Building a business that totally aligns everything around its purpose and vision seems like a dream but Total Alignment: Tools and Tactics for Streamlining Your Organization insists that it can be a reality. The book walks readers through every major step they need to take to make total alignment happen in every single area of their business.
What is Total Alignment About?
To become a business that is totally aligned with its purpose, you need to know what alignment looks like. As shared in Total Alignment, a business that is totally aligned with its vision and mission has the following features:
- Unified purpose and consistent actions
- Clearly defined mission, vision, and goals
- Clearly defined areas of responsibility
- Open and cross-functional communication
- Empowerment at all levels
Compare the above features to the features of a business out of alignment:
- Unclear purpose and inconsistent actions
- Poorly defined mission, vision, or goals
- Unclear areas of responsibility
- Rumors and complaints
To become the business with the features of “alignment”, the book identifies four key areas where alignment must occur. Those four areas are:
- Vertical: Alignment up and down the chain of command
- Horizontal: Alignment across teams and departments
- Competency: Alignment between skill and responsibility
- Compensation: Alignment between reward and effort
Total Alignment provides tools to measure your business’ alignment from the broad level down to the individual level. It begins with your business’ vision, providing practical ways to break a vision statement down into measurable objectives. From this point, it covers alignment at every level of the business, from the mission statement of the CEO down to the employee performance report. The book’s ultimate strategy is to connect every single action back to the vision.
Many businesses create lofty vision statements but fail to pursue their vision because something gets in the way. They create departments that become silos. They get distracted in the day-to-day communication and forget their mission. Becoming aligned isn’t a matter of creating a vision and then letting things happen. Becoming aligned is a matter of setting a vision and ensuring what you planned to do happens.
Dr. Riaz Khadem is the founder and CEO of Infotrac, a strategy consulting firm that he began in 1984. Khadem started his career in the academic field but eventually started his own consulting business based on his expertise in strategy. He is also the coauthor of the book “One Page Management”.
Co-author Linda Khadem is the executive vice president and in-house legal counsel at Infotrac.
What Was Best About Total Alignment?
Many leaders often create a vision statement for their business and then leave it to collect dust as the day-to-day routine takes over. That situation is avoided with Total Alignment because the book centers everything around vision from the evaluation of your front line employees to the compensation structure of upper-level management. This continual reinforcement of vision is a simple, yet, powerful thing for a business of any size.
If everything in your business is based on your vision, it’s much easier to stay aligned with that vision.
What Could Have Been Done Differently?
Total Alignment is an incredible guide to connecting your business vision to actual results but it does take some time to get used to. The book features its own system of reports and terminology, like Critical Success Factor (CSF) and Critical Management Factor (CMF). These are simple concepts, but they may be new to your business. Implementation is the key factor to making this happen. Total Alignment covers this in chapter 14, but this chapter might need to be expanded.
Why Read Total Alignment?
Total Alignment is the kind of book that you need when you are ready to step up your game as a business leader. It offers an opportunity to build your entire business around your vision, something that seems obvious but gets lost in the day-to-day activities. In Total Alignment, the authors share simple tools (Vision Tree, Strategy Tree, Scorecard, Focus Report, etc.) that build off that vision and turn it into a reality you can measure and improve. If you, as a business leader, ever see a disconnect between your business’ vision and your everyday reality, this book offers a complete and comprehensive system for fixing that problem.