2015: A new year. A fresh start. The perfect time to review this past year, set new goals, and determine where you want your company to head this year. It’s time to take control of what this New Year will bring by aligning your company culture and organizational strategy.
I have previously explored how your business has its own culture, which infiltrates every aspect from leadership decision-making down to daily processes. And, when partnered with strategy, this culture propels businesses to high performance.
Understanding, and more importantly, developing that culture allows you to build and achieve your strategic objectives. A well defined, established corporate culture will provide the framework for your organizational development and strategic planning. Allow this culture to guide your planning process.
Though there is no single, perfect, cookie cutter method to ensure that your culture and organizational strategy align, there are some critical pieces that should be considered.
How to Ensure That Your Strategy and Culture Align
1. Take a look at who we are as leaders.
An organization’s long term success relies heavily on leadership, its ability to embody/implement your company culture and to lead the company toward its strategic goals. Key leadership, those that set the tone for the strategy and culture of the organization, must understand their own strengths and weaknesses as leaders along with those of the entire leadership team. Without this insight, the implementation of organizational strategy will be stifled, starting at the top, from the beginning. Assessing your leadership is an important step in developing and realizing your strategic plan while creating an atmosphere where people want to work, succeed, and stay.
2. Gain a realistic view of your organization.
Just as we need to assess the leadership of an organization, leadership must assess the organizational maturity as well as the process maturity of a company. Evaluating where your organization stands and understanding its current state offers perspective of its strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. It provides a view of what your company can realistically handle and allows you to build your plan around that knowledge.
3. Plan where you are headed and how you will get there.
Developing your strategy will guide your company in reaching its ultimate goals and objectives. Take the time to develop organizational priorities, themes, and accountability as well as a process to manage those priorities.
4. What if?
Once you have some your strategies developed, test them out. Create a series of “What If?” scenarios to get a feel for how well your strategic plans are suited to real life situations. Are your plans realistic? Or are they lofty goals which do not truly guide your business? Risk management and scenario methodologies can help you create a more concrete, reliable plan to lead your organization toward your goals. Use this information to re-work and tweak your strategic plan, then test again.
5. Manage and sustain your progress!
It’s great to pull all these pieces of the puzzle together, but you need to plan how you will keep them all afloat. More importantly, you must then follow through. Keep tabs on how you are managing performance, communications, personnel, resources and all the moving parts that make your company tick. Assess, plan, re-assess, plan again… Once you have the taken those first steps in getting your company headed in the right direction, you won’t need to reinvent the wheel each time you do a self-check. You can compare where you are to your baseline and goals to see how you measure up.
Your strategy and culture are yours to develop. Create the company you want through a clearly defined culture and a solid strategy for getting there. If you’re interested in learning more, take a look at our services, and talk to us about how Strategy and Culture go hand in hand.