importance of strategic alignment? Get in touch with our team, we’re always up for a chat! Our team can help you to implement OKRs to help you achieve strategic alignment and reap the rewards for your organisation.