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.