It’s a new year. And with a new year comes the desire to find balance in our personal lives. Balance looks like alignment when you take it into the workplace. Add some purpose behind it? Now you’ve got strategic alignment.
Strategic alignment is when “all elements of a business — including the market strategy and the way the company itself is organized — are arranged in such a way as to best support the fulfillment of its long-term purpose.”Harvard Business Review
Sounds euphoric. Sounds unachievable. Unattainable. And yes, a constant state of alignment in a large organization sounds like a tall tale. However, strategic alignment, across divisions of an organization, is in fact not only attainable, it’s maintainable.
We have the best intentions of aligning. Who doesn’t want a symbiotic relationship with their colleagues across departments? But life and work and division goals can get in the way. Yet alignment is, no matter the size of your business, critical to success in the long run. You can run fast and hard at a goal without alignment, but in the end, without support, achieving the accolades or leaping for the next level of success needed will be much more difficult.
Achieving this type of harmony means putting action behind the strategic alignment. That’s why we have a proprietary way to do this: we call it Connected Cohorts™. Connected Cohorts is a framework that works to connect marketing and sales teams (the Cohorts) by eliminating silos and building bridges inside and outside of an organization.
Sales and marketing out of alignment is the oldest tale in the book. Unhealthy internal competition, misaligned actions, isolated communications and territorial KPIs. This causes people with the best of intentions making a product or providing a service to miss the mark when they go to market. It usually stems from a disconnection that limits everyone’s individual and company contribution. And it’s a conduit straight to failure.
Connected Cohorts unlocks and unleashes the inherent power of marketing and sales teams to help companies achieve a new level of results. Everyone’s happier, more productive, and (no coincidence) the company is more fiscally successful. By embracing the investment made already in tools and processes, the Connected Cohorts framework mitigates limitations through cross-functional collaboration and coordination.
The framework itself is a combination of in-depth internal interviews that bring forward the long-term purpose (or lack thereof) that divisions of an organization are working towards. Then we facilitate, continuing to listen closely to clues and challenges, in an in-person workshop environment specially crafted for the company, the challenge, and the Cohorts. It’s a chance for Cohorts from sales, marketing, strategy and execution to come together to share and collaborate on what moves their departments — and what holds them back.
It’s magic. And it’s also down to earth. Because we apply a strategic and executional lens to the magic to create a plan and vision for Connected Cohorts at an organization. That living, breathing digital artifact is a plan. It is the action behind the strategic alignment that will achieve success. Across Cohorts, divisions, teams — and from colleague to colleague.
And that’s how you put strategic alignment into action.