Strategic alignment system EBook

Strategic alignment system EBook

SKU : Strategic Allignment System

Publisher: Independent Pubs

Author: Harold Monty Sacher and Merryl Sacher

Format: EBook

Pages: 378

Released: 2007

The Sacher Associates' Strategic Alignment System is a systematic approach to implement strategy. It can be used as a framework to translate the organisation's vision, mission, values and strategic goals into the everyday outputs, measures and targets of the people doing the work. 

Many strategic plans do not work well because they are not implemented. The workforces of many companies go about their daily business activities unaware of the fact that the company even has a business plan. As a result, there is no relationship between the plans and the workers' activities. 

Unfortunately, many businesses lack a mechanism or system to translate their abstract visions and plans into measurable outputs, so that every person in the organisation knows exactly what outputs they are expected to produce and how those outputs are to be measured. This would ensure that everybody knows exactly what they have to do on Monday morning in order to achieve results. This system describes the process to hierarchically and mathematically connect the organisation's vision to the daily actions of the people doing the work. It is a process to implement strategy. 

The system identifies and describes the steps which must be followed to create strategic alignment in your organisation. The starting point would be the development of the organisation's strategic plan. This would involve the development of a vision, mission and strategy for the organisation. This must then be translated into outputs, measures, targets and feedback systems for the departments and teams that make up the organisation. These are then cascaded down the organisation in such a way that it is localised, meaningful, understood and owned by every team in the organisation. The cascading process ensures alignment and linkage between the organisation's strategic goals and the outputs, measures, targets and action plans of the people doing the work. 

Our strategic alignment process is made up of the following steps: 

  1.   Create a unified sense of direction
  2.   Assess the environment
  3.   Formulate strategy
  4.   Identify stakeholders
  5.   Develop outputs
  6.   Develop performance measures
  7.   Set targets
  8.   Identify resource requirements and set action plans
  9.   Build a Balanced Scorecard
  10.   Establish a feedback system against which progress can be compared

Book content

Complete strategic alignment system

  • The total system, inclusive of all the modules below (described above)

Strategic alignment introduction

  • This module introduces the system being described and explains how to use the modules in the system. It is necessary if you are going to be using most of the modules in the system, as opposed to just one.

Big picture

  • There is a lot more to total and continuous performance improvement than just measuring performance, or developing goals, or putting in a new system. One of the dangers of working in an unsystematic and piecemeal manner is that it is possible to do more harm than good to the complex arrangement of systems that make up an organisation. Nothing short of a purposeful, total and systematic approach will suffice if continuous, and especially sustained, performance improvement is to be achieved.
  • The Big Picture provides a summary of our total system approach to performance improvement, which we call the basic components of team performance. These are the basic components necessary to improve performance: individual performance, team performance and organisational performance. The aim is to implement these basics to a level where sustained performance improvement can be achieved.

The planning system

  • This provides an overview of the planning system and is very useful for gaining a contextual understanding of the system. It explains the business planning system and describes the need for the system, but does not address implementation issues.

Unified sense of direction

  • This basic component of team performance is best summed up by the phrase, one team, one direction. Achieving this requires a shared vision. The entire company, and all the teams and the individuals which make it up, must be pulling in the same direction. Every member of every team needs to accept responsibility for that part of the company over which they have some control.
  • To achieve a unified sense of direction there needs to be agreement at all levels on what the organisation values, what it does, where it is headed and how it plans to get there. The first step requires clarity, focus and agreement about the organisation's values, vision and mission. Values, vision and mission on their own, however, do not equal a unified sense of direction. They are organisational tools used sometimes well, and sometimes not so well, to create a sense of direction. A workbook component is included to help you apply the concepts.

Environmental analysis

The purpose of this section is to help you assess how your organisation is currently operating. This module will help you:

  • Identify how your organisation is currently operating in terms of the strengths and weaknesses the organisation possesses in the internal environment, and the opportunities and threats it faces in the external environment;
  • To enable you to develop a strategy that will utilise your organisations strengths; manage its weaknesses; take advantage of the opportunities in the environment and minimise the impact of the environmental threats.
  • Clarifying where the organisation is going in the future, and analysing where it is now is important. The rest of the business plan will revolve around closing the gap between where the organisation wants to be and where it is now.
  • A workbook component is included to help you apply the concepts.

