For a business to reach its goals, it helps immensely if everyone is on the same page as to what those are. Defining and communicating a company’s strategies lays the groundwork for successful outcomes. So does making sure day-to-day activities and resources align with those goals.
What employees do won’t matter much if they don’t know how it contributes to the big picture. It’s like trying to find a new job without ambition or knowing what skills you bring to the table. You end up blindly sending resumes, going through the motions, without forming connections and finding opportunities that benefit you. In the end, it doesn’t really meet the goal.
While there are many tactical ways to match business operations with outcomes, alignment is an overall process. It’s a practice that brings the various departments in your organization together, increases collaboration, and streamlines what employees do. This article discusses how entrepreneurs can learn to align their operations for better business results.
Identify Data Needs to Support Business Needs
Asking the right questions will do more for your business outcomes than implementing solutions and hoping for the best. Because IT works with tech, marketing drums up creative concepts, and finance crunches the numbers, departments have different perspectives. This can make cross-collaborative communication more challenging and why the wrong or no solution can get put in place.
When departments that are responsible for helping achieve business goals start with the right questions, they can uncover core needs. Maybe both marketing and sales notice they don’t have clean customer data. Some key details employees need to send out targeted emails during network outages are missing. The data team realizes that as data flows across data warehouses and data lakes some customer information is missing.
After uncovering the missing data issue, the data team recommends a data observability solution. By implementing these solutions, the data team can zero in on why records are missing. The team can also identify which apps aren’t syncing information and use observability solutions’ AI/ML capabilities to identify, predict and prevent anomalies and errors. Marketing and customers benefit from more accurate and complete data, especially during crises.
Over Communicate Strategy and Purpose
Communicating the company’s goals and purpose should be a no-brainer. Yet, 95% of employees don’t understand or aren’t aware of their organization’s strategy. This statistic reveals that leaders aren’t communicating company-wide goals as clearly as they could. It could also indicate that managers aren’t using enough communication methods or taking the time to address staff’s questions.
Undoubtedly, some workers will read an email highlighting business objectives and get it. But others need to talk it out in person and clarify what those goals mean to their daily jobs. Some staff members might want to discuss priorities in a meeting and refer back to them on an intranet site. They want to raise questions after they’ve had time to digest the information, perhaps through online forms or individual discussions.
Companies that strongly execute strategies have higher percentages of employees who believe they have the information to do so. The staff understands how implementation impacts their jobs and decisions. However, only 28% percent of workers believe this in businesses that don’t have strong strategic executions. While executives might design and shape company-wide goals, it’s employees who carry them out. To succeed, workers need to grasp the what, when, and why.
For strategies to be achievable, they must also be well-defined and measurable. Establishing key performance indicators helps teams know whether they’re hitting or missing the mark. However, it’s also important to be realistic with your company’s KPIs. You don’t want to set metrics that are so much of a stretch that employees grow frustrated and give up. On the other hand, KPIs shouldn’t be so easy that success is almost guaranteed.
Good key performance indicators go back to identifying business needs. If your goal is to improve the effectiveness of crisis communications, what is a metric that will measure that? You can start with your current gaps or deficiencies to help define that KPI. Let’s say the problem is rooted in negative customer feedback. Too many clients complain they don’t receive notices about upcoming network outages and estimated resolution times.
In this case, your main metric could be the increase in the number of customers who successfully receive outage communications. Theoretically, complaints and negative feedback should also decrease. This could be a secondary KPI to measure the success of your applied solution. Keep in mind that less than desired results don’t always mean you’ve got a mismatched solution. Sometimes the issue lies in learning curves and misunderstandings about solutions’ capabilities.
Keep Assessing Strategies and Supporting Activities
Businesses and environments change. At times, these changes are sudden and unexpected. But more often than not, transformations happen gradually. Reassessing your company’s goals and operations is necessary to stay adaptable and relevant.
Most homeowners don’t expect to keep the same furnace running for 30-plus years. They know heavy-use appliances need maintenance and replacements. New technologies also come on the market, expanding available choices. Likewise, you shouldn’t expect your business goals and operations to stay the same.
What kept the company running successfully for many years might need revisiting. Although your values might not change, you could need to adapt how you carry them out to meet new expectations. Plan to occasionally review business strategies and activities to see if they still match internal and external environments. Readjust for growing pains, changing regulations, new technologies, and shifts in consumer behaviors.
To achieve business goals, everything that happens within a company must move toward appropriate finish lines. Aligning day-to-day operations with strategies is something most entrepreneurs know they need to do. It’s learning how to match the two that often present difficulties. Determining needs, communicating clear and thorough explanations, establishing realistic metrics, and reassessing your methods can help overcome roadblocks to success.