Companywide alignment key to leveraging - The Packer

Companywide alignment key to leveraging

06/14/2013 11:07:00 AM
David Dever and Kerry Tucker

David Dever, Sun World International LLCDavid Dever, Sun World International LLCSo you’re a produce grower-shipper and you’ve completed your strategic plan.

You have measurable objectives, assignments and implementation timelines in place.

You’re excited about your game plan but if you haven’t invested in aligning the company behind it — getting your employees to “own” the strategic pieces of that plan — you’re at least one ingredient shy of maximizing success.

“If you can get people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you can dominate any industry, any market, against any competition at any time,” Patrick Lencioni said in his book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.”

A company with employees aligned behind whatever combination of values, vision, mission, core competencies, competitive advantages, social responsibility and strategic priorities that make sense is a company laser-focused on competitive momentum and the bottom line.

Three major directional forces — strategy, culture and infrastructure — influence the way people behave and ultimately how a company performs, according to the consulting firm Vector Group.

Kerry Tucker, Nuffer, Smith, Tucker Inc.Kerry Tucker, Nuffer, Smith, Tucker Inc.They also say most strategic planning processes tend to emphasize the strategy path — defining strategic priorities and objectives — while comparatively few organizations focus on addressing the cultural path. That’s our experience as well.

Company culture — the way people in the organization tend to behave and communicate, internally and externally, as they go about their work — can be an alignment obstacle if the culture works against the strategic direction outlined in the plan.

Changing culture is a challenge, no question about it. But a crystal clear focus on making the values you want driving decisions explicit and aligning employees behind supportive behaviors can go along way to begin to change an organization’s culture.

A recent planning initiative at Sun World — a grower, marketer and breeder of premium fruit varieties — focused first on polishing up guiding principles at the senior executive level and aligning the company behind them.

These principles were first introduced by the senior executive team, then the directors and managers below them, and finally every worker (including seasonal help).

At Sun World, staff meetings now start with a review of values — what they are, and, at some level, how the company and employees are doing against them — including where improvement is needed.

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