Why don’t more employees do what they are supposed to do? Author and consultant William Schiemann might have part of the answer — only 14% of the organizations he polled report that their employees have a good understanding of their company’s strategy and direction.
He shares that fact and some of the causes as a contributing author in Performance Management: Putting Research into Action. Using the results of a Metrus Group survey he identifies six gaps that get in the way of organizational alignment. While each factor on its own isn’t enough of a problem to explain the overall poor alignment figure, Schiemann believes that it is the cumulative effect of each gap that explains the overall misalignment.
How would you score?
Take a look at some of the key alignment factors that Schiemann identifies below. As you look at the numbers from other companies, ask yourself, “How many of these alignment factors could I cumulatively answer ‘yes’ to on behalf of my company?”
From Performance Management: Putting Research into Action (2009) page 53, Figure 2.2 “Why Strategies and Behavior Disconnect: Percentage of Rater Agreement.” The percentages represent the cumulative agreement of raters for each element and for the ones above that element.
Strategies for closing the gap
For leaders looking to close the alignment gap in their organizations, Schiemann recommends seven key steps:
- Develop a clear, agreed-on vision and strategy.
- Translate the vision and strategy into clear, understandable goals and measures.
- Include and build passion for the vision, strategy, goals among those who are implementing them.
- Provide clarity regarding individual roles and requirements and link them across the organization.
- Make sure that people have the talent, information, and resources to reach the goals.
- Give clear, timely feedback on goal attainment.
- Provide meaningful incentives to encourage employees to develop or deploy sufficient capabilities to achieve the goals.
All good performance begins with clear goals
No organization can perform at its best with only 14% of its people rowing in the same direction. Take some time this week to check in with your people. Are their key goals and work objectives in line with the overall strategy of your organization? Do they see how their work fits in and do they have the tools, resources, and authority to get the job done?
Take the time to set (or reset) a clear direction today. It can save a lot of time, work, and wasted effort down the road.