Achieving Organizational Alignment

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

In the early 1990s, I was introduced to the concept of organizational alignment by Peter Senge through his masterful book The Fifth Discipline. While the book’s focus was on creating leaning organizations, what resonated with me were the sections on alignment. You see, since 1979 my entire professional focus had been devoted to the development of a methodology to help organizations improve the way they deliver value to stakeholders. Reading Senge’s ideas on alignment was like finding the missing link.

What is striking to me is how elusive the achievement of organizational alignment remains to this day in corporate America. In many ways, aligning the organization is like aligning the spine as it takes continuous adjustments in order to adapt to changing influences of motion, external stimuli and more. However, unlike people, organizations can’t go to a chiropractor for periodic adjustments. Instead, what is needed is the development of an organizational structure and culture that dynamically self-adjusts and recalibrate to an ever-changing environment.

In their whitepaper “Organizational Alignment”, Donald T. Tosti and Stephanie F. Jackson define organizational alignment as follows: “A business discipline that deals with both operational processes and employee behavior on a systemic, outcome-focused basis. “

While this …

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