There has been a lot of disruption from economic, political, climatic, and global health elements over the last few years. Organisations went into survival mode, quickly adapting to new conditions, but in doing so they have bent their strategic alignment out of shape. 

It is universally accepted that organisations need to be strategically aligned to achieve superior performance and conversely, and as is too often the case, lack of strategic alignment has adverse consequences that can have major impacts.  

To understand what strategic alignment is, let’s start with the basics and define the elements of strategy that an organisation needs to have in place and then discuss how they need to be aligned.


This is an altruistic statement that identifies the contribution the organisation makes to society and broader stakeholder groups. This provides a reason why people want to work for and deal with the company. 

An organisational Purpose Statement is more than a tagline, but it is not a lengthy statement. It needs to stir the soul and make people feel good to be involved with the organisation. 

In the new world of strategy formulation Purpose is fixed over the longer term whilst strategy may vary according to current market factors.

Values and Behaviours 

Values are the core beliefs that underpin culture and organisational policies and procedures. They are consistent with the Purpose of the organisation. There is no rule about the desired number of values but typically it ranges between 5 and 8. 

Behaviours are how we act and what we do. They are a reflection of how each value is lived out enacted and often several behaviours are attached to each value to provide clarity, context and definition. 

Vision and Strategy 

Vision is a statement of where the organisation wants to be in the future (say in 3-5 years time). It is an aggressive projection of the organisation’s ambitions and should describe the future state and position. 

Strategy is integral to Vision as it is the plan to achieve the Vision. Many organisations invest heavily in research that is used in scenario planning to determine strategy. This is extremely valuable but it is using this information to develop a game plan that is vital.

Strategic Pillars 

One outcome of analysing the research and studying the market is to set the boundaries on where the organisation will operate and hence the business plan priorities. These are your battlegrounds where you must be more competitive than your competitors. They are called Strategic Pillars and they are not always easy to define.  

However, every Business Plan Objective must fit under a strategic pillar so due consideration must be given to defining them. This is one major component to getting strategic alignment.

Business Plan Objectives 

It is all well and good to get clarity about why you exist, how you will behave, what you aspire to be and your battleground but…none of this matters if it is not executed. 

To reach any grand vision there is always the first step and this is the year one Business Plan and more specifically the specific Business Plan Objectives that must be delivered.  

This is often the weak link in the chain and where strategic alignment falls apart. The blue sky of the strategy development process must be matched by getting two feet on the ground to take the organisation forward. 

And When You Don’t Have Strategic Alignment? 

This can manifest itself in any number of ways. The overwhelming impact is poor performance as not everyone is pulling in the same direction, resources are not being put where they can have the most impact and what matters is not being measured.  

However, there is a much deeper impact on the people who work in the organisation. This manifests itself as lack of agreement on what success looks like for themselves, their level of engagement falls off, learning and development is not in the areas required under the strategy and managers, the vital cog with the responsibility for executing plans, cannot do their job properly. 

Failure to get strategic alignment creates major problems on the people in the organisation and this sometimes institutionalised bad practices that take major change programs to set right.

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