Align: A Leadership Blueprint for Aligning Enterprise Purpose, Strategy and Organisation
Why do some businesses thrive, while many more struggle and fail? A key reason – and the focus of this book – is strategic alignment. This is the careful arrangement of the various elements of an enterprise – from its business strategy to its organisation – to best support the fulfilment of its long-term purpose. The best-aligned enterprises are the best performing.
Most executives recognise that their enterprises should be managed in this aligned way, but lack a robust system of thought to allow them to execute strategic alignment effectively and realise its full benefits. There are thousands of organisations globally that are operating below their potential simply because they are not aligned. This book aims to change that.
In Align, Jonathan Trevor provides a blueprint for how strategic alignment can be effectively developed, implemented and sustained. Drawing upon active research at the University of Oxford's Said Business School, Jonathan also provides practical case studies and evidence-based insights – culminating in a thoughtful and compelling message to help leaders everywhere to improve their alignment and enterprise performance.
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FT Business Book of the Month (November 2019)
ALIGN: A LEADERSHIP BLUEPRINT FOR ALIGNING ENTERPRISE PURPOSE, STRATEGY AND ORGANISATION, BY JONATHAN TREVOR
Nuance is the enemy of business books. As a confused manager, it is infinitely more tempting to accept a prepared template for leadership and try to stuff your business into it. But Jonathan Trevor, a former consultant and now associate professor at Oxford’s Saïd Business School, rightly points out that a one-size-fits-all approach to strategic alignment is bound to fail. Each business is different and its challenges will fall somewhere between the two options usually offered to leaders — “bureaucracy” and “post-bureaucracy” (which includes the modishly unhierarchical “network organisation”).
As the business and its context develops, so the alignment will change. Still, recognising the attractiveness of a method, Trevor offers readers a trademarked strategic alignment framework, against which they can assess their specific challenges and choices, from stability to agility, autonomy to connectivity.
In a world swamped with companies’ declarations of purpose — increasingly synonymous with positive corporate responsibility — the book makes clear that when it comes to alignment, purpose is fundamentally what the business does and why it matters for its stakeholders.
From this flow strategy, organisational capability, architecture and management systems all of which should ideally, be in alignment. It sounds simple but, Trevor writes, it can “feel like chasing an elusive will-o’-the-wisp”. The enterprise value chain he describes is “only ever as strong as its weakest link”. From McDonald's to Huawei, Align offers examples of aligned and misaligned organisations, but, as he explains in his introductory invitation to apply the tools he provides, “the very best illustrative example . . . is your own enterprise”. (Andrew Hill, FT.com, November 2019)
How to align your organisation in times of change
The disruption stemming from the COVID-19 global pandemic presents leaders of established businesses with a rare opportunity to change the fundamentals of their organisation for the better, in ways that would not be possible or palatable in ‘normal times’.
Harvard Business Review
A Simple Way To Test Your Company’s Strategic Alignment Praise for Align
Strategic alignment, for us, means that all elements of a business — including the market strategy and the way the company itself is organized — are arranged in such a way as to best support the fulfillment of its long-term purpose. There is a simple test you can perform to start an honest conversation about strategy and organizational effectiveness where you work.
How Aligned Is Your Organization?
Most executives today know their enterprises should be aligned. They know their strategies, organizational capabilities, resources, and management systems should all be arranged to support the enterprise’s purpose.
The challenge is that executives tend to focus on one of these areas to the exclusion of the others, but what really matters for performance is how they all fit together.
Is Anyone In Your Company Paying Attention To Strategic Alignment? How Aligned Is Your Organization?
The best-performing companies are often the best aligned. But who in your company is paying attention to how well aligned your strategy is with your organization’s purpose and capabilities?