In today’s fast-paced environment where constant change is the rule rather than the exception, organizations must be prepared to quickly adapt to internal and external pressures.
A 2016 HCI research report found that 77 percent of human resources practitioners and leaders said their organization experienced constant change with priorities and strategies constantly shifting. However, only 32 percent of organizations are equipping leaders with the training needed to effectively make change.
How then, can organizations shore up their defenses to not only survive the change but to capitalize on the opportunity for innovation?
Organizations competing in today’s VUCA environment need to consider the implications for the organizational structure and how leaders operate within that structure.
Leaders managing organizational change must be able to see all systems, and to look at the moving pieces in a way that’s logical, complete and comprehensive. Leaders who do this well are called Alignment Leaders, and they’re able to think holistically about what is often viewed as disparate components: strategy, organizational capabilities, work, structure and process.
An example of a well-known alignment leader, Mike Abbott, led the bankcard group at GE Retail Consumer Finance through plenty of change in 2002. He successfully made a fundamental shift within the organization, to operate in a way that maximized all areas of the business, functions and products.
So you want to be like Mike?
Beyond seeing the organizational systems and ensuring they are aligned, executives must:
- Courageously help the organization focus on critical activities by making difficult choices on resource allocation.
- Drive lasting change by working through your people in the organization instead of working around them. Manage the process. Make sure all systems are aligned.
- Develop and build alignment leader capability in others throughout the organization. Leaders face real hurdles as they work though change, but they get past the stumbling blocks by appreciating inter-connectivity and having the ability to do things differently.
Successful alignment leadership is a process of collaboration to find the best answer for the organization, involving all levels in the discussion, and being willing and able to try something new.
Organizational alignment should be viewed as an ongoing effort instead of a one-and-done event. Becoming an alignment leader means you’ll be the essential guide through organizational change – effectively prioritizing organizational challenges and leading the charge to develop that capability across the team.
Explore alignment leadership and learn three key steps to building these capabilities in your organization by viewing this on-demand presentation, “Become an Alignment Leader: Position your Organization to Win.”