Total Alignment: Tools and Tactics for Streamlining Your Organization

Total Alignment: Tools and Tactics for Streamlining Your Organization

by Riaz Khadem, Linda Khadem

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Overview

Total Alignment: Tools and Tactics for Streamlining Your Organization by Riaz Khadem, Linda Khadem

ALIGN YOUR BUSINESS FOR SUCCESS

From overarching vision to individual competency scorecards, Total Alignment arms you with powerful concepts and tools to run a successful, efficient business. No matter what size or type of business you run, business strategy experts Riaz Khadem and Linda Khadem show you how to align your team and operations from the ground up and from the top down.

Total Alignment is the result of innovative thinking, solid research, and thirty successful years of consulting experience with major companies. Whether your team struggles most with communication, accountability, or motivation, this book will help you inspire your organization to produce efficiently, engage in the company's vision, and hold each other accountable for solid, sustained progress. Implement these concepts and tools to gain coherence, strength, and value:

  • Measure and narrow alignment gaps in key areas of your business using the Alignment Survey
  • Plan for your company’s growth and measure it along the way with the Alignment Map
  • Define clear roles and responsibilities for each member of your team to ensure accountability with Accountability Assignment worksheets
  • Eliminate silos, inefficiencies, and redundancies with the one page management strategy
  • Set short- and long-term goals that add value to each branch of the company as well as the business as a whole

Plus, gain access to easy-to-use templates to analyze your company’s alignment, including Business and Individual Scorecards, the Competency Worksheet, an Action Plan Commitment chart, and the Performance and Effort Indexes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781599186016
Publisher: Entrepreneur Press
Publication date: 05/16/2017
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 636,260
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author


Riaz Khadem, CEO & President of Infotrac, is an expert in strategy deployment, performance management, leadership, and cultural transformation. He was born in Iran and spent most of his adult life in the US, UK, and Canada. He was educated at the Universities of Illinois, Harvard and Oxford, and has held academic positions at the Universities of Southampton in the UK, Northwestern in the US and Laval in Canada. Although he enjoyed the academic life, he realized that business was his true calling and made a major career shift into consulting.

Dr. Khadem's first project was with Bell Canada where he provided advice on the design of an integrated information system for Bell customers. His next project was to collaborate with a French company in building a large social services system. In 1980 he joined Peat Marwick Mitchell & Company in Chicago to deliver consulting advice to several of its large clients. While in this position he was invited by Fran Tarkenton to join his consulting group in Atlanta. He partnered with Fran and started Tarkenton Information Systems in 1981.

In 1984 Dr. Khadem started his own firm, Infotrac, Inc., and began building a consulting business based on the innovative concepts he had developed for information management and usage. He incorporated these concepts into a book entitled One Page Management published with a colleague, Bob Lorber as co-author. Ken Blanchard, the well-known author of The One Minute Manager was particularly intrigued with the book and offered to write a foreword for it.

One Page Management was published in the US by William Morrow in 1986 and was soon after published in Japan, England, Australia, Germany and nine other countries. The response to One Page Management was overwhelmingly positive, and resulted in hundreds of invitations to speak to managers and to provide advice to companies worldwide — in the manufacturing, transportation, insurance, banking, and retail sectors.

Dr. Khadem has advised major companies around the world, including GE Capital Mortgage, Avery Dennison, United Technologies Essex Group, Coca Cola Femsa, British Home Stores, Mothercare, Volksfürsorge, Hippo Bank, and Grupo Bimbo, Liverpool, Grupo Gondi, Sofftek, Grupo Guaymex, Tecnomec and other Mexican companies. This is his first book with Entrepreneur Press.

Read an Excerpt

Total Alignment

Tools and tactics for streamlining Your organization


By Riaz Khadem, Linda Khadem

Entrepreneur Press

Copyright © 2017 Entrepreneur Media, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-59918-601-6



CHAPTER 1

The Need for Alignment


Let's begin with the case study we mentioned in the introduction. This running case study appears at the beginning of each chapter. In this chapter, you will get to know Brian, the CEO of XCorp, a large and successful group of companies in need of alignment. You will learn what we mean by alignment and why it is so critical to the success of an organization.


