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Strategic alignment helps organizations stay focused and grow! 

By Jim Weidmann, Principal
Roundhouse Advisors, Inc.

When I joined a non profit as its COO, with the understanding that this was a turn around opportunity, my first instinct was to understand the organization and identify where it was hemorrhaging.  This would allow me to stop the negative cash flow and buy time to analyze the numbers, strategy and personnel. As I revisited the vision, mission and existing strategy, it became obvious that the structure had been acted upon so many times with cost and personnel reductions as well as failed initiatives that nothing was effectively aligned behind the vision and mission negatively impacting their results.    


As I go into organizations today to help them identify their critical leading performance indicators from a strategic and tactical perspective, I find the same problem of misalignment.  In fact, almost every time, the organization does not measure at least 50% of its critical leading performance indicators and, therefore, has no one responsible for their impact. 


As a former AF Pilot I controlled a $30M aircraft by information fed to me on a dashboard that allowed me to sense and respond in real time to a set of interactive variables that changed as my flight conditions changed.  It is no different in leading organizations, leaders must make constant adjustments, based on real data, or they will drift off course and become reactive verses proactive in directing their organization. The Power of Strategic Alignment and Reporting allows an organization to identify, align, report and present its critical strategic and tactical performance indicators to achieve unity of effort for quantifiable performance improvement. 
The Aberdeen Group’s research proved that aligned organizations performed better in every measurable financial standard than their non aligned counter parts realizing over 20% increase in operating contribution margins!


So if you are looking to drive your organization toward “profitable” growth, consider talking to a “professional business chiropractor” – an alignment specialist. There are several steps that must be taken to re-position the organization:


  1. Establishment and agreement on the “Main thing” the organization needs to accomplish. 
    In the book Power of Alignment, George Labovitz and Victor Rosansky identify the main thing as: The common and unifying concept to which every unit can contribute.  Each department and team must be able to see a direct relationship between what it does and this overarching goal.  The main thing must be clear, easy to understand, consistent with the strategy of the organization and actionable by every group and individual.

  1. Identification of strategic and tactical organizational key performance indicators (KPIs) -associated with the Main Thing, their goals and their reporting processes: in every company there is a main objective a company is trying to meet. KPIs are metrics that inform executive teams about whether or not they are meeting their projected goals. KPI’s vary based on the unique mission of the organization.  This is a three step process.  First you must identify your “key” indicators that if acted upon will directly impact your operations. The balance scorecard elements, unique strategic initiatives, and industry KPI’s also need to be considered.  With the goal being to identify 10-20 indicators that are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. Second, each indicator needs a goal determined by past trends and/or industry best in class performance.  Third, how and by whom the data will be captured and reported needs to be determined. 

  1. Alignment of KPIs into individual performance plans and job descriptions.  Now that the what, how and whom has been established, the performance indicators need to be incorporated into individuals performance plans.  This provides for accountability and understanding by the employee of how their efforts contribute to the main thing.  The responsibility and accountability is so clear, that executives should be getting calls before they every see a negative condition on the dashboard. 

  1. Implementation of an Organizational Dashboard to monitor and manage toward growth.  The timely reporting and presentation of the data is critical to realizing the benefits of the quantifiable performance improvements. The objective is to get the right data to the right person who can act on it, knowing that there are specific steps that can be taken to correct each negative condition.  Some of the data will be reported daily, some weekly and some monthly.  

“Alignment is the Essence of Management” 

                                                Fred Smith, Chairman of Federal Express.

Jim Weidmann 

Jim has over 14 years of executive experience serving in non profit leadership whose success is measured in millions of dollars. He focuses on maximizing the existing skills and talents of an organization to drive critical thinking and execution required for revenue growth and world class performance. He has demonstrated abilities in leading start-up, turnaround and new business development initiatives. Most recently, Jim was COO for a national non profit with over 2,500 volunteers helping to lead its turnaround team returning it to profitability within one year. With over 12 years at IBM and four years as an Air Force Pilot and an international speaker and author, he provides leadership, content, operations and strategy expertise.

 

Jim is a former co-captain as well as football coach for the U.S. Air Force Academy. He holds a B.S. degree in Engineering Mechanics from the Academy and an M.B.A. from Hardin Simmons University with a concentration in Marketing.    

 

For more information contact Jim Weidmann at 303-638-1744 or email at jim@RoundhouseAdvisors.com