How to Align Departmental Goals with Company Strategy

Have you ever worked at a business where the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing? Sadly, that's more common in organisations than we'd like to admit, and it's a sign that departments are not wholly aligned with the overall business strategy. The result is often siloed groups and information and lower productivity and success. 

Without proper alignment, departments will often operate as isolated entities, chasing goals that don't support or contradict the broader business objectives. This misalignment can lead to inefficiencies, scattered efforts, and outcomes that don't serve the company'scompany's strategy.

You must ensure your team is aligned correctly if you're a departmental head—either a director or middle manager. Here are a few tips to ensure everyone's on the same page and rowing in the same direction. 


Start with Your Vision and Value

To ensure that your departmental goals align with the overall business strategy, it is essential to establish a clear vision. Your vision should incorporate what the company aims to achieve over the next three to five years and should be clearly defined and communicated to your team and peers. Remember your vision and refer back to it frequently to provide direction for strategic decisions and actions.

In addition to a clear vision, creating a detailed value stream map is another crucial component. Take time to understand the processes that transform inputs into outputs, fulfilling customer needs and expectations. These are your value streams, and mapping them out will make it easier to direct your department's activities to deliver value to customers, realising the vision. 


Take these Steps to Align Strategic Goals

Once you have a core vision and value stream map in place, you can take steps to align your department goals with the overarching business goals. Here are the steps I recommend taking that will ensure effective department-business alignment.

Step 1:            Define Strategic Objectives

Establish 3 – 5 priorities that are mission critical to achieving your vision. This might include improving profit margins, enhancing customer satisfaction, or boosting employee engagement. 

Step 2:            Cascade Strategic Priorities into Departmental Objectives

Break down each priority into specific, actionable objectives, ensuring they align with the overarching business goals. For example, if your goal is to increase profit margin, here are a few ways you might translate to different departments.

  • Sales:  Increase top-line revenue using upselling and cross-selling. Develop new relationships to expand the customer base.
  • Operations:  Reduce operational costs by optimising supply chain management and improving process efficiencies.

  • Human Resources:  Recruit and retain top talent, reducing turnover and training costs, thereby indirectly contributing to margin improvement through higher productivity and efficiency.

As you can see, there are steps each department can take, even if generating revenue or managing profit margin isn't part of that department's primary purpose. 

Important note: The objectives above should be formulated in a SMART way. The examples here are just for clarification.

Step 3:            Develop Roles and Responsibilities

To have departmental alignment, your direct reports' roles and responsibilities must also be aligned with organisational objectives. Take the time to review existing job definitions or create them if you haven't already done so. Be sure to include details about the responsibilities for each role and what skills or capabilities are needed to realise the objectives. 

Step 4:            Regularly Review and Adjust

Schedule regular review sessions to monitor progress and adjust departmental goals to ensure continuous alignment with the strategic vision. Use these sessions to reinforce the vision and strategic direction of the organisation.


What Does a Fully Aligned Organisation Look Like?

Once your organisation and departments are better aligned, you'll likely notice a significant change in a few key metrics over time. Enhanced organisational cohesion, for example, is a natural byproduct of alignment and improves overall efficiency and effectiveness. Additionally, your organisation will likely achieve more strategic objectives when departmental actions are directly aligned with strategic goals. You'll also likely see a boost in employee engagement and satisfaction, as clear objectives and defined roles clarify how their efforts contribute to the company's success.


Need help getting your organisation correctly aligned? I'm happy to help! Schedule a clarity call with me to discuss your challenges and what steps you can take to grow your business. 

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