Unearthing Traditional Thinking on Strategic Alignment

8 Apr

If you slice and dice any strategy; then it just becomes a planned “fruit salad”


We need structures and functions to be sterile. Over segmentation and the division of the organisation into more or less autonomous strategic business units, that specialise, and start doing things that are not traditionally their function, with the duplication of functions and elements of strategy are never wise; it’s a recipe for sure disaster.

Where one department also share the next department’s functions, when nonetheless, they both have dissimilar core functions; for instance, where finance and HR – Human Resources – want to both share the final authority to approve leave for instance…then we have successfully created potential conflict. We see and have many such instances in business today, why?

I am sure we have heard it before, and with good reason, it’s the truth, a fact of life. That “Apples belong with Apples”, and then “Pears with Pears”, then fruit with fruit and meat with meat; so the structure stays healthy. Like with like.

Even in nature, we don’t get one tree brining forth several varieties of fruit, and a lamb will never give you pork chops, and beef fillets when slaughtered.

No its one tree with one type of fruit only. Order in all things must prevail, it is the first rule of nature, and then, then we see balance prevail, when rules triumph. Only humans have disturbed this natural order of things, subliminally we have an in bread tendency to do it, daily. How does this become relevant to strategy you may ask? It is logic! You think? Then why do we find so much chaos all over. Again, it is a contest of our will, and our minds competing – logic and reason.

Well the point I want to drive home here today is this; Duplication is waist, and always bottlenecks enterprise at some point. We get many examples of misalignments, overlapping, and diversification…of business functions, we need to gauge the impact and results of all these aspects of doing “business unusual”,  to see if it is good business practice, best practice, or just plain smart or not?

If not, then we need to re-think our “logic”. The same principle applies with all things strategically relevant, that need to comply with logic, and reason, then natural laws;

1)You must decide what you want from your strategy and be very specific with the results expected; then only will you be able to move to;

  • When you want it, how you want it, and how much of it you want, specifics is key to getting some required detail, to create order with, that sprouts required balance, in structuring events and elements of strategy

2)Your mind can only think critical if we deal with one aspect at a time

  • We need to see it in order to have it done; same with functions, if all things reside with one person, or department, then we have created order, then follows structure and it results in balance. Then we know with a certainty who, what, where, when, and how…

3)Don’t waver; a woman is never half pregnant, she is or she’s not, we are either going for it flat out, or not at all…

  • You must do things with conviction; half hearted effort does not boil the food well, like true passion will boil it over. Don’t have disproportionate efforts dealing with aspects, proportionality in all things, equates to balance again. Slicing ad dicing department functions into smaller or different entities, only assist with weakening efficiency…never a good idea.

4)Persistence is the best weapon against stagnation; there is nothing that beats the persistent person and his effort on earth, no rock to hard, no mountain to high, no ocean to wide, no wind to strong, nothing…

  • Make sure you have the right man with the right tool for the job…directing.

5)Be results driven; win small battles, on your way towards winning the bigger wars, to have a successful overall campaign.

  • You cannot manage that which you cannot measure; strategy is all about measures, when segmented and divorced from its normal flow it becomes a fruit salad, a mix of things undistinguishable. Strategy requires differentiation and distinction, we need to be able to say, hay the “banana” has gone rotten, replace… etc. Not possible when you only see fruit salad.

The resolution is taking this avenue;

With “Strategic Targeting” we try to find and identify those things that blur and block our aim, and thus our reality. When we need to see clearly; it is the mental process of – Identify, Clarify, Quantify and defining of our objectives and goals first. We cannot do this if we cannot differentiate or measure what we want, have, etc. Always Identify, Clarify, Quantify for ourselves first, and then start pointing the way for others, with this knowledge. Without strategic targeting to keep us on aim, we tend to want to specialise, then segment and over “divisionallise” to our own detriment.

“Only fools rush in and then onward” on a hunch that is – once again, only when strategic parts stay and remain clear, visible, can we see when they fail, and where.

Clearly understood instructions, and expectations when seeking for solution, come from having set directives to follow. Then we won’t find haphazard management that creates specialisation, and diversification, to stick plasters on soars, cuts and burses, of the organisation due to its misalignment with its strategic intent. By staying true to the requirements of its core function.

Progress is only possible, and felt at the service levels, when we follow clear guidelines and protocol. When our work functions are not segregated or dispersed across many tiers and business functions of the structure, and business units.  Solutions become clear; only when we have a transparent and totally accountable person, people, unit, division, or department as a concept to work with.

The concept must be fully encompassing, and be a total solution. The collective envisions the contemplated solution against; what we know now, or have assumed, and have to work with, vs. who, where, what, when, and how this will solve the problem – and “who” will be responsible.

Only then; will planning become specific and directed – because initiative flows again. Only; when we know who to blame, and then also who to compliment, will we know we have structure that works, and unites people with their work and responsibility. If there is; no direct responsibility, then you will find no discipline, no order, no accountability, no structure ,and then no balance…lots of NO;s just because of one misalignment, take care.

It’s not always about efficiency, but also effectiveness – working hard towards that which is becoming significant – and worthy of our effort and time spent – only then does planning become a useful exercise if it connects its burden with people, to make it their business.

Here at this point, when we see and recognise that strategy has duality – two sides of a coin exiting as one entity. One part peoples things and thinking, and the other part systems and structure that need to unite.

Only if we stay close to this knowledge; then will we create opportunities to make our competition irrelevant…at some point.

Now – Read the book or Ebook; Read more in my new book Strategic Management, The Radical Revolutionary Strategic Management Matrix for Predators by Reinier Geel, now available at Trafford; http://www.trafford.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=339320

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3 Responses to “Unearthing Traditional Thinking on Strategic Alignment”

  1. Charlotte May 6, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    You seems to be an expert in this field, great post and keep up the good work, my friend recommended your blog.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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