What is alignment?
More specifically, what does alignment refer to in a business management sense and how is it an enabler to sustainable improvement initiatives?
Alignment has applicability to all stages of the improvement process. Whether your company is in its infancy with regards to its improvement efforts or whether you are a large, multi-site outfit with mature CI strategies, the concept of alignment holds enormous value.
In a business management sense. alignment refers most often to the assimilation of and consensus to a set of views pertaining to a company strategy and execution. This means that, for an improvement initiative to truly have a chance of being sustainable, the effort must be acknowledged by and agreed upon by those who’s views matter in the context of the effort itself. This means both management, as well as execution team employees, need to share these views, either naturally and initially or as a result of collaborative education on the benefits of the initiative.
As an example: does management dictate the CI strategy to subordinates, assuming compliance, or is there vertical integration of the strategy within the organization?
The advantage of having alignment when implementing an improvement initiative is that support from better-resourced divisions is natural. Likewise, the motive behind each task is clear and does not require questioning, as everyone shares the same view and end goal. Both lead to less friction at each action, resulting in a higher likelihood that the process, under which the action falls, will stick.
Lastly, alignment can also refer to the optimal distribution of skills within the workforce. Again, as with the alignment of views to a specific end goal, this optimization of workforce skills can have the effect of decreasing the incidence of unnecessary error when conducting an improvement initiative – and we know that higher success rates equal more sustainability.
How does an organization ensure alignment? It’s not easy. A structured, intentional approach is required. For this, we recommend an improvement execution platform to enable you and your organization to deliver on your alignment goals. The EON platform has a built-in strategy feature which allows for your overall improvement strategy to be built out in a visual and transparent way.