starsThink the stars have to align to achieve better efficiency? No, but you do have to align all the efforts in your organization if you want to succeed. You know that noise your tires make when you’re tires aren’t all going in the same direction? that’s how an organization sounds to both customers and employees when things are simply not aligned.

Intellectually, we all know the importance of a good strategy, yet so many organizations fail to have one, or they have one but it sits on the shelf with limited following. Clearly, when the organization is aligned to deliver against the vision, it possesses competitive advantage that is hard to match in any industry.

Alignment is so underrated. Having the people, process, and planning all targeting the same direction is a mechanism for growth, particularly those in a responsive market. For those in a sluggish environment, it can be the difference between being in business and being out of business.

Alignment ensures your resources are properly allocated. It keeps hidden costs down, improves productivity, and accelerates customer and employee satisfaction. Need we also mention alignment brings predictability to profitability and growth?

More importantly, alignment isn’t that hard to achieve yet few excel. It can be difficult to initiate in an organization where misalignment has taken over in defense of personal agendas and philosophies on where the organization should direct it’s efforts. After all, organizations are made up of people who in lieu of a good strategy create one on their own. We’re all very driven by objectives – yours if you give them to me, but mine if you don’t. When the objectives that drive my decisions are not aligned yours, we create inefficiency – and it’s costly inefficiency.

Here’s a fun exercise. Calculate on average for a given employee the number of hours wasted on doing the wrong things, talking about things that aren’t relevant to achieving strategic goals, re-doing work that could have been done correctly. Now multiply that by the number of people in the organization who do those inefficient things.

Many of these costly issues hide under the label “poor communication.” Start with communicating clear direction and expectations. And, if you haven’t sat down to do a strategy, it’s only a couple hours of your time and could have hundreds of hours of staff time. Still need an incentive?