Is it enough to just have functional strategies? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Strategy must be practical, but strategic alignment across your business is vital. Yet, an astounding 91% of companies are lacking this alignment. This causes them to suffer from things like higher customer acquisition costs and lower lifetime values. And missed revenue growth objectives. There are often a lot of questions surrounding how to get your strategy right, and maintain alignment across functions. In today’s blog, we’ll answer 3 of the most commonly asked questions.
#1 – How do you actually execute your strategy?
Too often there is a flurry of activity at the top. But there’s little to no impact on the field. The strategy becomes useless “fluff.” How can you get the organization focused on execution?
It starts with the strategy itself. Do you have a bunch of tactics masquerading as a strategy? Or do you actually have a solid strategy in place? What does a good strategy look like? First, it has a set of coherent coordinated actions. Your strategy must simplify how you can achieve your goal; not just lay out what that goal is. It also must create an advantage by coordinating your resources together – people, time and money. A good strategy brings these together in a logical way to achieve the stated goals. Additionally, a good strategy cascades throughout the organization. It’s constantly referenced, and permeates throughout the entire company. And finally, good strategies should contain a little bit of the unexpected. Try exploring new paths in a way that builds the company.
At the end of the day, businesses can only thrive, first, by doing the right things, and then by doing things right. When the two intersect, you get a brilliant plan executed brilliantly.
#2 – Is the level of effort needed for strategic alignment worth it?
In short, the answer is yes. The issue of siloed strategies continues to plague organizations. Department leaders are only focused on what they’re doing, damaging the company’s chances for success. Instead, it’s critical to get the organization’s different functions aligned to contribute to revenue growth together. The most successful organizations have strategic alignment. The corporate strategy feeds into the product strategy, the product strategy feeds into the marketing strategy and so on. It becomes apparent how to allocate resources in order to achieve the strategic objectives of the organization. Without this alignment, no single department can be successful.
#3 – How can I create a good strategy that is aligned with the other functions?
It starts with diagnosis. Do you have a solid foundation with market research? Is the corporate strategy clear? And how can the functional strategies then align and support this corporate strategy?
Some tips to keep in mind include:
- Get a mentor. Utilize the experience of other executive leaders who have written good strategies and maintained strategic alignment in the past.
- Keep it simple. This does mean your strategy is simplistic, it just means simplify.
- Use a framework. There are several frameworks out there (you can find ours here). The idea is you want to use one to ensure you touch on all aspects of the process.
- When writing the functional strategies, be sure to constantly be referencing your corporate strategy. This is what feeds all other functions in the company.
Companies can no longer afford to launch individual initiatives hoping somehow they will somehow align themselves. A good strategy is practical, vital and something the leadership team can collaborate on. It’s increasingly rare for functional leaders to succeed without the support of other functions. Ultimately strategic alignment presents the best and only way to systematize profitable revenue growth.