We’ve all seen the memes on Facebook or other social media platforms that show the difference between what we plan and what really happens. In your personal life, it’s good not to take yourself too seriously. But in business when your strategy and your reality are really out of whack you’ve got serious problems. That’s when you need alignment: where business strategy and reality collide.
Take a look at the illustration above. If we’re honest, most businesses don’t operate like the image on the left. Sure, you need to have clear, measurable goals. Yes, you make plans for progress. But business growth—especially when you’re trying to scale up your business—almost never looks like a straight line. That’s just not realistic.
The good news is that your attempts to scale up and grow your business don’t have to look like the image on the right, either. The “collision” between your initial strategy and plans doesn’t have to be a violent wreck or a jumble of knee-jerk reactions. It’s not always necessary to make big, drastic changes. Sometimes small steps are the key.
Successful alignment in business isn’t about doing an about face every time something in your environment changes. Attempting to do that will make you very unproductive—and frazzled. Successful alignment means keeping your finger on the pulse of your business. It means being aware of significant trends in your industry and of the changing needs of your customer base. So how can you do that?
A huge component in effective alignment is to maintain a consistent and steady business rhythm—and that includes consistent and effective meetings. And it means making sure that you and your key employees are regularly monitoring how your strategy, your execution, and your results are lined up with your goals. A small, strategic correction can be much more effective in reaching your goals than constantly changing course.
Your growth may not be a straight line—in fact, it probably won’t be—but there should be a steady “upwards-and-to-the-right” movement as you continually evaluate your goals, strategy, and results and make sure they are all in alignment.
Contact me if you have questions about how to set aggressive, realistic goals; how to develop realistic strategies for reaching those goals; and how to make sure that those things are in alignment so that you get the results you want.