Is Your Organization Aligned with Your Strategy?

Make sure your organization is aligned with your strategy. It’s not enough to communicate the strategy.
Two examples:
Example #1: I was called with an urgent need by a gas and electric company to help with change management. The company had a strategic imperative to implement an SAP enterprise-wide resource management (ERP) system, yet the implementation was failing because people refused to use the new system.
I discovered that employees weren’t the problem; it was senior management.
When asked if they should work on the SAP implementation or department objectives, managers would say, “Work on our department objectives. SAP is finance’s program.”
Once I made that clear to the senior team that they were not in alignment, the SAP implementation moved ahead and was completed on time and under budget.
Example #2: A major nationwide broadband company needed it’s customer service reps to improve both solving customer problems on the first time and up-selling additional services.
They conducted an extensive training program for thousands of customer service reps at five major call centers of 250-500 seats and ten other call centers with 100 or more seats each. They put thousands of call center employees through training to to ensure customers were getting their problems solved the first time and offering them more services.
After all the training, the customer service measures showed little change in customer satisfaction or increased sales.
Here’s what employees told me:
“Yes, I know we’re supposed to increase customer satisfaction and cross-sell.”
“Why do you think it’s not happening?”
“Because our pay is determined by ‘handle time’ – the less time we spend with each customer, the more customers we talk to and the more money our incentive pays.”
We changed the incentives and immediately began seeing the desired results.
My point: It’s not enough to have a strategy, you must ensure alignment throughout the organization.

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