The first step is understanding where you are...
Each organization is at a different point, on their journey to optimal alignment. Every organization has strengths… and challenges. To improve, it’s vital to establish an objective understanding of the current state. Then we can focus on the most impactful gaps, set realistic objectives for improvement, and design a program to achieve those objectives.
This is what we accomplish through an Alignment Assessment.
The P Principles™ framework views organizational alignment in eight dimensions:
- Purpose – What we’re here to accomplish
- Passion – What our organization, and our people, care deeply about
- Products – What we make or do for our customers, and why they should buy it
- Priorities – The most important things we need to focus on right now
- Plans – How we’re going to get from where we are, to where we need to be
- Practices – How we communicate with and enable our teams to be effective
- Processes – How we organize and optimize the work we do together to produce value for our customers
- Performance – How we measure, incentivize and improve the performance of our teams and individuals
The Alignment Blueprint™ Workshop
The first step in the Alignment Assessment is a collaborative leadership workshop, to develop your organization’s baseline Alignment Blueprint™. The Alignment Blueprint™ Workshop drives discussion and clarity on your organization’s top-level vision, goals, strategies, priorities and activities related to the eight dimensions of organizational alignment.
The output this workshop is large-format detailed mind map, documenting what your leadership team believes is important, and what you believe you’re doing today. This is provided in electronic form, and as a large-format print that can be posted to drive further discussion within your organization.
This is a valuable tool for understanding and communicating about alignment. We leverage the knowledge developed through this process as input for an objective evaluation of alignment in each of these areas, using our Alignment Maturity Model™.
The Alignment Maturity Model™
Alignment Associates developed the Alignment Maturity Model™ (“AMM”) as a tool to enable objective evaluation of alignment within an organization, in each of these eight dimensions. For each dimension of alignment, the AMM defines six maturity levels, from Level 0 (“Unaligned”) to Level 5 (“Culturally Aligned”). An evaluation tool maps observable organizational characteristics and behaviors to each of the dimensions, enabling the evaluator to clearly identify the maturity level of each item through interviews and direct observation. The AMM is a very efficient tool for quickly and consistently identifying alignment strengths and gaps, in a constructive manner.
Identifying and tracking improvement objectives
While it’s a noble goal to become “Culturally Aligned” across all eight dimensions, it’s probably not an attainable short-term objective for most organizations. Once a baseline evaluation has been completed, Alignment Associates will facilitate a leadership team workshop to review findings, and identify the most impactful, attainable short and mid-term improvement objectives. This will include identifying target maturity levels for each dimension, as well as identifying specific improvements necessary to attain the target maturity levels. This is the input necessary to design and plan an effective Alignment Program.
After the baseline Alignment Assessment has been completed, the AMM can be used for periodic “snapshot” evaluations, to determine how alignment is progressing within the organization, and to adjust the improvement program, as appropriate.