THE CASE STUDY

BRIAN SCOTT, the CEO of XCorp Group, walked into a crowded conference hall in Chicago and took his seat in the front row. He was scheduled to deliver the keynote address. Brian had been invited to speak because of his success in turning around an ailing company during the previous year, as well as his recent acquisition of a successful high-tech start up.

When his name was announced, he walked to the podium and surveyed the large crowd. He glanced down at his notes and confidently launched into his speech. Brian spoke about the type of leadership he had provided as XCorp Group's CEO. He communicated his vision for the expanded organization and his forecast of industry trends. He explained why TechCorp, a newly acquired company, was the right fit for the XCorp Group.

When Brian finished, he opened up the floor to questions. A young woman in the sixth row raised her hand and asked how Brian was planning to integrate the culture of the entrepreneurial acquisition with that of the larger group of companies. "Great question," Brian replied. It was a good question and was right on point. Brian knew he had taken on some risk by acquiring a startup with a distinct culture, but it was a calculated risk with the potential of phenomenal returns.

As Brian answered the woman with an optimistic explanation, his eyes fell upon a familiar face a few rows behind her. He was happy to recognize Mark Wesley. Mark had been a trusted advisor to Brian when he had first become the CEO of XCorp and was struggling to turn the company around. Brian had affectionately given him the name "Infoman" because he had solved many of Brian's information problems.

Brian proceeded to call on other people and field questions. When his time was up, he left the platform and pushed his way through the milling crowd hoping to greet Mark, the "Infoman," but Mark was gone. Brian shook hands with a few friends and colleagues and then made his way to his suite on the executive floor. Entering the room, he saw an envelope propped up on the credenza. Inside the envelope was a note that read, "Congratulations! And best wishes for the challenge you've taken on." It was signed, "The Infoman." Brian smiled as he read the message from his old friend and advisor. Mark knew that Brian loved a challenge, even though he viewed it as more of an opportunity. Taking on a new acquisition was both.

TechCorp was the brainchild of Norman Evans, an exceptionally gifted and creative entrepreneur who had started the company 15 years earlier with little capital but great ideas. From scratch he had built up a $75 million business but then opted to sell. Brian wasn't sure why Norman decided to sell, but assumed that the company was having difficulty "scaling up" or moving from a successful startup to a high-growth company. TechCorp was still relatively small, but Brian could see that it had great potential. He had studied the numbers, done his due diligence, and then made the owner an attractive offer. Norm happily accepted. Brian was hoping that this startup would become a source of research and development (R&D) for XCorp and that it would complement XCorp Group's other products and services.

Brian was right. TechCorp was scaling up and had hit a stage many entrepreneurial organizations know all too well: a challenge with capital. Norm's vision was to move beyond the inflection point, the point at which a company is too small to be big and too big to be small, and become a major player in the industry. That vision, unfortunately, hadn't panned out. He had put tremendous effort into obtaining a source of funding that wouldn't cause him to give up too much control. But every source he had turned to insisted on securing the controlling share in his company. He had also researched and found a professional CEO whom he hoped would bring new energy to the organization and enable it to get to the next level. But Peter Bergman, the new CEO, hadn't worked out the way Norm had hoped. Peter had his own agenda and had made several bad judgment calls that had actually hurt TechCorp. Norm was on the verge of getting rid of Peter and looking for someone else when Brian Scott entered the picture and made him an offer he literally couldn't refuse. So, he sold TechCorp. He had a few twinges of regret, but mostly he just felt relief and gratitude for the excellent deal.

Alignment challenges with TechCorp began a couple of months after the public lecture where Brian had seen his old advisor. Suddenly, the new acquision lost its two largest accounts. Brian was concerned and wanted to learn the cause. He called the CEO, Peter, but found him evasive and unhelpful.

