Every organization has a company vision and mission statement; they show the organizational framework that guides all decisions its executive leadership team makes. However, assessing if this framework is being implemented in the organization is essential. If it is, that means that the entirety of the organization stays aligned with the company’s vision and goals. Let’s consider Apple, Inc. as an example. What comes to mind when you think about this organization?
At Apple, every employee knows the company’s intentions and what they stand for. Employees up and down the corporate ladder are aware that they are creating some of the world’s most innovative technological products and services. Employees also recognize that their work goes far beyond their personal goals. They understand why they are at Apple and realize that working at Apple is not just a career choice. It also represents a significant part of their identity.
So how does the entire organization have a single point of focus? That’s what we call alignment.
Executive alignment exists within the senior leadership of an organization. Although a company may have a powerful mission and a prospective idea, senior leadership misalignment is often the cause of a company’s dysfunction and ultimate failure. If the executive leadership team is not aligned frequently, there is a risk of losing focus on the company’s mission and vision.
Alignment in an organization is built and maintained through constant communication and an understanding of the organization’s purpose. This is an ongoing process in the life cycle of the senior management team.
One of the classic examples of growth through executive alignment is when Steve Jobs returned to Apple long after he was ousted from his own company. The first thing he did was restructure the leadership team to align with the organizational vision. When meeting with his design teams, rather than asking about the latest updates, he asked them what the designs meant to them and if they understood Apple’s mission. His focus on alignment was crucial in making Apple what it is today.
Regardless of their ideological differences, executive leaders such as Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella, Tim Cook, and their senior management teams all work towards the common goal of their respective organizations. Successful businesses maintain efficient and stable senior management teams by focusing on a shared vision and company goal. They align their personal goals with the organization’s mission and often use executive leadership programs.
It is widely understood that alignment begins at the top of the organization. When the executive leadership is aligned with the company’s goals, this alignment usually trickles down throughout the organization. Conversely, any misalignment will also trickle down throughout the organization.
Misalignments are not uncommon. Great organizations work through misalignments to bring the focus back to the larger purpose of the organization’s goals.
This does not imply that executive leaders will always agree with one another. The importance comes from ensuring the team aligns with the organization’s mission and goals.
To maintain an efficient and creative team, aligning individual and company goals is essential. When cross-functional leadership teams are working together on a common goal of the organization, it indicates that the leadership is in alignment.
One noteworthy example of company alignment is the TATA Group of India which owns Land Rover and Jaguar globally. Despite over a century in business, the company has experienced very little executive-level dissonance and continues to grow globally. TATA is a model for industrialization and social responsibility. Each business within the group adheres to the company’s vision focusing on good corporate governance and the growth of the company’s reach.
Recently, TATA experienced some misalignments when Cyrus Mistry took over the company. The management’s decisions did not reflect the principal values of the company, and significant corporate misalignment spread throughout the group. To prevent further dysfunction, the executive leadership had to be changed. After implementing that change, the TATA group represents one of the world’s largest employers and most respected organizations.
Executive alignment can be achieved through company structuring focused on the organization’s common goal. The specific methodologies likely differ between organizations, but the aim is to strive toward a shared vision. The following are some effective practices for achieving executive alignment.
To efficiently and effectively achieve corporate goals, organizational alignment is crucial for high-performing companies. It is vital to ensure that the company’s leaders understand its vision so that they can align their values accordingly. Once they believe in the shared vision, only then will they have the zeal to make the vision a reality.
If you found this post informative, you’ll definitely benefit from reading our post on the 5 Ways Modern Executive Search Produces Results Fast.
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