Bowes

Winnipeg Free Press - Section H - - CAREERS -

Lack of creativ­ity and team­work — when em­ploy­ees do not un­der­stand their role in mak­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion suc­cess­ful, they de­velop a “head down” fo­cus. In other words, they be­come self-pro­tec­tive and fo­cus only on their spe­cific task. They of­ten adopt a “not my job” syn­drome and will not reach out to help oth­ers. Their feel­ing of suc­cess, and their job se­cu­rity for that mat­ter, is sim­ply do­ing their task well with­out think­ing about how their re­sults im­pact on the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Blam­ing cul­ture — poor un­der­stand­ing of goals and ob­jec­tives and em­ploy­ees who are self-ab­sorbed as part of their own sur­vival strat­egy cre­ates di­vides or “si­los” be­tween de­part­ments and func­tions. As a re­sult, each depart­ment will be blam­ing the other for poor ex­e­cu­tion. Both the or­ga­ni­za­tion struc­ture and the cul­ture are now con­tribut­ing to the prob­lem.

Au­thor­i­ta­tive lead­er­ship — when things are not work­ing well and mis­align­ment oc­curs, you will of­ten find the lead­ers adopt a more au­thor­i­ta­tive, top-down style as they strug­gle to make their em­ploy­ees more pro­duc­tive. This cre­ates mi­cro­man­age­ment, neg­a­tiv­ity, fear, anx­i­ety and gen­eral malaise within the work­place. Pro­duc­tiv­ity will fall while turnover will rise.

These prob­lems are very se­ri­ous and are not only dif­fi­cult to over­come but also take time and en­ergy. Some of the key strate­gies to bring an or­ga­ni­za­tion back into align­ment in­clude the fol­low­ing:

Hire the right peo­ple — no mat­ter what the job du­ties, the best em­ployee is one who thinks like the owner. They can see how their work dove­tails with the cor­po­rate goals and they can see the big picture and can think strate­gi­cally. High pro­duc­tiv­ity em­ploy­ees take the ini­tia­tive, man­age change well, are creative prob­lem solvers and are per­sis­tent in com­plet­ing their work.

Spread the word more fre­quently — or­ga­ni­za­tions must make ev­ery ef­fort to in­crease busi­ness aware­ness among their em­ploy­ees. Em­ploy­ees must be shown and led to un­der­stand how their work plays into the op­er­a­tions of the or­ga­ni­za­tion and how their work con­trib­utes over­all to the bot­tom-line fi­nan­cial re­sults. This is fre­quently done by town hall meet­ings, pub­lished plan­ning doc­u­ments as well as monthly and weekly man­age­ment meet­ings ac­com­pa­nied by progress charts and met­rics.

De­velop for­mal train­ing pro­grams — most em­ploy­ees truly want to know how their work im­pacts the or­ga­ni­za­tion. One suc­cess strat­egy is to de­velop for­mal train­ing pro­grams that ed­u­cate em­ploy­ees on how value is cre­ated for their or­ga­ni­za­tion. This will help em­ploy­ees un­der­stand var­i­ous de­part­men­tal pri­or­i­ties and how all of the pri­or­i­ties are wo­ven to­gether to cre­ate the over­all goals. The key teach­ings of these train­ing pro­grams can then be trans­lated into charts and graphs that can be posted in the work­place as a re­minder of the path the or­ga­ni­za­tion is tak­ing.

De­fine your per­for­mance met­rics — iden­ti­fy­ing and ap­ply­ing per­for­mance met­rics help to keep em­ploy­ees at all lev­els fo­cused on re­sults. It needs to be a cas­cad­ing process where the goals for se­nior lead­ers as well as front-line work­ers are di­rectly linked to their per­for­mance mea­sures.

On the mat­ter of tim­ing, I can say that from my ex­pe­ri­ence that if mis­align­ment is not ad­dressed in a timely man­ner, it will lead to prob­lems that can even­tu­ally de­stroy an or­ga­ni­za­tion. Yes, it may take 10 or 15 years, but it will in­deed hap­pen. To over­come this is­sue, or­ga­ni­za­tional align­ment should be viewed as a busi­ness dis­ci­pline that is on­go­ing and dy­namic. This means that some­one, typ­i­cally the se­nior leader needs to keep their eye on all the el­e­ments of align­ment: the strat­egy, the cul­ture, the job de­sign, the peo­ple, the lead­er­ship, and or­ga­ni­za­tional sys­tems.

Source: Chronic Mis­align­ment: Why lead­er­ship’s calls for bet­ter or­ga­ni­za­tional work and how a sim­ple value lan­guage can re­move com­mon bar­ri­ers; gre­gory dickinson > michael puleo, Deloitte, nd.

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