Brian decided to take a trip to the West Coast and visit the headquarters of TechCorp. After he arrived, he immediately set up headquarters in the conference room. He began his investigations by talking with Andrew Carlson, the director of sales. He was surprised and concerned to discover that despite a clear strategy developed at a planning meeting six months earlier, each area had continued to pursue its own agenda. The strategy was to focus on growing the core business, eliminating non-core products, and leveraging technology as the company's competitive advantage. To grow the core business aggressively, the strategy included implementing an integrated software system. It became clear that Andrew had not agreed with the strategy of eliminating non-core products because he felt they were still viable. To prove his point, he had continued pushing those products with existing customers as well as targeting new customers. Meanwhile, the sales people, busy promoting two of the non-core products, failed to spend time with important key customers.

The operations manager had fought to maintain the existing software system, which he had designed himself a couple of years before. So he passively resisted the new software and did little to support its testing and implementation. When complaints came in from customers about the software conversion, they were given excuses rather than solutions. There were also issues in marketing. The marketing people were promoting products the sales people were not actively pushing, thus creating expectations that were not met.

"All in all a rudderless ship," Brian thought to himself. He decided that the first step in getting TechCorp back on track would be to fire Peter, the CEO. Although it was a drastic measure, Brian could see that Peter was not working out. No doubt Norman, as he was struggling to get control of his business, had hired a CEO to help him manage and to put systems in place. This particular hire was a clear mistake. Peter certainly should have been able to prevent the loss of the two key accounts.


ALIGN IT: DEFINING ALIGNMENT AND MISALIGNMENT

TechCorp shows an example of a company that has become misaligned. What does that mean, exactly? Think of it like a train that goes off the rails. The train still has momentum, but it's direction is unpredictable. For example, although a strategy had been developed, it was being ignored. People were following their own agendas with little regard as to what impact their actions would have on the success of the company. They were actively working against the strategy or passively resisting it. There seemed to be no coherent vision, and leadership was poor. These behaviors exist in many organizations (even in ones that haven't been recently acquired), resulting in a lack of focus on what really matters — serving the customers. But how do you determine if your company is misaligned? Let's first look at a picture of what we mean by alignment.

An organization is aligned when the following conditions exist:

-> It has a unified purpose, a clear vision, and a strategy aligned with the vision.

-> Individuals are accountable for their contribution to vision and strategy.

-> Employees have clearly defined responsibilities supported by key information to track their progress.

-> Individual competencies are aligned with team accountabilities.

-> Behaviors are congruent with values.

-> Teams at the right levels are empowered to develop and implement action plans to improve results. Cross-functional responsibilities are clearly defined, and spaces are provided for joint resolution of problems, so silos disappear.

-> Compensation is linked to performance.


This definition describes the approach to alignment that aims to focus people within the organization on their accountability for the processes necessary to turn vision into reality and on collaboration across functions to continually improve the processes.

Here is our definition of misalignment. A company is misaligned when people pursue goals and agendas that are incongruent with each other and do not combine to effectively advance a single purpose. One way to determine the extent to which your company is misaligned is to watch for the symptoms we describe below:

->Decision making takes too long. Slow decision making decreases the momentum needed for growth and puts your company at a competitive disadvantage, particularly when you are competing with aggressive competitors and more agile organizations. There could be legitimate reasons for taking time to make decisions. However, if the slow pace is caused by lack of clarity as to who should make the decision, or poor understanding of the vision and strategy of the organization, then these conditions paralyze the ability to act and are indicators of the lack of alignment.

->Too many meetings. Meetings are necessary for exchanging thoughts and ideas, making plans, and reviewing progress. But many organizations are stifled by too many long and unfocused meetings that waste time and drain productivity. If this is the case in your company, the underlying cause could be lack of clear definition of accountability. When it is unclear who is accountable, then everyone is accountable and too many people are invited to meetings. In organizations hampered by a strict hierarchical culture, functional managers find it necessary to be present in meetings, or send their representatives to attend. As a result, meetings become too large and too long for effective action, and little progress is made when the meeting is over.

