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Janet A Johnson's Business and Lifestyle Blog

Strategic Alignment: Why It’s Crucial to Business Planning

Posted: January 2, 2019
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As a Strategic Project Management Consultant, one of the first things I look for when approaching a project is strategic alignment. This means that the project goals and objectives align directly with the larger business goals and objectives of the organization. When I find a project tha is not aligned, I first try to understand why. After that, I assess the implications and highlight the associated risks for discussion and reporting. Ideally, company projects should be the outcome of the strategic planning process. Unfortunately, many businesses overlook the strategic planning process. Some may do not have the time or skills to embrace the process. On the other hand, others may not see the value or may not understand How Strategic Planning Helps to Streamline Your Business. or Why Strategic Planning is a Smart Business Plan.

What is Strategic Alignment?

The word “strategy” is widely used in business today. As a result, sometimes I think it’s actually being overused. In addition, I often consider why so many people fail to properly execute their strategy and here’s an interesting perspective! Although approximately 65 percent of businesses know their intended strategy, only about 10 percent of them successfully execute them. This can be attributed to the fact that many businesses don’t consider strategic alignment in their business planning process. For instance, I have found that many simply embark on their business planning process without fully understanding how it affects the planning process as a whole, or how to integrate their strategy at every step of the process. In other words, many strategy managers are not fully aware of what strategic alignment means.

Strategic alignment involves linking a company’s business environment and strategy with its resources (including people skills and tools) and structure. It refers to a state where an organization’s strategies align internally and externally, with its users, marketplace, and customers.

“Alignment” is the keyword here. The strategies of your company must align with the ultimate business goal at every step of your business planning process – from creation to execution.

Benefits of Using Strategic Alignment in Your Business Planning Process

Let’s look at some of the benefits of strategic alignment.

Saves time

There is a saying, “lost time is never found again.” Time is a very important and delicate resource in the business world. The way you use your time could determine where you will be among your peers. Managers that do not adopt strategic alignment tend to embark on activities that, while being good ideas, are simply not the right fit at that very moment. If they are lucky, they will find out in time that they are operating off course, and wasting time.

To avoid this situation, ensure that your business strategies align with your company goals and objectives.

Motivate your team

Team motivation is another important area that needs to be consider in any business plan. However, we aren’t going to go deep into the subject. The point to grasp here is that when your team understands the big picture, it becomes a natural motivation factor. Therefore, strategic alignment helps keep teams motivated by making your strategy clear to them and showing them how it ties to the big picture. Businesses that actively use Shared Values as a Winning Formula to Business Success master this very well. At the end of the day, alignment between strategy and goal encourage shared values, helps gain “buy-in” and everyone see the value in achieving these set goals and objectives. In essence, it helps you eliminate conflicting priorities, so everyone can be on the same page.

Supports market maneuverability

Maneuverability, long known as a military term, is now being applied to the business today because of the dynamic nature of the marketplace in our global economy. We have to find ways, strategies, to maneuver and stay ahead of the competition. However, in a bid to keep up with the various trends, we must be careful to not lose business identity. An aligned strategy helps businesses to focus and maintain the balance between following trends and keeping true to their identity.

How Strategic Alignment can be Use In Business Planning Process

As mentioned earlier, you should incorporate strategic alignment into every stage of your planning process. This way, you can be sure that you don’t leave anything unattended. Let’s consider the creation, communication, and execution stages of your business plan.

Creation

This is the stage where you consider How Goals and Objectives Help Your Business Succeed with consideration for the changing marketplace. Therefore, focus on drilling down to strategically align your action plans. You see, in a bid to retain business identities, many refuse any bit of change regardless of current trends or customer preferences. On the other hand, some businesses bend to the will of every customer, thereby losing their identity. A mindset towards strategic alignment helps you apply a systems approach to maintaining a healthy balance between these two extremes, thus helping you sustain your business.

Communication

This is perhaps the most important area of any business strategy. The Comunication Plan is where you focus on how to achieve shared values and getting buy-in from every party involved. A strategy that aligns perfectly with your business goals communicates stability to teams, employees, management and customers alike. The goal here is to ensure that daily actions and decisions align with the strategic direction of the organization’s goals.

Execution

Execution is the stage where you produce the desired outcomes. Therefore, while executing the various objectives, it is important to continually assess and ensure that you consider the company’s structure and goals. Many organizations miss it here and end up damaging employee engagement and trust. In a thrust to adapt to changes in the market, ensure you don’t stray away from your business identity. Your business identity is what makes you a brand.

Final Thoughts

Many things make your business planning process a success and strategic alignment is definitely top on the list. It is essential because it saves time and other resources, while also keeping your employees informed and motivated.

Lack of strategic alignment is one of the primary reasons why many businesses fail to achieve their objectives. The importance of strategic alignment cannot be overstated. Therefore, ensure you consider it in your next business planning process.

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Janet A Johnson

Hi, I am Janet A Johnson a Management Consultant and Life Coach with over 15 years strategic program/project management and business management experience. I am the owner of StrategyNook LLC, a consultancy agency specializing in strategic project management, business management, web development, branding, internet/social media marketing, life coaching and stress management. Schedule your free consultation today and let's talk strategy and customized solutions.

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