Strategy formulation 

  • Once you have worked out where the organisation wants to be in terms of a vision, mission and values, and dealt with where the organisation is now in terms of an environmental scan, you then need to deal with how the organisation gets from where it is, to where it wants to be.
  • Strategy is the overall game plan or map to help direct the organisation from where it is to where it wants to be. Strategy is usually expressed in medium term (1 to 3 year) statements or goals about where the organisation is going.
  • A good strategic plan, which includes a vision, provides the blueprint for coordination, direction and teamwork.
  • A workbook component is included to help you apply the concepts.

Total stakeholder satisfaction

  • To optimise the organisation system there needs to be an emphasis on the rigorously measured demands and expectations of all stakeholders. Stakeholders could include owners, external customers, internal customers, the government, employees and suppliers. A firm understanding of the customer's and stakeholder's identity is essential for achieving results. You can't satisfy customer and stakeholder needs unless you know exactly who the customers and stakeholders are.
  • Once stakeholders have been identified, their expectations must be clearly defined so that team's can focus around meeting and exceeding expectations. A workbook component is included to help you apply the concepts.
  • Suggested modules to complete together with this one: How to develop Outputs and Performance Measures; Target Setting.

How to develop outputs and performance measures

  • The process of translating strategy into daily action begins with stakeholder identification, followed by a rigorous process of identifying stakeholder expectations. This module on how to develop outputs and performance measures are the first two steps in a three-step process.
  • Outputs are the value-added end results of a process which are produced by an individual or a team for an internal or external customer.
  • Performance measures are units of measure used to assess whether outputs are achieved.
  • This module shows how to develop outputs and performance measures.
  • Step three, Target Setting is dealt with in a module of its own.
  • A workbook component is included to help you apply the concepts.
  • Suggested modules to complete together with this one: Total Stakeholder Satisfaction, Target Setting.

Target setting

Note: This module should be completed together with How to develop Outputs and Performance Measures for a complete understanding.

  • Targets are written aspirations for what the organisation must achieve in the short term to achieve breakthrough performance in its strategic goals. Targets are expectations of short term achievement along the long term strategic path the organisation has chosen. They are short term milestones, identifying where they expect to be weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually, along the road to strategic goal achievement.
  • Targets define, in precise terms, particular levels for the delivery of outputs. They tell us what we should achieve in terms of quality and quantity, as well as the time frame for the achievement of the target. Targets drive, measure, control and improve performance. They are a key contributor to organisation success.
  • This module shows how to set targets against outputs and performance measures.
  • A workbook component is included to help you apply the concepts.

Resource requirements and action planning

  • Any target-setting system is only as successful as the results it achieves after it has been implemented.
  • To achieve targets, resources and action plans are required.
  • Resources could include the equipment, materials, skills, people and money needed to achieve targets.
  • Action plans refer to a step-by-step plan which will lead to the achievement of a target.
  • This module concerns itself with defining the resource requirements and putting the plan into action.
  • A workbook component is included to help you apply the concepts.

Balanced scorecard

  • This module provides an overview to building a Balanced Scorecard System. For a complete how to guide, we refer you to our Balanced Scorecard System.
  • The balanced scorecard is a systematic approach to implement strategy. It is a process used to connect the organisation's vision to the daily actions of the people doing the work. By developing the business unit's strategic plan, and translating it into outputs, measures, targets and feedback systems, and then cascading it down the business unit, the link between strategic goals and the outputs, measures, targets and action plans of the people doing the work can be made. In short, the balanced scorecard is a structured way of building a performance measurement system that links outputs, measures and targets directly to strategy. The process enables resource allocations, annual budgets and strategic decisions all to be driven by the strategy. The performance management system becomes a process to implement strategy.
  • The module identifies and summarises the steps which must be followed to implement a balanced scorecard system.

Performance-linked communication

  • Performance-linked Communication focuses on communication from a performance point of view. It answers the question 'What communication skills, systems and processes are needed to improve performance, to improve the delivery of outputs to customers and stakeholders?' A successful communication system must have entrenched mechanisms for communicating, analysing and discussing performance feedback on the outputs produced for customers and stakeholders so as to continuously improve productivity, quality and team work.
  • For a complete how to guide to building a performance-linked communication system, we refer you to our Performance-linked Communication System.

Implementation: guidelines and pitfalls

  • Implementation: Guidelines and pitfalls provides guidelines for implementation and pitfalls to avoid when implementing any performance improvement/change management system into an organisation. This module is based on the experience gained and the lessons learned from over 20 years of hands-on implementation in the field.

Case studies and team models

  • Case Studies and team models is a selection of case studies written by Australian organisational teams that have implemented our business planning process as well as model examples of some of the relevant basic components of team performance pertaining to business planning, selected from live teams.