->Overload of emails. When we talk about the overload of emails, we are not referring to the overload of junk emails. Those can be eliminated by your computer software. We are talking about legitimate emails that people receive and cannot ignore. Highly skilled, knowledgeable workers spend too much of their time managing emails. While important emails should be answered, a large number of emails are unnecessary. One main reason why emails are often sent in such volumes is because responsibilities are not clearly defined in many organizations and managers feel they need to copy a long list of people to protect their actions from criticism or to respect hierarchical protocols. Overload of emails could be an indicator of misalignment.

->Silos exist. "Silo" is a business term used to refer to departments working as separate units and not sharing information with other departments in the same company. The lack of communication may be intentional or unintentional. Functional units often become turfs that guard information and interests. Silos exist in organizations of all sizes. The story of TechCorp is an example of silos in a medium-sized company. The marketing department, the sales department, and the operations and IT department were all working as silos, not sharing information or communicating. The existence of silos is an indication of misalignment.

->Lack of clarity of responsibility. When responsibilities are not clearly defined, either no one is taking charge, or someone is taking charge who might not be the right person, or several people are fighting for control. These scenarios have varying effects on the bottom line of the company. When the results are good, then there is a tendency for people to compete to get the credit. When the results are bad, people could engage in finger pointing and assigning blame to each other. These are all symptoms of misalignment.

->Lack of empowerment at lower levels. If the lower levels in your organization don't feel empowered to make decisions, then you might be experiencing misalignment. The employees on the front line are the ones who sell the product, deliver the product, and serve the customers. When they are not empowered to act and are merely waiting to receive instructions from their managers, customers suffer and customer loyalty is lost. This is an important symptom of misalignment. You want your lower levels to be empowered with clear definition of responsibilites, as they are your link to customers, with the important role of helping your company align with the market.

->Communication is selective to protect individual interests. If you sense that communication among people is not open and free flowing, or if people are cautious about sharing information, you could have an alignment problem. Information is not owned by turfs. It belongs to the entire company and should be available to whomever has a legitimate need for it. When a manager and a direct report converse, if the direct report selectively shares information or hides information from the boss, no useful outcome will result from the meeting.

Lack of motivation in the organization. This is a general malaise you find in misaligned organizations. It is the result of multiple misaligned elements we described in the definition. Lack of motivation leads to apathy, where people have the attitutde of "whatever." Apathy is a serious condition that can impact your success. It is the opposite of being unified in purpose, having a clear vision and a strategy for success.

->Confusion and rumors. Earlier, we described what alignment looks like in an organization. When that picture is absent, then your people become confused as to where your organization is going, what they should do and why. When people are left confused for too long, many revert to gossip, sharing opinions and news that could become distractive or distructive. Confusion and rumors are the byproducts of a misaligned organization.

These symptoms are present in different degrees in companies of all sizes. If you detect these symptoms, you may wish to explore further the extent of misalignment in your company. We have developed an assessment instrument that is described in the "Apply It" section below. It has been used with companies from less than $1 million in sales up to the size of $4 billion. It can help you prevent the type of issues that Brian discovered at TechCorp.


APPLY IT: ASSESS YOUR LEVEL OF ALIGNMENT

The assessment instrument we are introducing in this section has seven categories. We describe the categories and why they are important below. Further, we explain how specific chapters of this book help can you improve alignment in the category.

->Focus and direction. This measures the degree to which the focus of your people is directed to achieve a unified purpose. Whether you are a small company or a large one, the people in your organization must be focused on delivering your vision and strategy. If they are not, they will focus either on their own agenda or other activities that will divert energy, cause confusion, and impede the progress of your company. What is the cost of lack of focus and direction? It is difficult to calculate an exact cost. But, for example, if 30 percent of the workforce is not aligned with vision and strategy, that 30 percent translates into 30 percent of your payroll that lacks focus and direction. This is a huge percentage of energy that is dispersed. Imagine the costs both in terms of human capital and actual costs that are incurred. But how do you focus people on the vision and strategy of your organization? You focus everyone by delegating the accountability for the elements of vision and strategy to the appropriate individuals at appropriate levels in the organization. This is explained in Chapter 6.

