October 29, 2018

101: Alignment

Businesses with great intentions fail all the time. Alignment is what brings a business its intended success — with sometimes-complex layers of purpose, mission, objectives, people and processes. Communication is at the core. Here are ways to keep your company on course.

A good interview does not equal a good hire. Hiring the wrong person sets up you and your company for misaligned roles and skills. Andre Lavoie of Entrepreneur.com recommends looking past rehearsed interview answers and impeccable resume formats to a better-identified job fit. "Test their skills beforehand. Whether it's through an assessment test, mock assignment or trial employment, give job candidates some way to show off the skills listed on their resumes," he writes. (Meanwhile, existing staff need realignments, with training and coaching as needed.)

The goals and action plan must click. Managers must be sure the goals and action are aligned and bridged by a plan, identifying who is responsible for what — and when. "Too often plans are created and then sit on a shelf gathering dust. To ensure that plans will be implemented, specific assignments need to be made and people need to know that they are accountable for achieving specific results," writes Leigh Richards at SmallBusiness.Chron.com. Without all the elements in line, the goal is harder to achieve.

Align teams with teams. Team efforts and objectives must be aligned with external and internal teams, as well, whether out of the building or out of country. Jeff Boss of Forbes.com: "The nature of alignment demands cross-functionality — communication up, down and across the organization and between teams," he writes. Exceptional-performing organizations don't get that way based on a few great people, but based on the conditions aligning those people and teams to work together, he said.


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