Strategic Alignment is a necessary prerequisite to implementing any performance or talent solution and should be in place before embarking on any new programs. It is necessary to have a strong foundation in place that all people in the organisation understand and work with.
It is analogous to starting a running race with people not lined up at a starting line, no definition of how long the race is and not defining the direction the runners will go. How can we measure performance or development in these circumstances?
This starts with a longer term view of what the business is about or what it wants to become. Kendo uses the term Purpose as it allows people to see how they contribute to this aspiration and makes their work meaningful.
Purpose must be supported by the values the organisation is adopting and these, of course, must be lived and reflected in behaviors of people (especially leaders) across the organisation.
Strategic Pillars set the boundaries for business objectives and activities. All Business Plan Objectives (BPOs) need to fit under a Strategic Pillar. Strategic Pillars can also be considered the battle grounds where the Company must have a competitive advantage. If a proposed activity falls outside a Strategic Pillar you must question why is it being undertaken.
Having the big picture laid out allows an organisation to develop its Business Plan Objectives which are the first steps towards achieving the strategy. These should be owned by the CEO as that is what he is responsible to deliver.
Underneath the BPOs there needs to be a clear understanding about how these will be broken down into more detailed plans and most importantly who will execute them. This linking of objectives can show the contribution of each specific objective to a higher objective and make work more meaningful.
The final step in ensuring there is strategic alignment is to define the roles and responsibilities of each individual and see how this lines up with the accountabilities they have agreed to take on.
Without having strategic alignment it is very hard to measure performance of individuals or teams, and very difficult to have effective talent development programs.