->Strategy execution. This measures the degree to which your strategy is implemented or executed in your company. Strategy execution is the key to success and yet many organizations fail in this regard. According to business expert Paul Sharman, as quoted in Business Finance, nine out of ten businesses fail to implement their strategic plan: 60 percent build a strategy that doesn't fit the budget, 75 percent fail to link incentives to strategy and 95 percent of employees fail to understand the organization's strategy. Failed strategies put companies at risk and damage their competitive position. The cause of failed strategies is poor execution. How can you align to improve execution of strategy? This is explained in detail in Chapters 4 through 7. Briefly, you define individual scorecards for everyone that establishes clear accountability for executing strategy. You provide training and support to help your people understand what good execution looks like, and you establish a systematic follow up mechanism. Monthly attention to scorecards followed by corrective action improves strategy execution.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Total Alignment by Riaz Khadem, Linda Khadem. Copyright © 2017 Entrepreneur Media, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Entrepreneur Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword José Antonio Fernández Carbajal, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, FEMSA xiii

Preface xvii

Introduction xxi

Who Should Read this Book? xxiii

The Book Format xxv

Takeaways and Tools xxv

Chapter 1 The Need for Alignment 1

The Case Study 1

Align It: Defining Alignment and Misalignment 4

Apply It: Assess Your Level of Alignment 8

The Next Steps 14

Chapter 2 Unifying the Vision 15

The Case Study 15

Align It: Understanding the Role of Mission and Vision 16

Apply It: Design Your Mission and Vision Statements 21

The Next Steps 26

Chapter 3 Measuring the Vision 27

The Case Study 27

Align It: Measuring Vision 28

Apply It: Create Your Vision Tree 31

The Next Steps 36

Chapter 4 Aligning Strategy 39

The Case Study 39

Align It: Aligning Various Business Strategies 40

Apply It: Build Your Strategy Tree 46

The Next Steps 51

Chapter 5 The Alignment Map 55

The Case Study 55

Align It: Measuring Strategic Initiatives 57

Apply It: Construct Your Alignment Map 61

The Next Steps 63

Chapter 6 Accountability 65

The Case Study 65

Align It: Creating a Framework for Accountability 66

Apply It: Assign Accountability Factors to Your Team 72

The Next Steps 77

Chapter 7 The Scorecard 79

The Case Study 79

Align It: Constructing Individual Scorecards 80

Apply It: Build Your Team and Company Scorecards 86

The Next Steps 88

Chapter 8 Three One-Page Reports 89

The Case Study 89

Align It: Using Accurate Reporting to Track Alignment 90

Apply It: Customize Your Focus, Feedback, and Management Reports 96

The Next Steps 104

Chapter 9 Aligning Competency 105

The Case Study 105

Align It: Establishing and Measuring Criteria for Competency 106

Apply It: Develop Your Competency Worksheet 112

The Next Steps 117

Chapter 10 Aligning with Values 119

The Case Study 119

Align It: Changing Behaviors Using a Value System 121

Apply It: Create Your Value-Behavior Tree 125

The Next Steps 128

Chapter 11 Aligning for Results 129

The Case Study 129

Align It: Reviewing Team Results, Assessing Outcomes, and Creating Action 130

Apply It: Conduct Your Team Review 141

The Next Steps 149

Chapter 12 Coaching for Results 151

The Case Study 151

Align It: Coaching Your Team with Vertical Reviews 152

Apply It: Implement Your Vertical Review Process 158

The Next Steps 163

Chapter 13 Aligning Compensation 165

The Case Study 165

Align It: Integrating Alignment and Compensation 166

Apply It: Develop Your Performance and Effort Index 171

The Next Steps 173

Chapter 14 Implementing Total Alignment 175

The Case Study 175

Align It: Leading the Change Process 177

Apply It: Tips and Guidelines for Total Alignment 179

The Last Chapter 182

Chapter 15 A New Vision of Alignment 183

The Case Study 183

Align It: Applying a Global Total Alignment Vision 185

Apply It: Consider Your Global Corporate Responsibility 186

Epilogue 187

Glossary 189

About the Authors 193

Index 195

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Total Alignment takes Riaz Khadem’s terrific One Page Management technique to the next level. It’s a blueprint for moving any organizational team forward towards the greater good.”

Ken Blanchard, Coauthor of The New One Minute Manager® and Collaboration Begins with You

Total Alignment helps everyone in a company focus on what’s important and truly generates value, thus shaping a collaborative culture within the firm. For us it has been a culture-changing philosophy.”

Graciano Guichard CEO of Liverpool Department Stores

“Well written, filled with useful, practical gems, without needless fluff, Total Alignment is perfect for the busy executive looking for quick, digestible knowledge that is equally easy to apply.”

Jenny Carrillo, VP of Account Management, American Well

Total Alignment has allowed us to survive difficult financial times and helped us thrive using a simple group of processes that helped align our vision for the years to come with complete and total accountability.”

Norberto Sanchez, CEO of Norsan Group

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Total Alignment: Tools and Tactics for Streamlining Your Organization 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
S-Zebarjadi More than 1 year ago
As a veteran business leader and executive I have benefitted from reading “Total Alignment” greatly and have found it to be helpful as globalization of enterprises requires a new look at any institution, of any size, to evaluate and examine its vision, goals and objectives, assess its resources and instill a winning strategy for success in the very competitive corporate environment. “Total Alignment” is an outstandingly valuable tool assisting executives and decision makers to lead their institutions to reach and surpass their capacity for success. The book is a wonderful read, citing case studies, analyzing each case thoroughly and providing scientific solutions. Charts and graphics are particularly very helpful. Through its well-structures 15 chapters, the book reflects on the need for aligning the business, and walks the reader through consecutive pertinent steps for implementing the most effective strategies for solid and proven success results. I will not be surprised if readers find one or more of the case studies similar to their own experiences and find a sound solution to their specific conditions. I strongly believe that business executive teams will greatly benefit from studying “Total Alignment” collectively, discuss and consult upon its contents and consider implementing its solutions. Not only this manner of studying the book generate a unified vision, it will assist in augmenting strategies for achieving outstanding goals. I also strongly believe that the academia and university students will greatly benefit from this book. From reading the book I have learned that the authors of “Total Alignment” are international lecturers and as business coaches have guided countless organizations in the United States and different countries and it is beneficial for the readers to profit from their vast and successful experience. With enthusiasm I strongly recommend this book to entrepreneurs, business executives and leaders, academia and college students.
S-Zebarjadi More than 1 year ago
As a veteran business leader and executive I have benefitted from reading “Total Alignment” greatly and have found it to be helpful as globalization of enterprises requires a new look at any institution, of any size, to evaluate and examine its vision, goals and objectives, assess its resources and instill a winning strategy for success in the very competitive corporate environment. “Total Alignment” is an outstandingly valuable tool assisting executives and decision makers to lead their institutions to reach and surpass their capacity for success. The book is a wonderful read, citing case studies, analyzing each case thoroughly and providing scientific solutions. Charts and graphics are particularly very helpful. Through its well-structures 15 chapters, the book reflects on the need for aligning the business, and walks the reader through consecutive pertinent steps for implementing the most effective strategies for solid and proven success results. I will not be surprised if readers find one or more of the case studies similar to their own experiences and find a sound solution to their specific conditions. I strongly believe that business executive teams will greatly benefit from studying “Total Alignment” collectively, discuss and consult upon its contents and consider implementing its solutions. Not only this manner of studying the book generate a unified vision, it will assist in augmenting strategies for achieving outstanding goals. I also strongly believe that the academia and university students will greatly benefit from this book. From reading the book I have learned that the authors of “Total Alignment” are international lecturers and as business coaches have guided countless organizations in the United States and different countries and it is beneficial for the readers to profit from their vast and successful experience. With enthusiasm I strongly recommend this book to entrepreneurs, business executives and leaders, academia and college students.